Ford has recalled 230,000 minivans in 20 cold-weather states, Washington, D.C. and Canada because of rust problems that can allow seats to come loose.
The recalled vehicles are Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans with model years 2004 through 2007. The affected cars were sold mainly in Canada and colder U.S. states where salt is regularly used on the roads to melt snow and ice.
On March 7, Ford said that weather conditions combined with the salt can cause parts of the vehicles to rust, in turn weakening mounting brackets that anchor removable third-row- seats to the van floor. The company says no crashes or injuries have yet been reported from the problem.
To correct the defect, dealers will install new seat mounting brackets, placing them outside of the area prone to rusting. They will also install panels above the rear wheels to prevent water from entering the area and causing rust to form. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified of the recall by letter during the last week of March.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first began investigating the vans with the 2004 model year, later adding 2005 through 2007 model years to the probe because they all have similar seat designs.
The recall covers 196,500 minivans in the U.S. and an additional 33,500 outside the U.S., mainly in Canada.
The affected U.S states in which vans are being recalled are: 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.