WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed an investigation into 502,410 2004-'07 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Mercury Marauder sedans for steering column shaft obstruction, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The vehicles were under investigation after complaints that the driver-side exhaust manifold heat shield can rust and become dislodged, potentially interfering with the steering shaft.
The probe was opened on July 7, 2014.
Federal safety regulators said they found the incidents occur rarely.
"Six of these incidents were reported by a single source, a state police fleet that corrected the problems in March 2011 and has not reported any additional failures since," NHTSA said. "Ford also reported 5 warranty claims, but these incidents occurred at very low mileages and appeared to be caused by loose or missing heat shield attachment hardware rather than the corrosion condition that was the cause of the more recent incidents and the focus of this investigation."
The investigation is closed and the cars are not being recalled for this concern.
"The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist," the agency said. "The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future, if warranted."
Edmunds says: Consumers get some reassuring news that these vehicles are not being recalled for steering column shaft obstruction.