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Ford recalls Falcons and Territorys for ignition fault

Ford Territory SZ

The Federal Government's recall website has urged drivers of certain Ford Falcons and Territorys to not adjust their steering wheel in case it causes the engine to shut down.

Ford is recalling almost a year's worth of Falcon sedans and utes and Territory SUVs because the ignition can fail, causing the engine to stall, disabling critical electrical functions such as airbags.

The Federal Government's recall website issued a safety bulletin overnight, saying there were 17,875 potentially affected vehicles made from 12 November 2013 to 13 October 2014.

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The notice warns owners of affected Ford Falcon sedans and utes and Territory SUVs to not adjust the position of the steering wheel in case it triggers the fault.

"Until the safety recall service is completed it is recommended that the steering column 'tilt' or 'reach' positions are not adjusted as this may reduce the engagement of the electrical connector," says the bulletin on recalls.gov.au.

"If the connector disengages while driving, the engine will stall, electrical functions will be lost, and the vehicle will be unable to be re-started. This poses a potential accident hazard to the driver and other road users," the notice continued.

The Ford ignition fault appears to be different from the ignition switch-related defects that last year saw General Motors issue 10 recalls in the US last year which eventually added up to more than 16.5 million vehicles.

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The General Motors ignition switch defects, which have so far been linked to 42 deaths, have made the entire car industry more alert to the possible consequences of ignition switch failure.

In the case of General Motors, the ignition faults varied from defective switches, keys that slipped out of position, or keys that could be easily bumped to switch off the engine unintentionally.

In the case of the Broadmeadows-made Ford vehicles, however, it appears to be the ignition switch connector that is the fault, rather than the ignition barrel.

"On some vehicles there is potential for the ignition switch electrical connector to disengage," says the recalls.gov.au website.

News Corp Australia has asked Ford if there were any crashes or injuries reported as a result of the ignition fault, and how many faulty devices were found before the safety bulletin was issued.

We will update the story as soon as more information becomes available.

In Australia last year there were 114 recall notices issued for about 1.1 million vehicles; in the first seven weeks of 2015 there have already been 17 vehicle recall notices.