Over 1.5 million Ford SUVs have been cleared in a government probe that examined allegations they were at risk of rolling away.
The four-year probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked into the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer, 2002-2005 Mercury Mountaineer, and the 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviator after 180 complaints were received by NHTSA. No recall will be issued after NHTSA found that the failure rate was 4.4 per 100,000 vehicles for a suspected defect involving the automatic transmission parking system, and 3.4 per 100,000 vehicles for a suspected defect involving the brake shift interlocking system.
Of those 180 complaints, 14 reports of crashes were reported with six injuries – all of which were minor. According to NHTSA, there was a drastically declining trend with very few incidents occurring in recent years.
The primary issue in the probe was whether the brake-shift interlock was working properly. In its closing report, NHTSA stated that it could be defeated if drivers shifted within 0.4 seconds of when the brakes were applied because of a production change in the 2002 model year. The condition would worsen if drivers continued to shift quickly and eventually they would not be able to shift into park at all.
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