The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation last week into the 2001 to 2004 Ford Escape and similar Mazda Tribute vehicles, following 99 complaints related to unintended acceleration in the vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. The complaints included 13 crashes as well as nine injuries and the death of a 17-year-old girl.
The throttle pedal can stick in the affected vehicles if they have a six-cylinder engine and cruise control. If the pedal is pushed all the way down, it can become stuck due to a lack of space between the engine cover and the control cable, according to the Detroit Free Press. While the problem itself can be catastrophic, the fix is very simple and merely requires the replacement of an engine cover fastener, a fix which can be made at a dealership while the customer waits.
The recall affects 424,000 vehicles in the U.S., while in Europe, about 4,500 Ford Escapes badged as the Maverick are being recalled, and 35,000 Escapes are being recalled in Canada and 19,000 in Mexico, according to Auto News. Only about 4,300 vehicles are affected in other regions. Ford will notify owners by mail beginning Aug. 6.
Unintended acceleration problems have been a high-profile plague for the auto industry ever since Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) had to recall millions of cars in 2009 and 2010 for the problem. Those cars were fixed by replacing floor mats.
The Ford Escape has had a tough time in the last couple of weeks. The recall of 2001 to 2004 models comes on the heels of two recalls for the 2013 model, one affecting 9,320 vehicles with defective fuel lines and another affecting 8,266 cars with badly installed carpeting, which could extend stopping times.
The worst model year for the vehicle, though, is 2002. The 2002 Ford Escape has been subject to eight previous recalls for everything from engine stalls, electrical shorts in anti-lock braking systems and brake fluid leaks, according to Auto News.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) shares fell one cent to $8.96 Thursday.