COLUMBIA — Ford F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT owners should be on the lookout for recall information arriving in their mailboxes.
Certain model year 2004 through 2006 F-150s and model year 2006 Mark LTs have a design flaw that can cause driver side airbags to deploy spontaneously. Ralph Dumas, service manager of the Columbia Joe Machens Ford Lincoln dealership, said Ford notified some owners with affected vehicles April 12 but will send the majority of the notifications May 9.
The recall, issued Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could affect 1.2 million F-150s and Mark LTs nationwide. In some trucks, a metal plate in the steering wheel can scratch away wiring insulation, leading to short circuits, according to the administration's report. A light on the dashboard will illuminate if chafing occurs, indicating service is needed.
Dumas said the Machens dealership has not dealt with any repairs related to the recall. He said Ford did not inform him of how many vehicles in the Columbia area are affected.
"We haven't seen any actual failures, but it doesn't take many nationwide for them to start an investigation," he said. "Usually they'll start an investigation after five or six instances."
Dumas said the Machens dealership was notified by Ford on Thursday about the recall. Ford will narrow down the recall to just those individual trucks affected, Dumas said. At that point, owners will be notified if their truck needs repairs. Not every 2004 through 2006 F-150 or 2006 Mark LT will need repairs.
"It'll be very specific, and the owners will get a letter within two days of Ford sending it," Dumas said.
Dumas said that in the past, companies like Ford were not required to send out a recall notice to vehicle owners until after they had found and tested a remedy to the problem. Now, companies must send out a notice to owners as soon as a defect is identified.
Ford will instruct owners whose trucks are affected by the wire chafing to have a new wire with a protective mesh cover installed, the report stated. Installations will be free of charge at Ford dealerships, including Joe Machens Ford Lincoln, 1911 W. Worley St. Dumas said the repair will take about an hour.
Dumas said those affected by the recall can bring their truck to the Machens dealership, regardless of where it was purchased. Because Ford uses Department of Motor Vehicles licensing information to find F-150 and Mark LT owners, even those who bought their trucks used will receive a notice, Dumas said.
"Maybe you bought it through an individual. You'll still get the fix for it," he said. "Once they get the notice, they can just bring it in and we'll take care of it for them."
For more information, call the traffic safety administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or check your vehicle identification number at Ford's Recall Information Center.