Ford will recall 485,000 Escapes built between 2001 and 2004 because they can unintentionally accelerate. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was investigating a series of complaints about the defect after a group petitioned the government agency.
Drivers lodged 68 complaints about the Escape accelerating out of control, some of which describe repeat incidents in the same car. In the worst case, a 17-year-old Arizona girl died after her SUV sped up unexpectedly.
According to Ford, Escapes equipped with six-cylinder engines and cruise control are at risk if the gas pedal is pushed nearly to the floor because engines need more space between the engine cover and speed control cable.
Fixing the defect won’t take long; all it takes is raising the engine cover by replacing a fastener to offer enough clearance for the cable.
Unfortunately, that quick fix won’t be possible for another two weeks. In the interim, Ford is advising drivers to avoid fully depressing their Escape’s gas pedal. Customers can also bring their vehicle in for an interim fix where Ford will disable the cruise control and move the speed control cable.