Ford Latches Fail and Doors Fly Open

Sometimes open, sometimes closed, 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.

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 CarComplaints.com and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.

In fact, NHTSA received so many complaints that they opened an investigation looking into door latch failures in the 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta. A bit later 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. It was later expanded to 2.3 million. More on that in a bit.

An A-pawl-ing Problem

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

When the pawl spring gives out, the door may never fully latch. 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?

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 4 recalls (or 2 recalls and 2 expansions if the semantics police are asking around).

  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.
  4. September 2016: NHTSA, unhappy with Ford’s offer to include others with a “customer satisfaction program”, compels Ford to expand the recall to all areas, involving 2.3 million vehicles.

The most recent recalled vehicles include:

  • 2013-2015 Ford C-MAX
  • 2013-2015 Ford Escape
  • 2012-2015 Ford Focus
  • 2015 Ford Mustang
  • 2015 Lincoln MKC
  • 2014-2016 Ford Transit Connect

Owners on Edge

Bad puns aside, the problem doesn’t stop with the recalls. Other Ford vehicles like the 2011 Edge, which were never under investigation, have a growing number of complaints abut door latch issues.

“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.”


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.

  1. 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

  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 CarComplaints.com.

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Ford Customer Relationship Center

P.O. Box 6248 Dearborn MI 48126