By on September 8, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang GT

Ford Motor Company’s multi-model door latch recall, which started out relatively small earlier this year, is growing in leaps and bounds.

The automaker announced today that it has recalled another 1.5 million vehicles to prevent doors from flying open, nearly tripling the previous tally of 828,053, the Associated Press reports.

As before, the affected vehicles are: 2012 through 2015 Ford Focus, the 2013 to 2015 Ford Escape and C-Max, the 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC and the 2014 through 2016 Ford Transit Connect van.

The open-door issue cropped up this past spring, when Ford recalled 390,000 Ford Fiesta, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models. The recall ranks expanded in August, with new models to the list. Because temperature and sun exposure plays a role in the faulty latches, Ford’s repair efforts focused on vehicles bought or owned in warmer U.S. states.

According to AP, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pressured Ford to expand the scope of the recall. It now covers nearly 2.5 million vehicles, the vast majority of them in the U.S. Unlike the previous regional recall, this one covers vehicles nationwide.

Ford claims the pawl spring tab in the side door latch could break, preventing the door from latching. If the doors are still able to latch, they could fly open while the vehicle is moving. One crash and three injuries could be related to the defect.

The recall is now large enough to impact Ford’s bottom line. The automaker expects to add $640 million in expenses to its third quarter balance sheet, lowering profits.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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36 Comments on “Ford’s Door Latch Recall Balloons by Another 1.5 Million Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    So many of these recalls seem to be due to penny pinching in either materials, engineering or both. “Sir, we’ll save 57 cents per unit if we fabricate this “pawl spring tab” out of plastic rather than steel.”

    OEMs must have a risk tolerance formula that weighs the savings of taking shortcuts versus the potential fall out if the part fails after the fact. It’s like playing Russian Roulette….

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Is it plastic? Or are you just saying that because there is absolutely no way possible that metal parts could be defective or wear out over time? Is that why Toyota recalled 366,000+ Rav4s and Lexus CH or CT or whatever their Prius clone is *three different times* due to :metal: tie rods breaking?

      Its not like all cars are literally falling apart due to horrible quality and substandard parts, these types of issues are not common, and anything you make millions of will have some defects somewhere. Its a scary world out there, but it beats making your own car for most people. Blaming OEMs for being imperfect is pointless. Of course they are.

      Any business will try to save money (and increase performance) without compromising quality. IF that is the case here, which to my knowledge has not been established, its no different than any other automaker that isn’t using the same door latches they were using in 1984. If you want absolutely no progress or change (which includes stumbles and missteps), you’re in the wrong industry. Except maybe Morgan lol.

      By the way, $0.57 x 2.5 million is $1,425,000.00.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    How much sun exposure do these parts get? It’s not as if these are mounted on the outside of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My guess is that the plastic spring fails due to the elevated temperatures that occur during sun exposure.

      Someone didn’t:
      a) completely understand the use case, or
      b) selected the wrong material even when they knew the use case, or
      c) permitted a design defect such as a knit line, sharp angle, or gate vestige to exist in an area of high stress.

      A simple change can fix this flaw, but the repair labor will cost 100x the replacement part.

      Moreover, Ford’s FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) process failed them on this one. Apparently nobody in that meeting added temperature as a threat to this part’s functional lifespan.

      This is a classic case (including the GM ignition thing) of how some inexpensive up-front diligence can prevent CO$TLY repairs in the field.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        That sounds like the correct answer.

        It should be noted that the actual failure rate of the part is low. But safety recalls occur because of the consequences when they fail, not the percentage of units that fail. If there are decent odds that a failure will kill people, then there will be a recall, even if 99%+ of owners experience no problems.

        The increased use of parts sharing should improve reliability generally, but that also leads to larger recalls because those poorly engineered parts are used in more units. The press is more likely to report these recalls as they get larger, so we hear more about them, which changes the perception. If this part had only been used in an Aston Martin, for example, then there would be virtually no coverage or awareness of it because it would have been much smaller, even with all of the other facts being equal.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Maybe they should revert that spring to steel instead of plastic; whoever engineered a plastic part for tension purposes in an automobile should be shot.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            A well-designed plastic spring can be quite robust, and can last forever. Plastic latch springs are in products everywhere.

