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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.

By Exhaust Notes Mar 7, 2013 8:28AM
Ford is recalling 230,000 minivans for rear seats that may not be properly secured to the body, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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.

[Source: NYT]
Mar 7, 2013 10:16AM
I have had nothing but good experience with Ford products. My wife and I have owned 4 of them, 2012 F-150, 2007 Edge, 2013 Explorer, and 2013 Focus. Not a problem with any of them whatsover. And great attention and service after the sale. I'll keep buying Ford until they give me a reason to look elsewhere.
Mar 7, 2013 10:56AM
Undercarriage and frame rust is a BIG problem in the salt belt states. Brake lines suddenly and unexpectedly burst, fuel lines and gas tank parts rust through (could be a bad surprise for vehicles parked in your attached garage), and other undercarriage things like ABS modules, backing plates, wheel nearing hub assemblies fail.  Yet, the manufacturers guarantee body panels against rust through for many years and miles, while the undercarriage slowly and dangerously rots away.  This is an epidemic.

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.
Mar 7, 2013 11:27AM
Quick note from someoe who speaks from experience:  The dealer is there to service vehicles in their SERVICE DEPT. They need to make a buck there to keep the doors open. They are only too glad to do warranty repairs, you don't pay, but the manufacturer DOES. When you complain to the manufacturer, the complaint goes from the factory RIGHT BACK TO THE DEALER for disposal one way or another. Save time by taking your problem to the dealer. If you don't like him, go to another franchised dealer. Your vehicle's problem is either covered under the warranty OR it isn't. If it isn't, looks like you will be responsible for the repairs. New car warranties are today, BETTER than they ever were. Time was when you had 12 months or 12k miles whichever occurs FIRST, Cadillac or Chevrolet, Lincoln or Ford.
Mar 7, 2013 10:48AM
Most companies stride on QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.  Most companies try to put out as much product in the least amount of time.  As long it gets out the door, they could care less unless someone complains and then some don't care about the consumer.
Mar 7, 2013 5:54PM
On the Subaru remote start key fob issue:  What are the chances of something similar happening to other makes and models that have remote start? 
Mar 7, 2013 12:31PM
I was an owner of a 2001 Ford Windstar. It was always well maintained. At just over 100,000 miles the transmission went. Van was in good shape so I decided to get it repaired. And since I planned on keeping it and it needed tires I installed a new set of Michelins. Unfortunately within a few months the rear axle snapped in half. I called my mechanic and asked if he would repair that and he said sure it happens on Windstars all the time. I decided to call Ford and they informed me that they just issued a recall for that problem. Had it towed to Ford where it sat for 3 months. They did provide a rental. Then there was a second recall for front torsion bars I think. Anyway dealer finally called and said they were not going to fix it. They offered me $2000 more than what I paid for all the recent work. And it was a take it or leave it deal. They did offer me incentives towards another Ford but I turned it down. I am done with Ford.
Mar 7, 2013 12:22PM
I've owed two Chevy's but have been a Ford man most of my life. They are good vehicles for the money and the newer vehicles are awesome. Chevy are so so and Dodge are pretty but mechanically are terrible.  I live in the south where salt is not an issue. There is not much you can do when you live in salt states and put out corrosives on the road. That'll eat through anything but glass and stainless steel. It's not feasible to build cars out of stainless nor could you afford one. If I lived in the north I would lease and not buy. It's expensive to keep a rust bucket up.  Maybe they should come out with a "Salty Dog" edition, lol.
Mar 7, 2013 10:42AM
Would be great if they fixed my ford  diesel that  is crap  .Ford dealer will fix it for  $17000 .
Mar 7, 2013 11:45AM
I Purchased a 2012 Ford Fiesta. i primarily bought it because of it's MPG and that has lived up to the hype. What I don't like is that it has been at the dealer 3x due to a transmission problem. I beleived that I purchased a car with an automatic transmission, however the dealer now tells me that the car is really a standard transmission shifted by electric motors. It is not a typical automatic. Why didn't they tell me that when I was in the showroom, Or when I was test driving it, or before I purchased it. Now they tell me it after it has problems and then sent me a brochure for an extended warranty. I was sold this car under false pretenses. FORD I am dissapointed!
Mar 7, 2013 8:44AM
From the claims of Ford lovers, Ford was a stand up kind of company I thought, hmmmm.  Being  "forced" to buy back the vehicles sure doesn't make them seem that way. I have also "forced" Ford to buy back a new truck that they could not fix the "Death Wobble" in. I will have to give them credit though, after six attempts at fixing it,and me proving they were lying about the problem being an "isolated" case, they did take it back. Since dumping Ford and GM, in my personal purchases, I have not visited a repair shop or had to listen to any more lame excuses since. I can't understand why people love a brand that treats them that way.
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