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Auto Defect May Cause Sudden Acceleration In Tribute, Escape

The Mazda Tribute and the Ford Escape are twin models, according to Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety. They come off the same assembly line, according to Ditlow, and suffer from the same auto defect - a problem with the accelerator cables that can open the throttles of both resulting in sudden, uncontrolled acceleration.

Both Ford and Mazda have recalled the 2002-2004 Escape and the 2002-2004 Tribute because of the accelerator problem and several thousands of vehicles have been fixed. But, they may have been 'fixed' incorrectly as both companies issued subsequent instructions to dealers on how to fix auto defect the right way and how it can easily be done the wrong way, resulting in no fix at all.

Ford issued its update in 2005; Mazda just recently issued its own. Over 100,000 Mazda Tributes were 'fixed' prior to the updated repair directions. Mazda is currently studying whether the owners of the 'fixed' Tributes need to be notified of the change in repair protocol.

The Center for Auto Safety doesn't think Mazda is going far enough to protect consumers who own the affected Tributes and has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to review whether the auto manufacturer met its obligation to correct known defects and provide proper notification to owners.

Earlier this year, a teen driver in Arizona was killed when her Ford Escape accelerated out of control. An investigation into the crash revealed that the Escape had not been fixed according to the updated procedures issued by Ford related to the acceleration cables. It had been 'fixed' according to the first notice, which left the Escape with a damaged speed control cable - precisely the reason for the subsequent direction on properly fixing the auto defect.

Source: ABC Action News, "Second major automaker takes action after ABC15 investigation into deadly Arizona crash," Joe Ducey and Lauren Gilger, July 16, 2012

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