The Ford F-150 has always been notable for its tendency to burst into flames, even when parked and unattended. And now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the things may also combust when rolling down the road.
The latest problem, it seems, is that the two straps which hold the gas tank in place are rusting, allowing the gas tanks to come loose and fall out on the road. This not only presents a hazard to those in the truck but also to vehicles that may be behind them, NHTSA notes.
The agency says about 1.4 million F-150s from the 1997-2001 model years are potentially affected. It has received 32 complaints from vehicle owners, including 28 cases in which the gas tank wound up dragging along the ground or detached completely.
One truck owner said he heard a dragging noise and found that both straps had rusted out, leaving the tank dangling from the fuel line.
It may not be only the F-150s that have the problem, though. ConsumerAffairs.com has heard from owners of other Ford models that experienced similar failures.
David of Hilton Head Island, S.C., said his 2005 Ford 500 sedan caught fire in 2007 while he was driving down I-95 to Florida. He said the fire started in the rear of the car and was first noticed when flames licked up through the back deck.
David and his three passengers got out safely but the car burned "quickly and completely." David said he suspected the gas tank straps were at fault but was not able to confirm it.
Ford recalled millions of F-150s and other models plagued by a faulty cruise control switch prone to overheating and starting a fire.