For the past ten years, Ford has been doing a dance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and consumers over the issue of leaking cruise control switches in certain company vehicles. As of 2008, it had recalled some 9.6 million vehicles to repair a faulty Texas Instruments cruise-control deactivation switch, and now after a NHTSA investigation, the Blue Oval has added 4.5 million more Ford and Mercury vehicles to the recall.

The latest action covers these vehicles:

1992-2003 Ford Econoline
2000-2003 Ford Excursion
1995-2002 Ford Explorer
1993-1997, 1999-2003 Ford F-Series Super Duty
1994 Ford F-53 chassis
1995-1997, 2001-2003 Ford Ranger
1995-2003 Ford Windstar
1995-2002 Mercury Mountaineer

According to NHTSA, the switch can leak and overheat, which can lead to smoking and, in some cases, fire. In fact, The Detroit News notes that the switches have been faulted in more than 550 fires – some of which led to fatalities – many of which have led to lawsuits. A Ford statement declared, "Aside from the Windstar, the additional vehicles addressed in this action have different system parameters and do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety. However, Ford is taking this action on all of these vehicles to address possible ongoing customer lack of confidence in vehicles with the affected switch."

The recall begins on October 26. Anyone with an affected vehicle can take it to a Ford dealer and have the switch repaired with a fused harness. Owners can get more information directly from NHTSA by calling the government agency's hotline at 1-888-327-4236. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

[Source: The Detroit News]