Both Ford and Audi are having issues with fuel tanks — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Ford’s F-150 pickups from 1997 to 2001 for a possible corrosion of the straps holding the fuel tank in place under the vehicle; Audi has just issued a recall for the possible corrosion within the fuel tank on V-8-equipped 2001 to 2004 A6, S6, and RS6 vehicles. NHTSA is also looking into a possible recall of the 2004 to 2004 Mini Cooper over loss of power steering that could encompass 60,000 vehicles.
1997 to 2001 Ford F-150
The Problem: NHTSA has expanded its investigation of the 1997 to 2001 Ford F-150 pickup to 2.7 million of the trucks for a possible corrosion of the steel straps supporting the fuel tank. If the straps corrode, it could cause the fuel tank to fall and potentially drag on the ground and crack. The damaged tanks may spill fuel, and the dragging tanks could spark and cause a vehicle fire. There have been around 300 complaints on the issue, with 95 complainants reporting fuel leakage and nine of them reporting sparks from the dragging tank.
The Fix: NHTA and Ford have not yet officially recalled the trucks, and are investigating to see if a recall is needed and what the fix would be.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 2.7 million 1997 to 2001 Ford F-150s.
2001 to 2004 Audi A6, 2002 to 2003 S6, 2003 RS6
The Problem: Audi is recalling some A6, S6, and RS6 models equipped with the 4.2-liter V-8 engine for a potential fuel leak. The aging of the plastic material in the fuel tank rollover valve combine with stress from the aluminum ventilation line could cause the rollover valve nipple to crack, and cause a fuel leak. The leaking fuel could potentially cause a vehicle fire on ignition.
The Fix: Owners will be notified starting in June 2011, and can contact Audi at 1-800-822-2834 concerning Volkswagen Safety Recall No. 20L8/JY. Dealers will reinforce the rollover valve nipple to prevent leakage or repair any that have already cracked.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 5,992 of the 2001 to 2004 Audi A6, 2002 to 2003 S6, and 2003 RS6 models with the 4.2-liter V-8 engine manufactured between June 19, 2001 and June 8, 2004.
2004 to 2005 Mini Cooper and Cooper S
The Problem: Drivers have reported an unexpected loss of power steering while driving. The power steering failure has also been linked to three small, vehicle fires described as “melting wires” and five minor crashes. Of the 5027 reports of power steering failure, 2800 were from drivers of 2004 Cooper and Cooper S models.
The Fix: NHSTA has not yet officially issued a recall yet, and are investigating to see if a recall is needed and what the fix would be; BMW said in December that it felt this was a quality and customer satisfaction issue, and that a recall would not be needed.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 60,000 2004 to 2005 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models.