Ford Recalls SUVs for Power Steering Repairs -- Update

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Mike Ramsey

Ford Motor Co. is recalling 915,200 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner sport-utility vehicles in North America to repair a sensor that could cause the power steering to malfunction and make the car difficult to control.

Ford also issued a separate recall for about 195,500 Explorer sport-utility vehicles from model years 2011-2013 because of an electrical connection that can be interrupted and cause the loss of power steering, making the vehicle difficult to control.

The Escape and Mariner vehicles affected are certain 2008-2011 model year vehicles. Dealers will perform one of three service fixes, depending upon what diagnostic codes are shown when the vehicle is taken to the dealer, Ford said in a statement.

Ford said it is aware of five accidents and six injuries connected to the problems that were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Canada had been investigating the Escape and Mariner issue since 2011.

Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said, "Our decision to conduct this safety recall is based on concerns relayed to us by Transport Canada."

The fixes will update software for the power steering control module and the instrument cluster module; replace the torque sensor; or replace the steering column, which includes upgraded power steering control module software.

As for the Explorer issue, dealers will either update the software for the power steering control module or replace the steering gear.

Ford said it is aware of 15 low-speed accidents and two minor injuries believed to be associated with the Explorer issue.

Earlier this month, Ford recalled nearly 700,000 newer Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max hybrids for software glitches that could delay air bag deployment and a door-handle latch problem.

In April, Ford increased its warranty and recall repair fund by $400 million, anticipating higher costs to repair and recall vehicles.

Auto makers are recalling vehicles at a record pace in 2014, with General Motors Co, leading the way with nearly 14 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. Other car makers, including Ford and Toyota Motor Corp. also have recalled millions of cars this year.

Write to Mike Ramsey at michael.ramsey@wsj.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires


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