Despite being based in Michigan, it appears that Ford did not get the memo that during winter, northern states coat their roadways with salt to melt the snow and ice. If Ford had known this carefully hidden secret of "northern culture," they would not need to recall 110,000 2009-2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX cars, which appear to have fuel tank welds that corrode when exposed to salt slush, potentially resulting in a fuel leak that could catch fire.
Put simply, the salty slush of winter snow gets on a weld seam on the gas tank and eats away at it. When enough of it is eaten away, you've got a fuel leak. Should that fuel come into an ignition source, you have a fire. Naturally, salted slush on the roadways are something unforeseen in a state (Michigan) that gets almost 4 feet of snow every year.
Who makes this product?
Ford Motor Company.
Which products are affected?
The recall affects 110.636 2009-2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKXs manufactured between September 11, 2008 and July 1, 2010. It applies only to vehicles originally sold in, or currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
How widespread is the problem?
Just take a look at the states that are listed above and you can see that it is a pretty wide ranging problem. While the number of cars is not extraordinarily high, it does seem to affect people over a large part of the country. At this time there are also no reports of injuries, fatalities, or lawsuits.
What can be done about it?
Ford is in the process of notifying owners who are affected by the recall. If you have questions you can call Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Starting December 14th, Ford will be implementing the recall by either cleaning and treating the weld area or replacing the fuel tank.
What this means.
Without beating the "How does a car company headquartered in Michigan not account for winter?" thing to death, this story is pretty insane. Folks in Texas would not believe the lines at car washes in the days after the snow from a big storm has melted. Why? Because everyone is getting that darn salty sludge off their car before it eats away at the body.
We have all seen pictures of ocean ship wrecks, or even fishing vessels on the million Discovery channel shows that follow fishing boats around. We know intuitively just how nasty salt water is for metal, or nearly any of the components in a modern vehicle. I would imagine that those on the Ford design team see the same thing when they turn on their televisions. It boggles my mind then, how they could overlook to need to make a weld on a gas tank seam resist salt water corrosion?
The silver lining is that there have not been any fires or injuries reported because of this problem. As always, we caution that this does not mean that fires or injuries have not occurred, since if people are unaware that a manufacturing defect exists, it usually takes much longer to connect the dots with potential problems. Hopefully, this problem will be fixed before the winter driving season and the danger will pass without incident. Either way, I imagine the folks at Ford may look upon the weather with a new set of eyes this winter, when snow starts to fall and the salt hits the roads.