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DATE News (chronologically)
10/15/09
automotive
4.5 million Fords are recalled  Ford Motor Co. is recalling 4.5 million vehicles because of a switch that can overheat and catch fire. It's the automaker's eighth recall in a decade involving the same switch, which has resulted in the recall of more than 14 million vehicles.

Ford is recalling 1.1 million Ford Windstar minivans, with the model years 1995 through 2003, which could have the problem. The automaker also is recalling 3.4 million additional vehicles that have the switch, including Ford Excursions, Explorers and Rangers of various model years, going back as far as 1992.

"While the data show the majority of the vehicles being recalled do not pose a significant safety risk, we are recalling the vehicles to reassure customers and eliminate any future concerns," Ford said in a statement.

The switch, made by a former business unit of Texas Instruments, is used to disengage the vehicle's cruise control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the switch poses a risk because it could leak fluid, which can reach the antilock brake system and start to burn, potentially prompting a fire even when the vehicle isn't running.

In a statement, Texas Instruments said, "The switch is only one component of Ford's cruise control deactivation switch system and is not the root cause of the fires."

Before Tuesday's recall, Ford's previous recalls stemming from the cruise control switch already ranked as the nation's largest automotive recall. It also tops Toyota's recall last month of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because of floor mats that can stick under the accelerator pedal and cause sudden acceleration. Detroit Free Press

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