Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 8, 2013

Ford recalls 230,000 minivans to fix rust

The Associated Press
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling 230,000 minivans in 20 cold-weather states and Washington, D.C., to fix rust problems that can cause the third-row seats to come loose.

The company says the recall affects Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans from the 2004 through 2007 model years. They were sold mainly in Canada and U.S. states where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.

Ford said Thursday that rust can weaken the mounting brackets that hold the removable seats to the van floor. The company says no crashes or injuries have been reported from the problem.

Dealers will install new seat mounting brackets, placing them outside of the area that can rust. They’ll also install panels above the rear wheels to prevent water from entering, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. Owners will be notified of the recall by letter during the last week of March.

“The panels will protect that area so that it won’t get any other exposure to corrosive elements,” Felker said.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the vans from the 2004 model year in December, and added 2005 through 2007 to the probe in April because they all have similar seat designs.

The recall covers 196,500 minivans in the U.S. and another 33,500 outside the U.S., mainly in Canada, Felker said.

Vans in Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Delaware, Maine, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Indiana, Michigan, New York, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., are being recalled.

THE RECALL: Ford is recalling 230,000 minivans in 20 cold-weather states, Washington, D.C., and Canada to fix rust problems that can cause the third-row seats to come loose. Affected are the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey from the 2004 through 2007 model years.

THE PROBLEM: Water loaded with road salt can get into the underside, causing rust that can weaken the mounting brackets to which the seats are attached.

THE SOLUTION: Dealers will install new seat mounting brackets, placing them outside of the area that can rust. They’ll also put in panels above the rear wheels to prevent water from entering.Eds: Adds states in which vans are being recalled.