Imagine getting into your car, shutting the door, buckling up your seatbelt and driving along the road at a good rate of speed. All of a sudden, the driver's side door swings open, right in the middle of traffic, and try as you might, you can't get the door to securely latch shut. It keeps popping open, all while you're trying to keep from colliding with cars that are coming dangerously close to the open door. After a couple of close calls, you finally manage to pull over to the side of the road.
Car doors opening while the car is in motion is an obvious safety hazard that must be addressed quickly to avoid accidents and injury to unsuspecting motorists. The problem is a defective pawl spring tab. This is a small part that exists to ensure the door remains closed. It has been discovered that many Ford vehicles have malfunctioning pawl spring tabs, which need to be replaced.
After being made aware of this particular road hazard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally requested that Ford recall vehicle models affected by the door issue. The automaker agreed. According to Ford, vehicle doors opening during road travel has already lead to one accident, and several injuries. The recall has already been extended once, and it's not known if a further expansion is needed to cover all vehicles with the problem.
Car door malfunction problems have plagued Ford for a few years, and some popular models such as the Fiesta have undergone recalls to correct this problem. Broken doors have hit drivers exiting their cars, and some drivers report a door springing open while parking, causing unavoidable damage to nearby cars. Needless to say, Ford car owners who receive a recall notice should take their cars in to be fixed not only for safety reasons, but to avoid potential insurance claims.
Affected vehicles include certain 2011-14 Fiesta vehicles built at Cuautitlán Assembly Plant, Nov. 3, 2009 to May 31, 2013; certain 2013-14 Fusion vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Feb. 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013; certain 2014 Fusion vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, April 12, 2013 to April 26, 2013; and certain 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Feb. 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013.
The recall is estimated to cost Ford $640 million (USD) to replace the defective parts on its door latches, lowering its third-quarter profits. Every driver on the road probably considers this money well spent.