Ford recalls 363K F-150s to fix door handles

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 3 at 2:30 p.m.

Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 363,000 F-150 pickup trucks in North America because of a potential problem with the interior door handles, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Thursday.

Ford has recalled more vehicles in the first few weeks of this year — nearly 900,000 — than in all of 2010 when about 600,000 were recalled.

The company in January recalled about 525,000 older Windstar minivans.

Model years 2009 and 2010 F-150 trucks produced from January 2008 to November 2009 are being recalled because “the door handle spring can fail, causing the door latch to open” in  a crash, NHTSA said in a filing.

As of Jan. 21, there had been no reported accidents or injuries related to this issue, Ford told NHTSA.

The F-150 is the primary model of the F-Series of pickup trucks — for 34 years the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. market.

The issue will not affect current production of the 2011 F-150, said a Ford spokesman. The supplier changed the way it was making the  plastic reinforcement plug in November 2009, the spokesman said.

Some 280,946 trucks will be recalled in the United States; about 68,000 in Canada; and about 14,000 in Mexico, Ford and NHTSA said.

Ford said it would start to notify customers in mid-February, when owners will be asked to bring their trucks to Ford or Lincoln dealerships for replacement of loose door handles.

“As soon as sufficient plastic reinforcement plugs are available by early spring, customers will be renotified and asked to bring their vehicles to the dealer for free replacement or repair of all interior door handles, whether they are currently experiencing the condition or not,” said Ford spokesman Wesley Sherwood.

Sherwood said Ford expects that most of the F-150s will not exhibit any problems with the interior door handles.

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