            Plastic typically doesn’t need lubrication, it won’t rust, it offers quieter operation, and it can be produced in shapes that metal cannot. Steel isn’t always the answer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Tell that to my turn signal stalk. Tell that to my Toronado that needed an engine replaced due to a timing gear shredding (replacement was less expensive than repair.)

            Heat and cold over time WILL affect plastic’s elasticity over time, making it grow brittle and break long before a steel spring. Since this issue has been reported mostly in high-temperature conditions, I can only imagine that the plastic is being softened by summer heat, changing the overall temper of the plastic and causing even that ‘robust’ material to oxidize.

            No, I am not confident of Plastic’s ability to perform as a spring under those environmental factors.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            You’re citing poor designs.

            I tried in vain to help my friend’s 3800 revive after it ate the plastic timing gears, but the plastic shards got into the connecting rod bearings, causing them to spin, and ultimately the engine was destroyed.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “3800 revive after it ate the plastic timing gears”

            There is no “3800” in existence that came from the factory with plastic timing gears. One of the upgrades GM made in 1988 when the 3800 was introduced was going to an all steel timing set.

            The earlier pre-3800 versions of the Buick V6 (some of which also had 3.8L of displacement) had aluminum gears with nylon/plastic teeth and those *are* prone to failure.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Sorry, ajla, on that one I have to disagree. My 1985 Oldmobile Toronado had a 3.8L engine (that 3800 is measuring milliliters which is the same volume) and that’s the one that shredded its timing gear. I’m quite certain that they changed to steel BECAUSE that gear was shredding.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            A 1985 3.8L Buick V6 isn’t a “3800” any more than an Apple II is an iMAC.

            The “3800” moniker did not exist until 1988.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The “moniker” means nothing. It’s only a different way to say “3.8L”
            My 1985 Oldsmobile had it, my 1986 Buick T-type had it and my 1996 Camaro had it. I’ll grant the Camaro very probably had the steel (or maybe brass) timing gear considering how many miles I put on it (over 165,000) but the engines were all the same size and the same basic design.

  • avatar
    Rday

    amazing how companies will screw around with a cheaper part to save a buck or two and end up spending millions. this is where the japanese really excel. they keep improving their models each year and don’t risk taking chances with unproven parts. but detroit bean counters will always try and save a buck. what a joke.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      Very true Rday, and I would add that car companies that carry large corporate debt will mess around with parts quality and cut corners every time.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        You just explained why I dropped the GTI from my last car search. Billions in dieselgate liability + traditional VW reliability = worse VW reliability.

        I’m thinking that I’m right, given that VW’s response was to offer fewer trim configurations for the ’17 model.

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          Probably good insight on that. VW needs to cut about $20 billion in costs, probably more. Those cut costs will come directly from their product lineup in some way.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Before I bought, there were already reports that VW wanted to put the squeeze on suppliers to maintain/increase profitability. Too me, that just meant lower quality parts finding their way into the car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      There is no evidence this part’s failure was the result of cost-cutting.

      Every mfr’s goal is to maximize profit, which also means reducing liabilities such as this one by making better parts. Aircraft manufacturers understand this quite well, but so do car mfrs.

      It is more likely an engineering fault (see my comments above ^^).

      Every new car has ‘unproven’ parts in it; that’s what engineering simulation and part qualification programs are for.

      Gimme a break.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      The Japanese would never use “bean counted” material , from inferior suppliers ? Hmm ? So how do you explain Takata Air bags ?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Asian mfrs use gold-plated steel parts and lose money on every vehicle, just to please their Western customers – that’s what I thought. *sarc*

        To your point, everybody from the pizza shop owner to the ship builder bean-counts; it’s the only way to stay in business. In this case, Ford simply muffed the engineering design.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Yet more support for my choosing not to buy Ford at any cost. I’ve been driving now for nearly 45 years and not once have I or anyone in my family ever owned a reliable Ford product. Moreover, I don’t personally know anybody who owns a late-model Ford car who hasn’t had complaints about it within one year of purchase.

