Ford under scrutiny as NHTSA investigates 725,000 cars, SUVs

Another potential vehicle recall is in the works. The National Highway Transportation Association—the federal agency aimed at helping to reduce auto accident crashes and injuries—is investigating almost a million Ford cars and vehicles for auto defects.

The reported problems include cars going into stall or limp mode and vehicles with surging engines. The issues have already reported to cause crashes and injuries.

The North Carolina Consumers Council—a non-profit organization that investigates and promotes consumer issues including problems with automobiles—notified the NHSA regarding the issues. There were repeated complaints to the Council and requests by safety groups and consumers regarding the vehicle problems.

Together with the number of reports to the Council, Ford and the NHTSA received a total of 1500 complaints about the issues.

The vehicles in question involve the Ford Escape, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan sedan and Mercury Mariner SUV models manufactured from 2009-2011.

The investigation

Specifically, 123 complaints about stalling in cars are being investigated. Particularly, vehicles traveling at speed limits of up to 20 mph or 900 engine revolutions per minute are being examined.

The NHTSA is also investigating 59 complaints about vehicles with surging engines. Those models manufactured from 2010-2011 are being looked at.

Although potentially 725,000 cars and SUVs are affected, only an investigation is currently in progress. No recall has yet been issued.

Ford's action

Ford indicated that their vehicles manufactured from June 2009-Oct 2009 may in fact have defective circuit boards. However, they informed the NHTSA that after working with their throttle body supplier, the circuit board manufacturing protocol was changed.

The NHTSA confirms that the change did in fact correct the vehicle stalling issue. However, the agency is still investigating the throttle issues.

Despite the problems, Ford still expects its market share to increase this upcoming year.

Other high-profile vehicle recalls

Toyota Motor Corporation also faced investigation into similar issues with several of their vehicles in recent years.

In 2010, there were reported problems with unintended engine accelerations in thousands of cars. After an investigation, over 7 million Toyota vehicles were recalled. Roughly 2 million additional vehicles in Europe and China relating to the same problem were also recalled.

Legal recourse

Manufacturing defects involving automobiles are serious because of the potential for vehicles to malfunction and crash due to defects in engine or vital parts of the car.

It's important for owners to contact a dealer if there has been an issue with the vehicle that has been publicized or reported.

Vehicle owners should also contact an auto accident or auto defect attorney if any injury was sustained in an auto accident. A lawyer can offer advice about options available under the law.