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Ford recalls hybrids over charging cord fire threat

Some Illinois car owners might be affected by the news that Ford has ordered the recall of thousands of plug-in hybrid vehicles after learning that some of their power cords overheated and started fires. The models affected include the Focus hatchback, Fusion sedan and C-Max wagons built between 2012 and 2015. Ford says that it will distribute replacement power cords that automatically stop charging when the plug or wall outlet become dangerously hot.

Charging cords allow plug-in hybrid vehicle owners to eschew dedicated charging centers and connect their cars to regular household electrical outlets. Charging is slow and plug-in hybrid cars are often left charging overnight. Ford discovered that the 120-volt charging cords they used could create extreme heat in outlets or plugs that are worn, corroded, damaged or not on a dedicated circuit. While the car maker was reluctant to go into details, it did admit that a number of fires had been linked to the issue.

Ford says that it will notify the owners of the affected vehicles by mail. Consumers can also call the company directly with any questions according to a press release. Dealers will replace the defective charging cords at no charge according to Ford. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet given this recall a campaign number, but owners who wish to know if their vehicle is being recalled can find out by visiting the NHTSA website and entering their vehicle identification number.

Manufacturers often take swift action when a defect that could cause serious injury or death becomes the focus of media attention, but they often obfuscate or blame their customers when only a few consumers have been harmed. This is why personal injury attorneys with experience in dangerous product cases may check official records and social media for similar accidents before initiating litigation on behalf of clients who have been injured by a defective car part.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Ford Recalls Charging Cords for Hybrids and Electric Cars", Keith Barry, Aug. 22, 2018

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