FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-02-05
Vehicle Fires Lead To Auto Defect Recall For 2013 Fords
The first fire was in a vehicle without an engine dipstick, which allowed oil to be expelled and caused the engine to ignite while the car was running. After additional reports of vehicle fires – including one in Arizona – Ford launched an investigation that resulted in a recall of 89,000 2013 Ford Escape crossovers and Fusion sedans.
The recall, Ford’s fourth involving the 2013 Escape since it was released this spring, was just one of many vehicle recalls issued each year. Engine overheating and fluid leaks are believed to be the cause of fires that have occurred in these vehicle models, creating the potential for serious injury to drivers, passengers and bystanders.
Vehicle recalls like these are regularly in the news, and they make motorists in Arizona and other states shudder at the idea that their motor vehicles can harm them even when they are being safe drivers. Car accidents can occur due to any number of potential hazards, but faulty vehicle components and other auto defects are a major concern. Safety recalls are designed to address this problem.
How Safety Recalls Work
Since 1966, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been authorized to require motor vehicle recalls for safety defects or failures to meet federal safety standards. More than 390 million cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles have been recalled since that time. In addition, 46 million tires, 66 million pieces of auto equipment and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled.
Generally, a safety defect means that the vehicle or equipment has a problem that poses a risk to motor safety and that could exist in a group of similar vehicles or pieces of equipment. It could be a risk for car fires, as in the Ford recalls, or with a variety of other significant safety problems. According to the NHTSA, examples include:
- Steering components that could break apart suddenly, causing loss of control
- Accelerator controls that break or stick
- Seats that fail during normal use
- Air bags that deploy when they are not supposed to
- Wheels that crack or break, creating the potential for loss of vehicle control or injury to people
Recalls allow automakers to fix the potential problems, and consumers generally do not have to pay for them. In the Escape and Fiesta recall, the problems were serious enough that Ford asked affected vehicle owners not to drive their vehicles. Instead, auto dealers are arranging alternative transportation. The company said it would update the vehicle’s software for the cooling system to solve the problem.
Choosing a Lawyer to Handle Your Auto Defect Case
Recalls are supposed to help ensure that our vehicles and roads are safe for motorists. Yet accidents still happen from defective auto parts. If you believe faulty components or construction of your vehicle is to blame for an accident, injury or death, an experienced attorney can explain your rights and options to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other costs. No amount of money can cover the loss of a loved one, but seeking such compensation can help a family recover financially from such an unexpected situation.