Recall: Ford minivans for corrosion, Subaru models for remote start
The 2004-2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey, plus late-model Subaru Legacy, Outback, Impreza and XV Crosstrek models are affected.
The 2004-2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey have third-row-seat anchors that can rust and even fall off the rear wheels, where they are mounted, according to an investigation by NHTSA. The sealing surrounding the anchors "may have been inadequate" and could let in water or other corrosive elements, Ford said. NHTSA said it has received 80 owner complaints, including those submitted by Ford, regarding seat-anchor corrosion since December 2011. No injuries or accidents have been reported.
Only models sold or registered in 20 "salt belt" states are affected: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The seat anchors, if damaged, can prevent the seat from locking flat when it is folded. Of the total, 196,667 vehicles are affected in the U.S., with the rest primarily in Canada. The minivans were discontinued after the 2007 model year.
Ford minivans have already had serious rust issues. In 2010 and 2012, Ford recalled about 475,000 Windstar minivans from 1998 to 2003 for corroding rear axles that were failing and even falling off the frame. In many instances, the company was forced to buy the vans back from owners.
Ford dealers will relocate the mounting anchor and repair any corroded areas. The automaker has not released a repair schedule, nor have any recall filings been released by NHTSA.
UPDATE, 4:30p.m. -- This story has been updated to reflect details of the official recall document provided by Ford to NHTSA, which had not been released at the time of publication. The total number of vehicles and complaints have been updated.
Meanwhile, Subaru is recalling 47,419 cars equipped with remote engine start to fix faulty key fobs that can send a signal without the owner pressing the button, according to filings with NHTSA.
If the fob is dropped on the ground, the battery clip could damage a circuit board and inadvertently send a signal to the car, Subaru said. The engine could then run for up to 15 minutes at a time or continue to start and stop until the fob's battery dies or the engine runs out of fuel.
The 2010-2013 Legacy, Outback, 2012-2013 Impreza and 2013 XV Crosstrek models are affected, but only if they have automatic transmissions and the dealer-installed engine start system. Only 12 Legacy and Outback models from the 2013 model year are affected, but the Impreza WRX models are not included, Subaru said.
In January, Subaru recalled about 54,000 cars to fix puddle lamps, another dealer-installed accessory, that could cause a short circuit on several models, including the 2010-2011 Legacy and Outback. In February 2012, Subaru recalled a few hundred 2012 Legacy and Outback models for potentially faulty side airbags.
Dealers will replace the key fobs starting in April. Owners can contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.
Despite the thousands of complaints filed with the NHTSA regarding sudden brake failure due to a rusted brake line suddenly bursting, nothing has been done. For shame.
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