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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether 310,000 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable vehicles should be recalled. NHTSA announced that its investigation was prompted by about 50 complaints from owners reporting unintended accelerations that resulted from the throttles sticking.

If determined necessary by the NHTSA, the recall would specifically affect Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable models from the 2000 through 2003 model years, installed with the 3-liter or 4-valve Duratec V-6 engine. Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable models installed with the 2-valve version use a different design than the affected models and have been deemed free of this defect.

NHTSA suspects that a fractured speed-control cable collar could result in vehicles’ throttles being held open. One owner reported that his vehicle continued to accelerate uphill, even after he removed his foot from the gas pedal. He was forced to alleviate the speed by shifting the vehicle into neutral and braking once he was level ground. Upon restarting his vehicle, the engine immediately revved to over 6,000 RPM, which was accompanied by the appearance of the transaxle-warning icon on his dashboard. The mechanic consulted with after the incident was able to identify the problem immediately – broken plastic tabs had allowed the cruise control cable sheath to slip out of the throttle connector, holding the throttle open.

It is important that Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable owners are aware of this safety issue. Owners should contact their local Ford or Mercury dealership if they have experienced this issue so that they can get the necessary repairs.