WASHINGTON - US automaker Ford Motor issued safety recalls Thursday for nearly 1.4 million cars in North America, mostly in the US, to fix potential steering and other problems.
Ford said it was recalling about 915,200 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles because a torque sensor within the steering column may malfunction, resulting in the loss of electric power steering assistance.
In that case, the steering system defaults to the manual steering mode, making the vehicle more difficult to steer, especially at lower speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash, Ford said.
The recall affects certain Escapes and Mariners, model years 2008-2011. About 736,400 were recalled in the United States; 134,500 in Canada; and 39,800 in Mexico.
A second recall affects roughly 195,500 Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles, model years 2011-2013, that could have a problem with an intermittent electrical connection in the steering gear that could cause the loss of electric power steering while driving.
Ford, the number-two US automaker, said that both recalls could affect additional vehicles in other markets.
The company also issued a recall of about 196,600 Taurus vehicles, model years 2010-2014, to replace a license plate lamp that could become corroded in a high-corrosion environment linked to road salt use. The lamp could short-circuit and cause a fire.
A smaller recall, of about 82,500 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ vehicles, was announced to replace certain driver's side floor mats that could be improperly installed, resulting in contact with the accelerator pedal. The model years were 2006-2011.
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