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Ford recall: 1 million older pickups could have faulty fuel tank straps

Ford recall for trucks comes over worries that corrosion problems with fuel tank straps could cause the cars to catch on fire. The Ford recall will affect 1.22 million trucks registered in 21 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

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In this June 10, 2003 file photo, the first of Ford's 2004 F-150 trucks waits to roll off the assembly line at the Norfolk, Va., assembly plant. Ford is recalling more than a million pickups trucks because their gas tanks can fall off and cause fires. The Ford recall involves certain 1997 through 2004 Ford F-150 models, as well as some 1997 through 1999 model year F-250 pickups. Also affected are Lincoln Blackwood pickups from the 2002 and 2003 model years.

Gary C. Knapp / AP / File

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Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 1 million pickup trucks, including the popular F-150, in the United States because corrosion problems can cause the vehicles to catch fire.

Straps that hold the fuel tanks to the truck can corrode after heavy use, potentially leading to fires if the tank drops and leaks, Ford said Monday. The problem has caused one injury and three vehicle fires that Ford is aware of, the company said.

The recall affects 1.22 million older trucks sold or registered in 21 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. The vehicles are in cold regions where corrosion from road salt occurs more frequently.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker plans to notify affected owners in mid-September and will repair the trucks for free. Models affected are the 1997 to 2003 Ford F-150; the 2004 F-150 Heritage; the 1997 to 1999 F-250; and the 2002 to 2003 Lincoln Blackwood.

Monday's announcement follows another major recall involving Ford's F-Series truck, which has been one of the bestselling vehicles in America for decades.

In April, Ford expanded a recall of F-150 pickups to about 1.2 million vehicles because front-seat airbags could inflate without the vehicle being involved in a crash.

Jesse Toprak, a TrueCar.com analyst, said Ford was "owning" the recall announced Monday, and added that manufacturers are becoming more proactive in handling recalls because Toyota — once praised for its quality — has faced harsh criticism for its handling of recent problems with sudden acceleration.

Although fixing 1.22 million vehicles will hurt Ford's bottom line, Toprak said, the brand may escape damage because the recall only affects older models.

"This was the pre-recession Ford that was concentrating more on volume than quality," Toprak said.


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