Ford Cruise Control Switch Fires

  • Issue: Defective cruise control switches

What is the Ford Fire Recall?

Since 1999, the Ford Motor Company has recalled over 14 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars, SUVs and pickup trucks due to faulty cruise control switches, which can corrode overtime and catch fire. These switches have been linked to at least 550 vehicle fires nationwide, and the destruction of many homes and other properties.

The number of Ford fires reported to NHTSA is believed to be far less than the number that have occurred. The national law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, the sponsor of this website, has received over 325 complaints of fires in Ford vehicles linked to the speed control deactivation system.

The Ford Switch Defect Explained

The Ford Speed Control Deactivation Switch, also known as a "brake pressure switch," costs about $21. The switch shuts off the cruise control when the driver firmly steps on the brakes. The switch is located under the hood of the vehicle and is attached to the brake master cylinder on one end and wired to the cruise control on the other. This position places it above flammable reservoirs of brake fluid.

On most of its models, Ford designed the switch to be powered -- or "hot" -- at all times, even when the vehicle is off and the key is removed from the ignition.

Inside the switch, a thin film barrier separates brake fluid from the switch's electrical components.

Investigators say fires can break out under certain conditions, such as when the film cracks and brake fluid from the master cylinder seeps into the electrical side of the switch. This can cause a fire, even when the engine had been turned off and, in some cases, idle for days.

The following signs could indicate that you have a problem with your cruise-control switch: cruise control is not working properly; brake fluid is leaking around the switch; fuses are blown near the switch; or the fuse for the speed control cannot be opened.

What to Do if Your Vehicle has Caught Fire

If you experienced a vehicle fire, you should contact your insurance company and preserve the physical evidence needed to establish your claim. You should also report your vehicle fire to the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), so that NHTSA receives notice of the incident.

To report a fire incident with any vehicle, visit the website at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ or http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ or call 1-888-DASH-2-DOT. By U.S. mail, contact the NHTSA at:

U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Defects Investigation
NSA-10.01, 400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

Vehicle owners who wish to obtain more information about the recall should contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673.

What to Do if You Were Injured in a Ford Vehicle Fire or Suffered a Substantial Property Loss

Owners of the Ford vehicles who lost their vehicle due to fire and suffered additional significant property damage (such as the destruction of their house) or were injured in the fire are welcome to use the form below to contact Lieff Cabraser for a prompt and confidential evaluation of your case. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case.

You may also contact us by telephone toll free at 1-866-313-1973 and request to speak to Ford fire recall attorney Mark Chalos. We will also investigate vehicles made by other manufacturers that caught fire and led to an injury or significant property damage.

If your claim does not fit the above requirements, such as the vehicle was destroyed but no further damage occurred, we can not represent. We advise you to contact other lawyers and/or consider filing claims on your own. Guides to suing on your own (also known as In Pro Per) may be available at your local courthouse and/or local law library and are also for sale by Nolo Press at www.nolo.com.

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