Feds Investigating Ford Over Defective Explorer Windshield Parts
Federal investigators are looking into complaints that Ford Explorer window panels are detaching from the sport utility vehicles and flying off into traffic.
“A windshield trim panel can detach while driving at highway speeds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report detailing the probe. “This could cause the detached piece to hit the windshield of a vehicle, or even a motorcyclist, following behind the subject vehicle and cause a loss of vehicle control and a crash.”
NHTSA has received more than 160 reports of these incidents, the agency said. It added that it is not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the defect.
The investigation covers nearly 1.9 million cars, according to a USA Today report. It includes Ford Explorer SUVs from model years 2011 to 2019.
"Some of the complaints reported that the driver of the vehicle following behind the subject Ford vehicle allegedly was startled when the trim piece hit the windshield and momentarily lost control of the vehicle," NHTSA said in the report.
Ford Tops List of Most Recalls
These kinds of recalls are far too common at Ford, which issued more recalls than any other auto manufacturer last year.
Ford announced a total of 67 separate recalls in 2022, NHTSA data show, far surpassing the 45 recalls by the next closest manufacturer, Volkswagen.
Near the end of the year, the company said it was calling back more than half a million sport utility vehicles. Ford said in a NHTSA defect notice that faulty fuel injectors could crack, causing engine fires.
Ford called back roughly 345,000 vehicles earlier in the year, citing a similar risk of fires stemming from oil leaks.
Understanding the California Lemon Law
Ford and other vehicle owners in California should know that they have some valuable rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.
The lemon law, formally known as the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, requires vehicle manufacturers to perform various repairs on cars while they are under warranty. It also requires carmakers to buy back (or replace, in some cases) vehicles that they are unable to or decline to fix. A manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle, but it is the owner’s decision whether to accept or reject this alternative solution.
There is no specific number of repair requests or attempts that must happen before the buyback or replacement requirement kicks in. That is one of several reasons why it is important to consult a seasoned lemon law attorney. The lemon law requires carmakers to pick up the tab for certain legal fees incurred by owners enforcing their rights.
Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.