Ford is recalling over 700,0000 vehicles in North America over poor electrical connections that can put the rearview camera display on the fritz. The feed runs the risk of providing drivers a corrupted image or cutting out intermittently, raising crash risks, and violating present-day vehicle safety mandates. While the tried and true method of turning one’s head and using the mirrors should allow for drama-free parking, Ford is still under obligation to repair these systems.
Documents submitted to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) have indicated that affected models include Ford’s Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Mustang, Ranger, and Transit vehicles from the 2020 model year. Lincoln will also be recalling the 2020 Lincoln Corsair and Nautilus.
Nissan is recalling over 1.2 million late-model vehicles out of fear that drivers will shift into reverse and see nothing on their infotainment screens. The recall affects 2018 and 2019 models of almost the entire Nissan and Infiniti stable.
Because the backup camera on the affected vehicles can be adjusted to the point that no view of the area behind the vehicle remains, Nissan finds itself in violation of federal safety rules. The problem is not that the image can be adjusted, but that the obscured view will remain after the driver restarts the vehicle and shifts into reverse.
The list of models is a long one.
TTAC commentator Volvo writes:
It reminds me of arguments against seat belts that arose in the ’70s. As a package, these are not that expensive to incorporate into a vehicle (I can retrofit a decent backup camera for less than $50) and perhaps should also be mandated rather than remaining expensive options.
There’s no question a rearview camera can add a measure of convenience to the business of backing up and increase your margin of safety. Studies have shown a rear camera makes it easier to see small children, pets, or obstacles behind your vehicle that might be otherwise invisible using just your mirrors or looking out the rear window. And that goes double for pickups and other tall vehicles, which can have a blind spot as long as 50 feet to the rear. Adding a rearview camera can also make it easier to see and hook up a trailer.
Many new cars have backup cameras, and it’ll be mandatory equipment by the 2018 model year. For those of us without, the aftermarket offers plenty of choices.