Ford has recalled nearly 400,000 vehicles that were made at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch, as well as 82,500 floor mats in another locally manufactured car.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker issued safety recalls for Explorers and Tauruses that were built over the last few years in the sprawling Torrence Avenue factory. The Explorers have a steering gear defect that could result in crashes, and the Tauruses have a license plate lamp issue that could result in a fire.
A flurry of recalls have taken place across the industry this year, after GM's faulty ignition switches were tied to at least 13 deaths. Automakers have been on pace to beat the record 31,000 recalls that took place in 2004, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
"They've been recalling cars across the board," said Tim Roper, owner of Smith Chevrolet. "Automakers are getting out there and ahead of it, to stem any problems they might have."
Ford is recalling 195,527 Explorers from the 2011-2013 model years in North America because of a potentially intermittent electrical connection in the steering gear that could cause electric power steering assist to shut off. The steering system would then revert to a manual steering mode, which makes the car harder to steer and could result in an increased risk of crashes.
A chime and message in the instrument cluster warn drivers of the loss of steering assist. Drivers can take the Explorers into a dealer who will either replace the steering gear or update software for the power steering control module, depending on the diagnostic code.
The automaker also is recalling 196,639 Tauruses because of corrosion that can take place in the license plate lamp. If exposed to too much road salt, a salt-water mixture can get into and short-circuit the lamp, which can cause fires.
Dealers will replace the license plate lamp assembly at no cost.
Additional recalls included 915,216 Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners with potential steering assist issues, and 82,500 floor mats from the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr, and Lincoln MKZ.
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