Door Latch Fails and Door Flies Open

Sometimes closed, sometimes open, always frustrating

I wouldn't blame you if you didn't give much thought to your door latch. It's not the most exciting part of your car, but when it breaks it can drive you insane. And there's a lot of Ford and Lincoln owners going insane.

Why in the name of Henry Ford Won’t My Door Stay Closed?

Door latch complaints are a common problem according to Ford owners on [] and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In fact, NHTSA received so many complaints that they opened an investigation into door latch failures back in September, 2014. The original investigation focused on the 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta. It was later expanded to include the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, which use the same door latch system.

In August 2016, Ford announced they were going to recall 830,000 vehicles to keep their doors shut. More on that in a bit.

An A-pawl-ing Problem

The issue can be traced to the door latch pawl spring, which is a coil-shaped device that brings a door handle back to its original position. The pawl springs in certain Ford vehicles is known to be defective and break.

When the pawl spring gives out, the door may never fully latch and that means:

  1. The door could swing open while driving down the road and hit another object, or vehicle. Ford confirms at least one case of this happening.
  2. When the door is closed from the outside with force, the door could bounce back and strike the person. Ford confirmed this happened in two claims.
  3. An occupant could lean on the door from the inside and fall out of a moving vehicle. Of course, if they have their seat belt on that won’t happen … and you always have your seat belt on, right?

Changing Focus

The 2012-2013 Ford Focus has a similar issue with doors not latching, but was not part of the original investigation or recall. That’s because the latch system, while similar, was made by a different company.

In January, 2016, NHTSA opened a separate investigation into 400,000 Focus vehicles from the 2012-2013 model years. At the same time, automotive defect attorneys, Girrard Gibbs, are seeking input from owners who have experienced this problem.

Owners on Edge

Bad puns aside, the problem doesn’t stop there. Other Ford vehicles not under investigation, like the 2011 Edge, have growing complaints abut door latch issues.have been complaining about similar issues.

On there are 40 reports from 2011 Edge owners about a “Door Ajar Light Staying On.”

“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.”

Ford Door Latch Recalls

NHTSA only forces recalls in the event of a widespread safety issue. Doors opening while driving down the road? Yep, that qualifies. So far there have been 3 recalls:

  1. April 2015: Ford recalled 390,000 cars after 658 door latch complaints. The affected model years were the 2012-2014 Ford Fiesta, 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ.
  2. May 2015: The recall was expanded bring the total number of recalled vehicles to 546,000. The expansion included the 2011-14 Ford Fiesta, 2013-14 Ford Fusion and 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ vehicles.
  3. August 2016: Following investigations and increased pressure from consumers, websites, and lawyers, Ford recalled an additional 830,000 vehicles in North America. Those vehicles include the 2013-2015 Ford C-MAX, 2013-2015 Ford Escape, 2012-2015 Ford Focus, 2015 Lincoln MKC, 2015 Ford Mustang, 2014-2016 Ford Transit Connect.

An Updated List

Make Model Years Notes
Ford C-Max 2013-2015 Sold or registered in certain states*
  Escape 2013-2015 Sold or registered in certain states*
  Fiesta 2011-2014 Built 11/03/2009 to 05/31/2013 at Cuautitlán Assembly Plant
  Focus 2012-2015 Sold or registered in certain states*
  Fusion 2013-2014 Built 2/01/2012 to 05/31/2013 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant
      Built 04/12/2013 to 04/26/2013 at Flat Rock Assembly Plan
  Mustang 2015 Sold or registered in certain states*
  Transit Connect 2014-2016 Sold or registered in certain states*
Lincoln MKC 2015 Sold or registered in certain states*
  MKZ 2013-2014 Built 02/01/2012 to 05/31/2013 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant

* States include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Oregon and Washington.

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 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.

  1. Step 1: File Your Complaint at 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

Share Your Complaint

Add Your Complaint

Join thousands of frustrated car owners who have voiced their opinion and notified other consumers of issues at

Ford Customer Relationship Center

P.O. Box 6248 Dearborn MI 48126