Ford owners are dealing with a door ajar warning lights that won’t shut off. 2011-2013 Ford Edge owners, in particular, are having this problem in record numbers. The problem happens just outside the car’s standard warranty and has prompted a federal investigation.
While it starts intermittently, the “door ajar” light is coming on – and staying on – for Ford owners, even when their doors are certainly closed. Over time there is no amount of door slamming that can get that always-on, retina-burning, constant-reminder-of-your-decision-to-buy-a-Ford to shut off.
It’s most likely an electrical issue related to the switch inside the latch mechanism. While the door will mechanically latch, issues with the switch make the door appear to be open to the car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
Door Open? Closed? Who Really Knows at this Point
Edge owners have been complaining about it in record numbers, often recording three spots on the Trending Complaints list on CarComplaints.com.
And as luck would have it, the problem usually doesn’t start happening until around 50,000 miles. Well beyond the car’s 3 year standard warranty. That means owners can expect to pay for repairs.
Beyond the Dashboard
While a warning light is annoying, the the “door ajar” issue is much deeper that that. If the car’s computer thinks the door is open, it might also:
- Leave the interior dome lights on which can lead to the battery draining over night.
- Refuse to lock the doors when the vehicle is in motion. A safety concern for anyone, but especially those owners with kids.
- The key fob won’t be able to lock the doors when you leave the car parked. Hello, thieves!
“This is a big safety issue, and if my wife’s car door does not stay locked during an accident or because all the dome lights come on when trying to drive at night and causes an accident. I will sue Ford for not having a reasonable recall. This is the biggest issue with the 2011 Ford Edge.”
A Federal Investigation
From David Woods of CarComplaints.com:
“In addition to the safety hazards caused by the lights, owners say they have been forced to pay hundreds of dollars to fix problems those owners believe should be fixed under a Ford recall. However, one Edge owner said she was told by Ford the vehicles hadn’t been recalled because there hadn’t been enough complaints.
Finding a Fix
Repairing the problem can reportedly cost anywhere between $250 and $500 to fix, why such a big discrepancy? Well, it depends.
The “Cleaning” Solution
Ford provided its dealers with an “Essential Special Service Tool (ESST)” for the electrical switch inside the door latch. The tool uses a mild electrical current to burn off any junk on the switch’s contacts. Mechanics will then manually cycle the door tumbler with another tool from open to closed (multiple times) and test the switch contacts.and back to open.
The average bill for this process is around $250.
When That Stops Working
Most owners report that the cleaning service only works for a while. Then it’s back to the dealership.
At that point, they might give you the option to replace the whole module. That costs closer to $500.
If They Say They Can’t Replicate the Problem
If the service technician at your local dealership says “they’ve never heard of this before” and want to run a diagnostics, my recommendation is to skip it. Point out the thousands of complaints online and, if they still insist on diagnostics, bring it to another dealership.
Technical Service Bulletin (TSB 14-0011)
On May 5th, 2014, Ford released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) related to the “door ajar” light (NHTSA reference ID 10054930). It outlines the steps a service mechanic should go through and how long it should take (under 2 hours on average).
The TSB also lists these vehicles (built on or before 07/15/2013) as having this problem: