A number of Ford Escape SUVs made between 2001 and 2004 are being recalled due to a problem with the throttle. Gas pedals on the vehicles can stick when pushed too near to the floor. The defect has been linked to at least 13 crashes and one fatal accident, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall is the latest blow to the Ford Escape line which has had three recalls now in a two week period.
The latest recall is intended to fix a problem wherein cruise control cables get caught on the plastic cover over the engine. This causes the gas pedal to stick. Ford has indicated that the gas pedal must be pressed far down for this to happen, and that the cruise control cables must have been bent or moved sometime during the vehicle’s life. The fix will involve putting new fasteners on the engine cover and raising it so the cruise control cables cannot reach it.
The Mazda Tribute is identical to the Ford Escape, though no word has come down regarding whether they will also be recalled. NHTSA officials are also investigating the possibility that the repairs stemming from a 2004 recall of the Escape are actually the cause of this latest problem.
The Ford Escape was the number one selling small SUV for three out of the four years covered in this recall. Of the vehicles recalled, more than 420,000 were sold in the United States.
Source: Boston Globe, “Ford to recall 485,000 small SUVs to fix throttles,” by Tom Krisher, 26 July 2012