TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. >> Ford Motor Co. is recalling 1.1 million pickup trucks because the gas tanks can fall off and cause fires.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday on its website that the metal straps holding the tanks can rust, allowing them to fall, rupture and catch fire.
The defect has been blamed for eight fires, three of which spread to the rest of the truck. One person was injured, suffering first- and second-degree burns, Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said.
The recall affects certain 1997 through 2004 Ford F-150 models, as well as some 1997 through 1999 model year F-250 pickups. Also affected are Lincoln Blackwood pickups from the 2002 and 2003 model years. They were sold in cold-weather states where salt is used to clear roads. The salt corroded straps holding the tanks and they broke, NHTSA said.
The trucks were originally sold or are now registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
Sherwood said the company will notify owners in September to bring their trucks to dealers who will replace the straps with new ones that are coated to resist corrosion. Parts to fix the problem, he said, won’t be widely available until then.
People with questions should contact their dealer, who can install a cable to hold the tanks in place until the replacement straps arrive, Sherwood said.