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Ford announces free brake pad offer if customers stop by dealers

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury

Ford Motorcraft Brake Pad Guarantee

These days, when you buy a new car, it's not unreasonable to expect a certain period of free maintenance to come along as well. Sometimes this is through the life of the warranty, in other cases a little less. But Ford Motor Company is going beyond those deals for at least one part of its cars. As of now, if you buy a set of Motorcraft brake pads for a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury model, you get free replacements for as long as you own the vehicle. The offer is good at Ford or Lincoln dealers and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.

"We will replace the pads for as long as you own the vehicle," said Elizabeth Weigandt to Autoblog. She did clarify that the Motorcraft pads are generally for models from the '90s or newer. Also, to take advantage of this program, a person must return to the same dealer each time to get the free parts.

Of course, Ford isn't just handing out brake pads to anyone who walks by; there are certain stipulations. First, the components have to be worn down to less than three millimeters to be eligible, and the buyer still has to pay for the labor to install them. If the model is used as a fleet vehicle for commercial purposes like as a taxi or limousine, this offer also doesn't apply; the same thing for racecars. On the plus side, if you recently bought a set of pads from one of the participating locations, you're still in luck. The deal covers parts purchased as of July 1.

"This program reflects our commitment to providing customers with an excellent ownership experience regardless of the age of their vehicle," said Frederiek Toney, President of Ford Customer Service, in the company's announcement of the offer. Scroll down to read the all the details.

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NHTSA and Ford investigating steering issues in Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Marauder

07/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Safety, Ford, Mercury

Mercury Marauder

There may be more steering woes for the Ford Crown Victoria. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation into the Crown Vic and Mercury Grand Marquis from the 2004 to 2007 model years and the Mercury Marauder for the 2004 and 2005 model years because the steering shaft can jam. The issue could potentially affect an estimated 500,000 vehicles.

According to the regulator, there is a possibility that the driver's side heat shield for the exhaust manifold can rust, dislodge, and then wedge into the steering shaft. If this occurs, it leads to a situation where the driver can no longer control the car.

NHTSA has received five complaints of this happening, including one alleged case with an injury. In that situation, the car was driving onto the highway, lost control and rolled over. One occupant was hurt in the accident.

This isn't the first case of potential steering issues with the Crown Vic. Ford recalled 370,000 of them in 2013 in fix some components because of possible corrosion. NHTSA also investigated some police models for issues with the steering shaft.

A Ford spokesperson told Autoblog via email: "We are cooperating with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." It has no further information about the evaluation at this time. Scroll down to read the entire NHTSA report.

Continue reading NHTSA and Ford investigating steering issues in Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Marauder

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: Craterface's '49 Mercury convertible from Grease

01/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Auctions, Mercury, Celebrities, TV/Movies

1949 Mercury hotrod from Grease

Here is your chance to own your very own piece of greased lightning. Well, not the Greased Lighting, it's actually the black, flamed 1949 Mercury convertible that races against John Travolta in the classic 1978 movie Grease, and it's for auction on eBay Motors.

While it appeared in the film's exciting drag race in a Los Angeles storm drain, the hot rod was reportedly lost until last year, when the seller found it as a shell. He verified that it was the actual car with original builder, Eddie Paul, and sent the car for a complete restoration.

The auction includes original parts like the exhaust tips used in the movie and bent bumper from when it hit Travolta's car in the scene. The restorer recreated the scorpion stickers on the doors, razor hubcaps and license plate. He also installed a 1949 Mercury 255-cubic-inch (4.2-liter), flathead V8 and three-speed manual transmission with overdrive.

The car comes a letter of authenticity from Paul and other documents verifying that it appears in the movie. The seller claims that this is the only car from Grease that is privately owned.

The auction currently sits at just over $100,000, but the car's reserve price hasn't been met yet. There are four days left, so there's still time for you to enjoy some warm summer nights in this hot rod with your own Sandy or Danny Zuko.

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Report: NHTSA closes rollaway investigation into 1.56M Ford SUVs

03/11/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Government/Legal, Safety, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury

2002 Ford Explorer - front three-quarter view, maroon

It's taken four years of study, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally closed the books on its investigation into rollaway accusations surrounding 1.56-million Ford SUV models.

The probe, which centered on the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer, 2002-2005 Mercury Mountaineer and 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviator, ends without the federal agency calling for a recall. According to The Detroit News, the investigation was closed due to a "low number of complaints" - NHTSA documented 180 such complaints that resulted in 14 crashes and six minor injuries, but the number of incidents have been slowing. The suspected defect rate for the trucks' automatic transmissions was found to be 4.4 per 100,000 units, and the brake-shift interlock mechanism failure rate was judged to be even lower at 3.4 per 100k.

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Ford finally issues recall for 230K minivans over rust problems

03/10/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Ford, Mercury, Canada

The rust issue in the rear wheel wells of 2004-2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans has finally led to a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into the matter in 2011, said investigation being upgraded to an engineering analysis a year later while NHTSA tried to figure out how many model years should be included in the assessment.

Ford has decided to recall all of the 230,000 minivans potentially affected, namely those sold in salt-belt states and countries like Canada. The excess rust in the rear wheel wells was also able to prevent the third-row seats from locking to the floor of the minivan. To repair the problem, owners can take their minivans to dealers, and the dealers will place new panels in the wheel wells, replace the third-row seat mounting brackets and relocate the latches to an area away from any corrosion.

