Ford Recalls Escape Hybrids

by : Chuck Smith

Ford Motor Co. will recall 6,164 Escape hybrid sport utility vehicles built at Claycomo plant. According to the U.S. traffic agency, said units need to be inspected due to the reported possibility of drivetrain shaft fracture. Said fracture is attributed to the improper installation of the shaft.

The recall will include all front-wheel drive version of the gasoline-electric 2006 Ford Escape hybrid SUVs which are manufactured from July 28, 2005, through April 21, 2006. The recall of said vehicles is scheduled on or before Oct. 23.

According to Kristen Kinley, Ford spokesperson, Ford built about 20,000 Escape Hybrids in the 2006 model year. However, only 6,164 of it will be inspected Ford. The information was given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Said inspection is triggered by a handful of reports that have swarmed Ford. The company has in fact identified 14 reports of the problem through its internal database. Kinley further added, "There have been no reports of injuries or accidents."

The failure of drivetrain shafts to function is attributed to the wrong installation and improper heat treatment. Moreover, according to the agency the fracture may have resulted in the SUV rolling after the gearshift is placed in 'park'.

During the recall, Ford will replace fractured or damaged drivetrain shafts. This was statement was made public by NHTSA last Monday in Washington. Aside from the drivetrain shafts, no other were reported to have discrepancies.

Ford said that the dealers will inspect the affected Escape hybrids and repair them if necessary at no cost. Moreover, the owners of the affected vehicles can contact the Ford at (800) 392-3673.

The recall will only include a slice of 2006 Ford Escape hybrid production and will not affect its sister vehicle - Mercury Mariner. The latter was also manufactured at Claycomo plant and was produced only as all-wheel-drive vehicles.