Ford Cruise Control Recall

2010 Ford Taurus at the 2009 Detroit auto show
Photo © Aaron Gold

Since 2005, a number of Ford vehicles have had manufacturer recalls for a variety of problems with their cruise control systems. Read below to learn if your vehicle might be affected. 

Initial Recall: September 7, 2005

Ford Motor Company announced a massive safety recall on 1994-2002 vehicles to correct a problem that could cause the cruise control deactivation switch to overheat and create an underhood fire.

Models Affected: 

  • 1994-2002 Ford F-150s
  • 1997-2002 Ford Expeditions
  • 1998-2002 Lincoln Navigators
  • 1994-1996 Ford Broncos with factory cruise control

Ford found that brake fluid could leak through the cruise deactivation switch into the cruise system's electrical components and cause corrosion. Corrosion can cause a short and keep the cruise control from working, but in some cases it can lead to a higher flow of current that can overheat and cause a fire at the switch.

Fixing the Problem:

To repair trucks, Ford agreed to install  a jumper harness between the cruise control deactivation switch and the cruise mechanism. The harness will act as a circuit breaker and will turn off the current at the switch if the switch becomes shorted.

Parts for the repair weren't available as of the recall date, so Ford asked customers to take their vehicles to dealerships to have the cruise control deactivated until the harnesses are in stock.

 You can read more details at www.genuineservice.com.

Possible Warning Signs Before a Fire:

  • Cruise system won't activate or stops working
  • Brake lights stop working
  • Low brake fluid
  • ABS and brake warning lights illuminated on dash
  • Inability to get the vehicle out of park

August, 2006 Update

Ford added 1.2 million more vehicles to the cruise control recall.

Now included:

  • 1994 to 2002 F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks
  • 200 to 2002 Ford Excursions
  • 1994 to 1996 Econoline vans
  • 1996 to 2002 E-450 vans
  • 1998 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers

September 9, 2008 Update

A recording at Ford says that parts were now available for the final repair.  As of this date, about 5 million vehicles still needed to be repaired.

February 28, 2008 Update

Ford asked owners to take affected trucks and cars to a Ford dealership, where the cruise control parts would be either repaired or deactivated until parts are available to fix the problem. Car repairs were available immediately.  Truck parts were available beginning in June, 2008.

More models were added to the recall list and some owners hadn't responded to recall notices, leaving about 5 million vehicles at risk of fire.

Updated List of Recalled Vehicles:

Trucks

  • 1997-2002 Expedition
  • 1998-2002 Navigator
  • 2002-2003 Blackwood
  • 1993-1996 Bronco
  • 2000-2003 Excursion (built prior to 11/4/02)
  • 1992-2003 Econoline E-150/250/350
  • 1996-2003 Econoline E450
  • 2002-2003 Econoline E550
  • 1998-2002 Ranger
  • 1998-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer
  • 2001-2002 Explorer Sport (2 door) & Sport Trac
  • 2003-2004 F-150 Lightning
  • 1993-2003 F-Series (Under 8500 lb. GVW)
  • 1993-2003 F-Series (over 8500 lb. GVW) – all plants except Cuautitlan
  • 1994-2003 F-Series (over 8500 lb. GVW) – Cuautitlan built only prior to 1/7/03
  • 1995-2002 F-53 Motorhome

Cars

  • 1992-1998 Town Car
  • 1992-1998 Crown Victoria
  • 1992-1998 Grand Marquis
  • 1993-1998 Mark VIII
  • 1993-1995 Taurus SHO (automatic transmission)
  • 1994 Capri

    *equipped with speed control. Diesel engine equipped vehicles were excluded from recall

October 14, 2009 Update

Ford added 4.5 million older model vehicles to the cruise control recall. The new list included Windstar vans (which have experienced fires) and older Ford and Lincoln products with the same switches (which had not had reported fires, but used the same Texas Instrument switches).

Ford sent letters to owners of affected vehicles from model years 1992-2003.

October 21, 2010 Update

The NHTSA urged owners of affected vehicles to respond to Ford's recall notices, saying that several million cars, trucks and SUVs were still a fire risk.

September 30, 2015 Update

6,857 2015 Ford F-150 pickup trucks in North America were recalled for unexpected adaptive cruise control braking. According to a Ford press release:

"When passing a large, highly reflective truck, the adaptive cruise control radar in some of these vehicles could incorrectly identify the truck as being in the F-150 lane of travel when it is not. As a result, the vehicle might apply the brakes until the truck is no longer perceived to be in the lane of travel. The collision-warning system red warning light might also flash and a tone might be heard at the same time. When this happens, the brake lights will illuminate. The potential duration of this unexpected adaptive cruise control braking could increase the risk of a crash involving a vehicle behind the F-150."

Affected F-150s were built at Dearborn Truck Plant from March 18, 2014 through August 5, 2015 and at Kansas City Assembly Plant from August 11, 2014 through August 6, 2015.

Ford dealers will update the adaptive cruise control module software. . Owners can contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332.