Pay attention to this, Texans. If you own a Ford pickup truck yourself, or you know someone who does own one, everyone should be aware that the Ford Motor Company has issued a recall for nearly 2 million of its flagship F-150 pickup trucks because of a potentially very dangerous fire risk. Unfortunately, some safety specialists are using this recall to point up a potential safety that problem Ford is not addressing.
The vehicles involved in this recall includes all Ford F-150 pickup trucks from model years 2015 through 2018, including those with regular cabs, as well as those with super crew cabs. These particular F-150 pickup trucks from those model years were built in Dearborn, Michigan between March 2014 and August 2018 and Kansas City, Missouri between August 2014 and August 2018. In all, 1,995,776 of the vehicles were sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and all are being recalled.
Why Was the Recall Ordered?
The recall was initiated after an internal Ford investigation found that some front seatbelt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks which could lead to a fire, if sufficient sparks are present to ignite the gases exhausted inside the B-pillar, which is the roof support structure located between the front and rear doors, ignite. If the gas ignites, such components as carpets, fabrics and insulation could catch fire.
According to Ford’s official recall statement, there have been 17 reports of either smoke and/or fire in trucks in the United States, along with an additional six in Canada, at least so far. To date, no injuries or accidents have been reported, but the company decided to issue the voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution. Another likely factor in Ford’s decision to recall these pickup trucks is a preliminary investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into a higher-than-usual number of reports of fires in five trucks. In all of these reports, the fire occurred after a crash.
What to Do With a Recalled Truck
Consumers who have one of the vehicles in this recall will soon receive a notice in the mail. To repair the problem, Ford dealers will remove insulation material from the B-pillar trim, as well as remnants of wiring harness tape in the area, after which they will apply heat-resistant tape to the carpets and its insulation. Dealers will also modify the back interior panels of regular cab vehicles, to make them less likely to catch fire. Of course, all repairs will be provided at no cost to the owner of the vehicle.
Safety officials are adding an additional warning to this recall, based on the fact that the defect involves seatbelts. They are warning that all occupants of these trucks continue to use their seatbelts to protect themselves and their passengers. The potential fire risk does not warrant the cessation of the use of seatbelts to protect passengers in a crash. Put simply,
Safety Specialists Cite Another Problem That is Not Being Addressed
This huge recall seems to be warranted and is drawing praise for Ford Motor Company in auto safety circles, but the company is drawing ire from some safety experts for not fixing what seems to be a much more pressing problem; potential brake failures in Ford F-150 pickup trucks from model years 2015-2016. According to reports, the NHTSA has received more than 200 complaints about sudden brake failures nationwide and many of these complaints seem very similar in tone. In one case in Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, an F-150 owner reported a trip down the highway at 70 miles per hour, in which the pickup’s brake pedal went to the floorboard and failed to stop the truck.
Some safety officials are concerned that, while Ford has already issued a recall for F-150 pickup trucks for the seatbelt problem after just 23 total complaints, they don’t seem inclined to recall the trucks for brake failure problems after the NHTSA received more than 200 complaints.
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