Ford says it will begin notifying owners during the last week of March.

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Official: NHTSA investigating 725k Ford, Mercury vehicles for stalling issue

02/26/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Government/Legal, Safety, Ford, Mercury

Owners of Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan models, listen up. According to a report on Automotive News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into these four vehicles totaling an estimated 725,000 units. The investigation appears to center around a malfunctioning throttle body on non-hybrid models of the 2005-2012 Escape and 2011-2012 Fusion. With Mercury dying off after the 2011 model year, this probe will also apply to the 2005 through 2011 Mariner and the 2011 Milan. There has been some discussion around the Escape stalling issue for some time now, but this investigation appears to be larger in scope than before.

Though not a recall yet, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 123 complaints of stalling or surging vehicles, while Ford itself has logged 1,472 complaints. The investigation report, which is posted below, seems to indicate that a faulty circuit board for the throttle body could cause the vehicle to go into limp mode, which, according to NHTSA, could cause complaints of both stalling and surging.

Continue reading NHTSA investigating 725k Ford, Mercury vehicles for stalling issue

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Report: NHTSA closes probes on Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey

01/10/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Safety, Chrysler, Ford, Jeep, Mercury

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Detroit News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially closed its investigations into 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2004-2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey models. The separate probes found no issues that pose safety concerns. NHTSA began investigating certain Grand Cherokee SUVs over complaints that power steering hoses could detach during operation, thereby increasing the risk of a vehicle fire. Of the 24 reports of failure, none alleged smoke or fire in the engine bay, and Chrysler has since modified the power steering cooler assembly to reduce the likelihood of the failure.

Meanwhile, certain Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles garnered a government probe after receiving complaints that the models were equipped with faulty scissor jacks. The agency had received six reports of the jacks failing or causing injuries, including one incident that resulted in a fatality. But NHTSA says the jack failure rate is similar to those found in other vehicles. In those six cases, the government agency found the jacks were being used for something other than changing a tire, and investigators could not determine whether the emergency brake was set or the rear tires were properly chocked.

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Report: NHTSA upgrades Ford floor mat unintended acceleration probe

12/17/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Safety, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury

Ford badge

According to a Bloomberg report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into complaints of unintended acceleration lodged against Ford vehicles. The investigation began in June of 2010 when just three complaints had been received and it only concerned the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but this was at a time when the phrase "unintended acceleration" made grown men go pale. With 49 additional complaints received since then, the investigation has been reclassified as an engineering analysis - the last phase before a recall - and it has been expanded to include the Lincoln MKZ, making for a total of "around 480,000" units affected between the three sedans from the 2008 to 2010 model years.

The ostensible cause is that floor mats are trapping the accelerator pedal, but according to a Ford statement at the time, the entrapment is due to owners placing the optional all-weather floor mats, or aftermarket floor mats, on top of the car's standard floor mats. NHTSA has backed up that assessment, pinning the blame on "unsecured or double stacked floor mats."

On the face of it, it would appear that NHTSA has upgraded the status not because of Ford's error, but owner error, and Ford has stated publicly that it is "disappointed" in NHTSA's move. On top of NHTSA still being skittish after that other unintended acceleration debacle, it could be seen to be taking its time investigating all of the variables: it's reported that Ford changed its accelerator pedal design in 2010, a "heel blocker" in the floorpan has been considered a potential culprit in how the floor mats could be trapping the pedal, some drivers have said the floor mats weren't anywhere near the pedal, and according to a report in the LA Times, in "a letter sent by Ford to NHTSA in August 2010, the automaker said it found three injuries and one fatality that 'may have resulted from the alleged defect.'"

If that last part is true, that's strange enough by itself; in June 2010 there were apparently only three complaints in total, but two months later Ford was supposedly saying there might - let's emphasize might - be three injuries and a death involved. This sounds like the kind of thing that could take a while to sort out. Ford has said it is cooperating fully with the investigation.

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Report: NHTSA probing 2000-2003 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable models over throttle issue

10/29/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Government/Legal, Safety, Ford, Mercury

A potential issue with the speed control cable collar has got the 2003-20003 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable under the spotlight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the collar breaks it can cause the throttle to be stuck open.

The issue is limited to vehicles with the 3.0-liter V6 Duratec. There are just 50 complaints so far out of 310,000 cars, but the NHTSA has begun an investigation into whether a recall should be issued.

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Report: Ford's J Mays feels vindicated by Fusion reception

09/26/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Design/Style

Ford designer J Mays with 2013 FusionIt's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.

When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.

It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.

It's also significant to point out the big names in car design came through the doors of Ford's design house under Mays. Names like Ian Callum (now of Jaguar), and Henrik Fisker, who was then at Aston Martin but has now gone on to start his own carmaker.

Mays, who spent time at BMW, Audi and Volkswagen told AN that American carmakers don't have to imitate Europe's luxury automakers to provide premium products (perhaps a bit ironic considering that even cheerleaders of the sedan admit the new Fusion has an awful lot of Aston Martin design language up front). While the Fusion has been well-received, Mays still has his hands full trying to maintain the "One Ford" global design language, matching that up with truck design, and finding an identity for Lincoln. All we can say is, it ain't easy being J Mays.

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