Ford Motor Company has issued a massive recall of its F-150 and Super Duty pickup trucks for fire hazards. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the automaker recalled 874,082 vehicles in North America to replace an engine block heater cable. This cable is used by truck owners to keep their engines warm so they start more efficiently on cold winter days. The cable is a short cord that hangs off the truck that’s often attached to an extension cord plugged into the house or garage. Ford has said in a statement that a safety risk only exists when the vehicle is parked and the block heater cable is plugged into an electrical outlet.
Fire Dangers Related to Recall
Ford has reported three fires originating from the engine block heater cable splice connector. Minor property damage was reported in one incident. Ford has said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries tied to this vehicle defect. The automaker has also said it is issuing the recall because water and contaminants can intrude into the block heater cable’s splice connector causing corrosion and damage to the cable overtime. This type of prolonged corrosion can cause a short, make the engine block heater inoperable and trop household breakers while the vehicle is parked and the heater is plugged in.
This recall is coming at a most inconvenient time especially for consumers in cold-weather states. People who own these vehicles won’t be able to get it fixed for days because of the holiday weekend, just as the freezing cold weather strikes. Ford has said its dealers will inspect the engine block heater cable and replace it if it is damaged or corroded. If there are no signs of damage or corrosion, dealers will apply dielectric grease to the splice connector and reconnect.
If a replacement cable is not available, consumers will get an information sheet and will be notified by mail once the parts become available. This is the second recent issue involving fire hazards for Ford. In August 2018, Ford said it is cooperating with federal regulators into complaints of fires that may have been caused by seatbelts in Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The investigation involves trucks from 2015 through 2018. Ford sold about 2 million F-150 pickup trucks during those years.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Vehicles fires could result in severe burn injuries and smoke inhalation injuries that could even prove fatal. If you have been injured due to these or other vehicle defects, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney who will fight for your rights and hold that at-fault automakers accountable.