At the end of September, Ford made a shocking announcement when they recalled over 342,000 older Windstar minivans due to rear axle problems. This is not the first time this minivan model has been recalled and the company now states the previous rear-axle fixing applied during the first recall may not be effective.
These minivans were produced and sold between 1998 and 2003. The company states that they were originally recalled in 2010 because of axle cracks that could quickly grow and lead to complete axle failure or crashes. The minivans are now being recalled again because the reinforcement brackets that were used in the first recall were installed incorrectly. This bracket was designed to mitigate axle failure problems, but the company has already seen a small handful of accidents – no injuries.
Dealerships will inspect the recalled vans and first determine if their bracket was installed properly. If it was installed correctly, the customer will be offered a $300 discount for a new axle replacement. If the brackets were not installed correctly, they will be replaced free of charge. This recall applies to the United States and Canada.
Also, Ford stated that they are recalling 37,000 Ford F-150 pickups from the year 2015 in the United States and Canada to fix an adaptive cruise control system failure that forces the automatic brakes to work and avoid crashes. The company said that the radar could incorrectly determine whether or not there is something in an F-150’s lane when passing large trucks and would apply the brakes until it senses something is no longer in the truck’s way. This issue has caused one crash that Ford is aware of, but so far no injuries have been reported. Dealers will be able to update the problem via a software fix.
Ford is not the only vehicle manufacturer to have recalls or reported issues with their vehicles. In fact, there are other manufacturers that have been in the news recently for recalls, or worse yet, faulty recall fixes. From airbag deployments to rear gas tanks, these vehicles were designed in a manner that could be dangerous in an accident or even cause the accident.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act allows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue vehicle safety standards and even force manufacturers to recall unsafe vehicles that have safety-related defects or those vehicles that have not met strict Federal standards. Manufacturers may voluntarily initiate the recall, while other times NHTSA orders the company via the court to issue the recall and repair all vehicles associated with such.
While NHTSA monitors and controls recalls, it does not always catch design flaws until they have caused numerous injuries or deaths. When a manufacturer improperly designs a vehicle or there is an error during manufacturing that forces that vehicle to be a danger to drivers and passengers, that manufacturer must be held liable for their faults.
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