NHTSA closes inquiry of faulty latches on Ford doors

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is closing an investigation into 456,000 Ford Motor Co. cars for doors failing to latch or inadvertently opening, after it found that a recall fix remedied the problem.

The affected vehicles, model years 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta, the 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Lincoln MKZ, shared the same door-latch design.

The agency’s analysis identified 281 complaints, with more than 100 claiming that the door opened inadvertently while the car was in motion. No crashes were reported; however three injuries were caused by a rebounding door striking people as they attempted to close it.

Ford had received 1,100 reports related to the problem, including two claims of low-speed crashes involving the door opening while driving and damaging property. Ford also had more than 10,880 warranty claims related to door-latch failures. Many customers said they had to restrain the door by looping the seat belt through the door, or using rope or tape to keep it closed, so they could drive.

The automaker issued a voluntary recall in April to replace all four door latches on affected vehicles with a new design. NHTSA says the recall appears to have addressed the safety risks and as a result it closed the investigation.

Ford has issued other recalls for door latch issues in the last year.

(202) 662-8736