Niagara Gazette

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April 18, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Safety recalls -- How a defect becomes a recall

Niagara Gazette — Editor’s note: The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom’s Corner will appear in Thursday’s editions. 

Ever wonder how a vehicle defect gets to recall status? Based on the number of inquiries on this subject from around the country, this is a hot topic. Read on. I think you’ll find the process quite interesting and informative.

First of all, let’s look at the description of a typical recall as it appears from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Notice how the report outlines what vehicle/s are affected, the size of the vehicle population, when the recall was issued, the component affected, a detailed description of the problem, and an explanation of “the fix” or remedy.

Make: FORD

Model: CROWN VICTORIA

Year: 2003

Recall Number: 02I003000

Recall Date: SEP 27, 2002

Component: FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE: STORAGE: TANK ASSEMBLY

Potential Number Of Units Affected: 350,000

SUMMARY: In order to enhance police office safety, model year 1992-2003 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) vehicles will be equipped with shields designed to help protect the fuel tank in high-speed rear-impact crashes. Ford also will be offering an optional trunk package designed to improve the safe transport of sharp-edged, heavy equipment in these vehicles.

CONSEQUENCE: Some high-speed rear-impact crashes have resulted in fuel tank punctures and fires in CPVI vehicles.

REMEDY: Ford has advised us that shield kits have been available since late October and will be installed on police interceptor vehicles at no cost. The optional trunk package will be available by the end of 2002. Ford has established a new web site at HYPERLINK “http://www.cvpi.com/” www.cvpi.com to answer additional questions about the safe use of CPVI vehicles.

NOTES: Customers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline at: 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

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