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Ford recalls 16,000 Ranger utes

3000 replacement towbars had already been shipped to dealers.

Faulty welding on towbars has forced Ford Australia to recall more than 16,000 Ranger utes.

Although no accidents have been reported, there is the potential for the vehicle to lose its trailer when towing. The recall applies to 16,287 Rangers built in Thailand from September 2006 to June last year.

The recall notice stated: “Fracturing of the towbar tongue welding can affect safe operation and handling when an affected vehicle is towing, presenting a potential traffic hazard to the driver and/or other road users”. A Ford spokesman said the fault originated in the company’s Thailand production plant.

The company has written to owners of PJ and PK Ranger XLT and Wildtrak models advising them not to tow with the vehicles and to contact their nearest dealer to have the unit replaced. All of the 4244 PJ vehicles affected are XLT models; while around 1200 of the 11,812 newer PK models are the top-range Wildtrak version, with the rest XLTs.

The recall does not apply to the PX Ranger now on sale. Ford Australia spokesman Neil McDonald said that 3000 replacement towbars had already been shipped to dealers and more stock was arriving at a rate of 600 a week.

At that rate it will take 22 weeks to replace all of the faulty towbars. “It’s only an issue if you are using the vehicle to tow, it is safe to continue driving normally,” he said. “A Queensland customer noticed a crack in the weld and our engineering department has verified it is an issue on those vehicles.

“It’s a half-day fix to replace the towbar assembly - the rear step bumper isn’t affected.” Ranger owners who are unsure if the recall applies to them should call Ford on 1800 503 627.