2004 Ford F-150 Lariat
Ford Motor Company is issuing a major recall for pickup trucks from its popular F-150 and F-250 lines, as well as the Lincoln Blackwood. At issue is a problem with the models' fuel tank straps, which could result in fuel tanks separating from affected vehicles and, potentially, start fires.
The flaw has less to do with the tank straps themselves than with the chemicals used to de-ice roads in certain areas of the country. Over time, those chemicals can cause fuel tank straps to corrode, and in extreme cases, allow the fuel lines or even tanks themselves to separate from vehicles. If that happens, of course, there's likely to be a fuel leak, which could result in a fire.
The recall affects some 1,100,000 vehicles: Ford F-150s from the 1997 - 2004 model years; F-250s from the 1997 - 1999 model years; and the 2002 - 2003 Lincoln Blackwood.
As with similar recalls, this one is limited to vehicles originally sold or currently registered in particular areas of the U.S. -- namely Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. In other parts of the country, fuel tank straps should hold up just fine.
Ford says that it will begin sending notifications about the recall no later than September 12. At that time, owners will be able to take their trucks to a Ford or Lincoln dealer, who will replace the current straps with ones offering greater protection against corrosion.
Recalls like this can be more than a little confusing, so if you have questions, we encourage you to contact your local dealer, or call Ford at 866-436-7332 and reference recall campaign #11S21. Alternately, you can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 and ask about NHTSA recall campaign #11V385000.