WASHINGTON (May 25, 2000)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded its investigation of alleged spare tire winch failure on 1991-94 Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicles.
The investigation is now an engineering analysis, one step up from the preliminary evaluation begun last Nov. 30.
Ford solved the problem in May 1994 when, after durability testing, it changed the winch from a galvanized steel cable to a four-millimeter stainless steel cable, according to the agency. However, approximately 1.3 million Explorers with the old galvanized cable remain on the road.
NHTSA knows of 106 incidents in which motorists complained that the galvanized cable failed, causing the spare tire to drop from its rear storage well. "One of these incidents caused a following vehicle to be involved in a collision, and on six other occasions the wheel made contact with following vehicles, resulting in property damage," the agency said.