A busted bushing is to blame.
Cars share a variety of components that you may not necessarily expect, which is why a single part failure can end up creating a recall that spans a wide swath of models, as is the case with Ford's latest recall.
Ford this week issued a recall for approximately 3 million vehicles. The vehicles do not have a specific set of build dates, and they include sedans, SUVs and vans. Here's the rundown of all five affected models:
According to recall documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), the issue stems from a shift bushing, which is a vehicle component that connects the shift lever's cable to the transmission, allowing the lever to change gears. Heat and humidity may cause the bushing material to deteriorate, at which point the transmission may not be in the gear the driver desires. In the event the vehicle is shifted to Park, it may not actually be in Park, which could lead to a rollaway if the driver then leaves the vehicle. Furthermore, if the vehicle is turned off when it's not actually in Park, it may not be able to restart.
In the NHTSA documents, Ford says that it's aware of six reports of property damage potentially related to this shift bushing issue, in addition to four reports alleging injury. Furthermore, the automaker has found 1,630 warranty claims that it attributes to this issue.
Fixing the problem is relatively straightforward. Owners will take their vehicles to their local dealership, and technicians will replace the affected bushing with an improved version that is better engineered to withstand heat. The techs will also add a cap over the bushing to prevent contaminants from possibly causing the issue again. Owners will be notified via first-class mail starting in late June.