WASHINGTON The government is urging owners of 5 million recalled Ford vehicles to bring them to dealerships to repair a cruise control switch system that has been tied to engine fires.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday issued a second consumer advisory to owners of certain unrepaired Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, vans and passenger cars who have not responded to previous recalls.
NHTSA said about 12 million vehicles have been part of the recall and nearly 5 million still have not been fixed. A similar warning was issued in February, but officials said the rate of the vehicles being repaired has declined.
The recalls have affected Ford's popular F-Series pickup trucks and led to hundreds of complaints and dozens of lawsuits over engine fires.
Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said the Dearborn, Mich., company supported the effort to communicate with owners. He said owners have received several recall notices but "the return rate has been lower than expected or hoped (for)."
Dealers have installed a fused wiring harness into the speed control electrical system as part of the recall, and the government said replacement parts are available. Owners can take their vehicle to a dealer to have the cruise control deactivated until the parts arrive.
NHTSA issued a lengthy list of older vehicles covered by the consumer advisory, including 1993-2004 Ford F150 trucks, 1994-2002 F250 through F550 Super Duty trucks with gasoline engines, and 1998-2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs, which were among the best-selling vehicles in the nation during those years.