The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2002 Mercury Sable, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ03008

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting
    Exterior Lighting:Brake Lights
    Exterior Lighting:Brake Lights:Switch
    Exterior Lighting:Tail Lights
    Exterior Lighting:Tail Lights:Switch
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Switches:Brake Light

    Summary: Ford conducted a recall in March, 2001 to correct a defect affecting the brake light switch in MY 2000 through early-2001 Taurus and Sable vehicles equipped with power adjustable pedals (recall 01V-078).RQ03-008 was opened to investigate complaints concerning the remedy and scope of 01V-078.ODI's analysis identified concerns with post-repair failures in recalled vehicles, failures in MY 2001-02 vehicles with adjustable pedals that were not included in recall 01V-078, and failures in MY 2000 vehicles with fixed pedals.(note: The manufacturer failure data in this resume includes all crashes and injuries, but the complaint information is limited to MY 2001-02 vehicles that were not included in the scope of recall 01V-078.)on March 1, 2004, Ford notified NHTSA of a safety defect in MY 2000 through early-2003 Taurus and Sable vehicles equipped with adjustable pedals and MY 2000 subject vehicles equipped with fixed pedals (recall 04V-106).the notification identified three factors contributing to brake light circuit failures:(1) continuing grease contamination issues that prompted 01V-078; (2) misalignment of the booster rod pin and the brake light switch; and (3) wire assembly fatigue.the first two conditions were limited to vehicles with adjustable pedals and the latter condition affected vehicles with fixed pedals.Ford will instruct owners to bring their vehicles to a dealer to have the brake light switch and associated wiring replaced with a re-designed brake light switch and wiring assembly.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RP03001

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 31, 2003
    • Date Closed: March 23, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Pedals And Linkages

    Summary: Ms. Rodman reported that after her vehicle was inspected for the recall, her mother experienced a sudden acceleration and crashed the Sable into a light pole.previously NHTSA had conducted an investigation for this issue (PE02-035) that resulted in the recall (02V-266) of 369,000 MY 2000-2002 Taurus and Sable vehicles equipped with adjustable brake and accelerator pedals to insure that the separation between the pedals was at least 50mm..a review of ODI's database for complaints regarding recall 02V-266 did not identify any recall remedy complaints other than the petitioner's.Ms. Rodman's vehicle was inspected by ODI using Ford's special tool and her vehicle was found to exceed 50mm.also, the lateral movement of the pedals was found not to be excessive relative to other comparable Taurus and Sable vehicles.therefore, it is unlikely that NHTSA would issue an order requiring Ford to provide a different remedy for this view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.for additional information concerning this analysis, please refer to the federal register notice dated March 23, 2004 (vol 69, no 56, pages 13619-13620).

  3. INVESTIGATION: Front Suspension Coil Spring Fracture

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA08018

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 28, 2008
    • Date Closed: June 30, 2011
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Suspension:Front:Springs:Coil Springs

    Summary: To date, ODI is aware of 2,401 non-duplicative complaints related to the alleged defect. In addition, ODI is aware of 1,411 subject vehicles with one or more warranty claims related to the alleged defect. In total, ODI is aware of 3,645 unique subject vehicles that have experienced one or more front suspension coil spring fractures. ODI is also aware of four minor crashes related to the alleged defect resulting in one minor injury.With greater than eight years of exposure, a large subject vehicle population and approximately 2,052 reported front tire punctures caused by fractured coil springs (at all speeds), there have been no reported severe crashes, deaths or injuries related to the alleged defect. The real world consequences of these defective coil springs have been a small number of minor control problems that resulted in minor damage; suggesting that the effect of the defect on vehicle control is minor.A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will continue to monitor this issue and will take further action if warranted by the circumstances. See the EA08-018 Engineering Analysis Closing Report for more details.

  4. INVESTIGATION: Speed control cable damage

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE12033

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 24, 2012
    • Date Closed: June 26, 2013
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control
    Vehicle Speed Control:Cables
    Vehicle Speed Control:Cruise Control

    Summary: On June 21, 2013, Ford initiated Customer Satisfaction Program 13B04 to address a concern with Speed Control Cable damage in certain model year (MY) 2000 through 2003 Taurus and Sable vehicles equipped with 3.0L 4V Duratec engines and built at the Chicago assembly plant.In the dealer letter for the program, Ford indicates that the Speed Control Cables on affected vehicles may be susceptible to damage or becoming partially disconnected during under hood vehicle maintenance (e.g., replacing a battery or changing the air filter) and that a damaged Speed Control Cable could interfere with the throttle's full return to idle when the accelerator pedal is released.Ford's program instructs dealers to inspect the Speed Control Cables and replace any with any portion of either collar retention tab missing.Dealers will install a Collar Reinforcement Clip at the Speed Control Cable collar in all vehicles. Figure 1 shows the location of the Speed Control Cable in the engine compartment and the proximity of the battery and air filter.The failure mode of the cable assembly is associated with the plastic collar used to secure the cable to a bracket near the throttle body (Figure 2).Damage to one or both retention tabs used to secure the cable ferrule within the collar may allow the ferrule to become disconnected from the collar when the throttle is opened during accelerator pedal application.Additional examples of Speed Control Cables with damaged collar retention tabs and partial ferrule displacement are shown in Figures 3 through 5.If the displacement pulls the ferrule completely out of the collar, the ferrule end may contact the face of the collar when the accelerator pedal is released and the throttle is returning to idle (Figure 6).This results in a throttle stuck at approximately 26-29% open.Testing conducted at NHTSA's Vehicle Research and Test Center found that brake booster vacuum may become depleted, resulting in reduced brake effectiveness, if the brake is applied repeatedly when the throttle is stuck at this position.Drivers who experienced this condition have reported being surprised that the engine speed did not drop as expected and in some cases misjudged the degree of braking required to slow the vehicle.Some drivers reported difficulty in braking the vehicle and responded by shifting to neutral or turning the engine off.One minor crash occurred when the vehicle contacted a roadside fence post after the driver responded to the stuck throttle by shifting the car to neutral, turning the engine off and coasting to the side of a roadway with no shoulder, resulting in approximately $400 damage to the vehicle.There were four crashes reported which were attributed to increased stopping distance caused by the increased engine power and/or reduced brake effectiveness, including two of the complaints to ODI.In one crash reported to ODI (VOQ 10516101), the subject vehicle allegedly hit the back end of a truck at approximately 40 mph causing about $2000 damage.In the other crash complaint to ODI (VOQ 10501834), the subject vehicle side-swiped a vehicle as the driver was unable to stop in time and attempted to maneuver around a line of vehicles stopped at a traffic light.When the tow truck driver subsequently started the incident vehicle, the engine was still racing and it was verified that the Speed Control Cable ferrule was stuck on the collar.After further investigation, ODI does not consider the crashes reported in VOQs 10456249 and 10159399 to be related to the Speed Control Cable problem.