Normally, any story about car fires, recalls and safety hazards has the same content: “fill-in-the-blank automaker is recalling fill-in-the-blank cars because they might explode, fall apart or some other terrifying nonsense.”
Not this time. Instead, Ford is dodging a maelstrom of bullets after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that there is no need to recall roughly 1.1 million Ford E-series vehicles over faulty switches. The investigation, which lasted 27 months, began after 1,036 complaints were filed over blower motor control switches failing and causing fires.
NHTSA didn’t find enough evidence of a problem to justify a recall, and announced that its investigation to the model years 1997-2008 E-series vehicles is closed.
Ford has, however, agreed to take measures to make the switches less susceptible to short circuiting. According to the complaints, switches would be hot to the touch, the dashboard may smoke and the smell of burning plastic would emanate into the cabin. Some reports suggested that the problem was severe enough to impair safe driving.
A service bulletin is being sent to dealers which will inform owners to replace the switch and its electrical connector. The automaker will also make design changes starting next month to E-series vehicles being built.