What is happening to Ford’s doors?
Either they fly open when you think they’re shut or they say they’re open even when they’re really not.
We’ll call that second one the “door ajar” nightmare, and it’s haunting thousands of 2011–2013 Ford Edge owners.
Door Open? Closed? Who Really Knows at this Point
Edge, Flex, and Explorer owners are reporting their “door ajar” light comes on in record numbers. The problem is especially bad in early 1st generation Edge CUVs were complaints occupy 3 of the top 20 trending complaints on CarComplaints.com – for the 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years.
Fun side note: The problem usually doesn’t first occur until after 50,000 miles which is – you guessed it – beyond Ford’s 3 year / 36,000 mile basic warranty.
Most owners say it’s intermittent at first. But over time no amount of door slamming can get that always-on, retina-burning, constant-reminder-of-your-decision-to-buy-a-Ford to shut off.
The Root Cause of the “Door Ajar” Light
The door ajar light is most likely an electrical issue related to a switch inside the latch mechanism. The door will mechanically “latch” but issues with the switch make it appear to still be open to the car’s electronic control units.
Beyond the Dashboard
While a warning light is annoying, the the “door ajar” issue is much deeper that that. When the light is on you can assume the car’s computer thinks the door is open, and if that’s the case:
- The interior dome lights won’t shut off (unless you manually do it). This can lead to the battery draining over night.
- The doors won’t lock when the vehicle is in motion. A safety concern for owners with kids.
- You can’t 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
"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.
Not enough complaints? First off, in what world? And second, if it’s complaints they want you can help with that here.
Finding a Fix
Repairing the problem can reportedly cost anywhere between $250 and $500 to fix, and we’ve figured out the reason for that discrepancy.
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.
Or, You Could Try This
Some say the easiest thing to do is just replace the latch yourself. You can take a look at what that involves here. Spoiler alert: it's a lot!
You're going to need special tools, tape, a lot of time, some serious confidence, and a little bit of luck.
As always, our suggestion? Find a mechanic (or a mechanically inclined friend) to ask for advice.
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:
|: Make||: Model||: Years|
Actions You Can Take
This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.
Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint
Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS
Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA