Feds Close Probe Into 476,000 Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable Cars


  • 2003 Ford Taurus Picture

    2003 Ford Taurus Picture

    NHTSA is not seeking a recall of the 2000-'03 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable because the automaker has agreed to a voluntary repair. | July 03, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Federal safety regulators have closed a probe into 467,719 2000-'03 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans with Duratec engines after the automaker agreed to a voluntary repair to prevent damage to an engine cable.
  • The cars will not be recalled because Ford has started a customer satisfaction program to address complaints of speed control cable damage.
  • Kelli Felker, a Ford spokeswoman, told Edmunds this customer satisfaction program will be in effect until August 31, 2014, regardless of mileage, with coverage automatically transferred to subsequent owners.

WASHINGTON — Federal safety regulators have closed a probe into 467,719 2000-'03 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans with Duratec engines after the automaker agreed to a voluntary repair to prevent damage to an engine cable.

The cars will not be recalled because Ford has started a customer satisfaction program to address complaints of speed control cable damage.

Ford has notified its dealers that the speed control cables on the affected cars may be susceptible to damage or become partially disconnected during under-hood vehicle maintenance, including replacing a battery or changing the air filter. A damaged speed control cable could interfere with the throttle's full return to idle when the accelerator pedal is released, NHTSA said.

Federal safety regulators say there have been four crashes reported that were attributed to increased stopping distance caused by the increased engine power and/or reduced brake effectiveness.

"One minor crash occurred when the vehicle contacted a roadside fence post after the driver responded to the stuck throttle by shifting the car to neutral, turning the engine off and coasting to the side of a roadway with no shoulder, resulting in approximately $400 damage to the vehicle," said NHTSA in its summary of the closed investigation.

Kelli Felker, a Ford spokeswoman, told Edmunds this customer satisfaction program will be in effect until August 31, 2014, regardless of mileage, with coverage automatically transferred to subsequent owners. Felker said the first of the owner notification letters were mailed last week.

"The issue is that the retaining collar may become damaged over time and allow the cable to pull out from the collar, potentially resulting in an elevated engine idle condition," Felker wrote in an e-mailed message. "Dealers will inspect the condition of the speed control cable retaining collar on customers' vehicles, and replace it if necessary.

"In addition, the dealer will install a collar reinforcement clip to prevent reoccurrence of this condition in the future."

Edmunds says: This voluntary fix on older Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans is underway. So contact your dealer to make arrangements for the repair.

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