Ford issued a recall Wednesday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that affects more than 3 million vehicles in North America.
An estimated 2.9 million vehicles are in the U.S. The recall campaign affects the 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2021 Transit Connect and 2015-2018 Edge.
The recall stems from a bushing that attaches the shift cable to the transmission that allows the lever to change gears. The bushing may corrode or detach from the shifter preventing it from moving the transmission to its intended gear.
This may cause the transmission to indicate it’s in Park when it’s not, causing the vehicle to roll. Furthermore, if a vehicle is turned off without being shifted into Park, it might not restart — or it may roll away.
While the cause of the defect is unknown, Ford suspects its stems from heat and humidity.
“Although claim rates and projected failures remained low, Ford recommended a safety recall for the remaining vehicles in North America,” the company states in its recall filing with NHTSA. Ford said there have been six reports of property damage and four reports of injuries related to the recall and has identified 1,630 warranty reports from April 29, 2015, through March 31, 2022 attributed to the defect.
What you can do to stay safe
If you own one of the affected vehicles, activating the vehicle’s parking brake can diminish any chance of the vehicle unintentionally rolling away.
The automaker will notify owners of affected vehicles by mail and replace the under-hood shift bushing and add a protective cap over it free of charge. The replacement bushings will also be from a different grade material, Ford said.
If you own one of these vehicles and have already paid to have this problem repaired, you may be eligible for reimbursement before Aug. 29, 2022. Letters will be mailed to owners this month.
Just one of many recalls
This is not the first time Ford has dealt with this troublesome part. In fact, it’s the fifth since 2018 concerning a shift cable part.
In addition to the bushing recall, Ford also announced Wednesday that it is recalling 53,103 four-door 2021-22 Broncos because the passenger-side rear door can be opened from inside the vehicle despite the child-safety lock being activated. Dealers will inspect and replace the lock and latch, if necessary.
On Tuesday, Ford announced a recall and stop/sale of 49,000 Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles that could lose power due to a part overheating when the vehicle is subjected to several “wide-open pedal events.” It was the fifth recall on the company’s top-selling electric vehicle.
This week’s actions come after Ford issued three recalls last week.
Ford has issued more recalls in 2022 than any other automaker, 38 in all covering 6.6 million vehicles. The manufacturer with the second highest number of recalls is Mercedes-Benz with 19 so far in 2022, half that of Ford’s.
Recalls are resurging
If it seems like. There are more recalls than ever, you’re right. A 2019 report by McKinsey & Co. found that on average, 3.1 vehicles were recalled for each vehicle sold. Part of the growth in recalls stems from the increasing complexity of modern cars.
But more often, it’s due to automakers using modular platforms and common supplier parts that are used across multiple vehicle lines. McKinsey found that half of all recalls today affect more than one model, and 14% more than one brand.
The result costs automakers, not only in lost reputation and the cost of repairs, but also in possible legal and liability costs and the indirect cost of marketing to recoup a lost reputation.
The only way to mitigate recalls is to boost quality, which seems to be a moving target as cars grow ever more complex.