Around 63,000 units of 2004 Ford Motor Co. minivans are subject to the investigation of U.S. safety regulators that will identify whether a flaw is causing severe rust in the back wheel wells. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has notified the public regarding the probe through its website.
The initial examination will involve the 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans used in states where salt is used on roads during the winter.
Seven complaints have been filed with NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation regarding the severe rusting in the rear wheel well. In few cases, the corrosion has compromised anchor mounts which hold down the third row of seats, leading to the detachment of the mounts. Ford spokesperson Dan Pierce said that the company will "fully cooperate" with the government in reviewing the issue throughout the probe.
NHTSA has also opened another probe on December 14 that involves 17,165 units of 2003 Chevrolet Express vans, examining possible rust problems with the fuel pipe. This investigation will also be focused on models sold and utilized in states where road salt is used.
NHTSA had received five complaints regarding the rusting of fuel pipe and leaking of fuel due to water and debris collecting between the pipe and its protective tubing. This poses a fire hazard, according to NHTSA's summary of the investigation. GM spokesperson Alan Adler said that the company is cooperating with NHTSA.