WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Administration is investigating whether the spare tire cable winches on 1,243,291 Ford Explorers, model years 1991-94, are failing while the vehicles are in operation. NHTSA has received 18 complaints from motorists who said the spares fell from the vehicles' underbodies during trips. Ford has not reported any similar complaints regarding the Explorers.
Last year, the agency absolved Ford of charges that it had damaged the spares on 479,226 F-150 pickup trucks by cinching them too tightly to the underbodies. But Continental General Tire Co., one of the makers of the tires, recommended Ford redesign the spare tire holders to prevent indentations in the sidewalls.
Also, NHTSA has an ongoing engineering analysis of 2.28 million 1991-96 General Motors Corp. S-10 pickups. The agency has received 171 complaints about alleged failure of the wire cables holding the spare tires to the trucks.