The four year investigation into claims that 1.56 million Ford SUVs were at risk of rolling away has been closed. There was never an order for a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last week that the investigation of the 2002 to 2005 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, as well as the 2003 to 2005 Lincoln Aviator was closing.
The investigation was originally opened in April 2009 and was then upgraded to an engineering analysis in August 2009. The reason for the investigation was that the brake-shift interlock on the Ford Explorer might not have been working properly. This prevents the vehicle from being shifted out of the park position, unless the brake is depressed.
NHTSA said in a recent interview that “there has been a drastically declining trend including very few incidents occurring in recent years.” Only minor injuries had been reported, including cuts and bruises to one incident of a fractured rib. NHTSA claims there were only 144 complaints related to the issue.
In February 2004, Ford issued a bulletin to assembly plants that the Explorer-platform built vehicles must have the parking brake fully applied once the vehicle is loaded, constrained, and prepped for shipment. This new way of loading the vehicles would reduce the possible stress on the transmission park system.
That same year in November, Ford released another bulletin telling dealers that some of the vehicles under investigation would possibly require more effort to shift into park, with the recommendation to replace the brake shift interlock system part.
Source: Detroit News