The recall applies to the nearly 500,000 3-liter V6 models where the cruise control cable can stick to the engine cover and leave the throttle open, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During its investigation, it found 99 instances of this happening and it received 68 complaints.
NHTSA officials said in one report on its website that the defect may be connected to 13 accidents that included nine injuries and one fatality. Owners of the Escape models under the recall are asked to contact the nearest Ford dealership or call Ford directly at (866) 436-7332. Owners can also contact NHTSA at (888) 327-4236 (TTY (800) 424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
Ford officials said the car maker was fully cooperating with NHTSA. The company noted that the problem is exasperated when the accelerator pedal is fully depressed, causing the cable to stick.
"Should drivers experience what they believe is a stuck throttle, they should firmly and steadily apply the brakes without pumping the brake pedal, shift to neutral, steer the vehicle to a safe location, shut the engine off and place the transmission in 'park' after the vehicle is safely stopped," the company said in a statement.
While this recall impacts older models, the announcement comes right in the middle of Ford launching its all-new 2013 Escape model, which has under gone two small recalls recently. One for improper carpet padding possibly getting caught on the accelerator pedal and another one for Ford's new 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine leaking and possibly starting a fire.
The string of missteps could dampen enthusiasm for the new model, which has adopted a new crossover look.