NHTSA opens probe into nearly 1.9M Ford Explorers after reports of windshield trim detaching
WASHINGTON — U.S. auto safety regulators have opened a safety probe into nearly 1.9 million Ford Explorer large crossovers after reports of the windshield trim panel detaching while driving at highway speeds.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation said it has received 164 complaints on 2011-19 Ford Explorers alleging the trim piece detached while driving at highway speeds, which can vary from state to state.
Some of the complaints allege that “the driver of the vehicle following behind the subject Ford vehicle allegedly was startled when the trim piece hit the windshield and momentarily lost control of the vehicle,” according to a report released Tuesday.
No injuries, accidents or deaths were listed in the report.
“We’ve received notice from NHTSA, and we plan to work with them as we always do,” Ford spokeswoman Maria Buczkowski said in a statement to Automotive News.
The agency has launched the probe — known as a preliminary evaluation — to assess the scope, frequency and potential safety risks of the alleged defect.
Most NHTSA investigations start as preliminary evaluations, in which agency engineers request information from the manufacturer, including data on complaints, injuries and warranty claims. The manufacturer also can present its view regarding the alleged defect and may issue a recall.
After the evaluation, NHTSA will either close the investigation or move into the next phase. If a safety-related defect exists, according to NHTSA, the agency may send a “recall request” letter to the manufacturer.
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