NHTSA investigating 500k Ford and Mercury cars for lighting failures

The Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis might be long gone as new models in showrooms, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration might check them out yet again for a potential problem. At the urging of North Carolina Consumers Council, the agency may open another investigation into the front lighting control module on vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years, and NHTSA estimates the issue could affect 517,945 vehicles.

If the module stops working, it can cause a complete failure of all forward lighting, including the headlights. NHTSA previously investigated the issue in 2008 and 2009 but found no need for a recall, according to Bloomberg. Ford also extended the warranty on the part to 15 years or 250,000 miles.

To prompt this new request, the North Carolina Consumers Council received a letter from a woman experiencing the module's failure. Upon further investigation, the council found 604 complaints of this problem on NHTSA's website, including seven crashes. Furthermore, the group has alleged that dealers told customers that the parts to perform the replacement weren't available, despite the extended warranty. According to the government agency, "A defect petition has been opened to evaluate the issue and make a grant or deny decision."

Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker tells Autoblog via email, "We will cooperate with NHTSA, as we always do." You can read the council's complete letter to the Feds in PDF format, here.
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INVESTIGATION Subject : Loss of headlamp/exterior lighting

Date Investigation Opened: APR 01, 2015
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: DP15002
All Products Associated with this Investigation
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)


Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received a petition from the North Carolina Consumers Council, Inc. requesting a defect investigation of an alleged defect condition resulting in headlight and/or exterior lighting failure on 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles. The petition letter is attached for review. The petitioner alleges a defect in the lighting control module that powers the headlights which can result in the loss of vehicle headlights and/or all exterior lighting while driving. ODI has previously investigated this issue under PE08-066 which was closed without a defect finding. The petitioner notes that Ford recently extended the subject vehicle warranty for this part to 15 years or 250,000 miles (Ford customer satisfaction campaign 12N01), states that service replacement parts were not readily available for warranty repairs at the time of the petition submission, and requests that a new defect investigation be opened. A defect petition has been opened to evaluate the issue and make a grant or deny decision.

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