    “The recall is now large enough to impact Ford’s bottom line. The automaker expects to add $640 million in expenses to its third quarter balance sheet, lowering profits.”
    — If we use the word ADD as the operational term, that means the repairs will run over $400 per vehicle. If, on the other hand, they’ve been silently eating earlier costs and now bundle them in, that reduces the per vehicle cost to just over $250 each. That’s still a bunch of money.

  • avatar
    rustinginNL

    Well, it’s not like ford is really going to do anything about it. We had an escape with the fuel pump recall….you know, the one that could result in a complete loss of power and all power accessories…..it took them over a year to even get around to starting to fix them. Why? Because they were already selling each redesigned fuel pump they could get their hands on, in new escapes…..anyone seriously think they are going to shut down the line to fix machines they already sold? Besides the huge costs in slowing production, there would be less product and fewer sales. You can bet ford’s actuaries had already figured out is was cheaper to pay out the deaths of ‘x’ number of people than to slow production…..too bad for you if you happen to be in the’x’ number…..

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Your conspiracy theories blind you to the truth.

      The recall you mention affected only 3 weeks’ worth of production; your car was one of about 9000 vehicles affected. Poor nickel plating could cause the pump circuit to open.

      This fault was probably detected during an internal quality audit, because the recall was issued only 8 months after the cars were produced. It was likely deemed to be a low-risk, long-term issue.

      Not every recall requires a ‘stop the presses’ response.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    13 replies later and not one snarky comment about the irony that the Ford Escape has bad door latches.

    I’m disappointed.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You mean, something like, “Should make escaping the Escape very easy,” right?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Exactly.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I know there are those who love their Fords over everything else, but I’m not one of them. There’s a reason for the acronym, Found On Road, Dead. Forty years ago, Fiat may have earned its “Fix It Again, Tony” reputation, but Fiat has shot that reputation down with their newer models. As they migrate their Chrysler Corp models away from their Daimler design roots, you’ll see the improvement across the board.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thank you, foxxy, – for a second there I thought you were serious.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            VoGo, I was. I personally don’t care what you believe about the company; my personal experience has demonstrated that the company is absolutely working to destroy that reputation. However, just as Rome was not built in a day, or even a decade, fixing Daimler’s screw-ups is taking at least as long.

            How would you like it if you discovered your handbrake lever was made out of cheap pot metal and breaking off ratchet teeth every time you applied it? Now put that lever in a heavy Jeep and see how comfortable it makes you. FCA replaced that lever for me with a true, steel, lever by demanding the dealership stop replacing it with the Daimler-specified part. I would also note that said dealership (and others carrying the FCA brands) in my area go out of their way to screw their customers by repairing symptoms rather than troubleshooting causes. For one Daimler-engineered problem, I had to talk directly to the technician because after several visits for weird electronic issues where switches were replaced (“this will certainly fix your problem, sir”, only to return 3-6 months later with some other screwy issue) one of the computers was replaced–after which ALL the electronic issues disappeared and hasn’t recurred now in over four years. Yes, the Jeep was out of warranty but when I explained the issue to the FCA regional manager, the cost of that computer replacement was refunded as the issue had obviously, by the dealership’s reported paperwork, begun before the warranty expired.

            As such, I give FCA kudos for the products they’re designing and producing but pan their local dealerships AND the remaining Daimler-designed products. The nearest dealership I trust is over 40 miles away and there are a minimum of six FCA dealerships closer to me than that one.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Car Salesman: Yeah, the Bronco’s been discontinued. We’re trying to shed that whole fugitive-on-the-run thing. This is the Escape.

        George Sr.: What a fun name. May I test drive?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Okay, how about “Become Houdini. Buy a Ford Escape.”

      Or, “Everyone needs a Ford Escape-goat.”

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Typical Ford.

    Big Al really did a lot of damage to this company. “Profits now, recalls later” is no way to run a business.

  • avatar
    Giltibo

    Have you dissected a door latch, lately?

    It is a darn complex part, more than many can imagine. Levers, springs, switches , gears, motors, rivets and screws; upwards to more than 100 parts in certain cases..

    Do defects happen? Rarely, but they do…

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    You said it yourself, ajla, “marketing term”. It means nothing more than the fact that it is a 3800cc or 3.8L V6 engine.

    And how many times to I have to tell you it was an Oldsmobile engine, not a Buick engine, that shredded its gear?

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