Recall for Defective Lighting Control Modules (LCMs) in Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis
Consumers reported that the Lighting Control Module (LCM) in their vehicles fail, causing a complete loss of headlights
In direct response to a defect petition submitted by the North Carolina Consumers Council (NCCC) in October 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a defect investigation into about 517,945 model year 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles. These vehicles may suddenly lose headlights.
What Prompted the Petition?
NCCC sent a defect petition letter to NHTSA on October 2, 2014. We cited a consumer complaint involving a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis that was diagnosed by a Ford dealer as having a failed Lighting Control Module (LCM). This failure was similar to failures experienced years earlier on many Crown Victoria vehicles equipped with a police or taxi package. Those vehicles were later recalled for defect solder joints inside the Lighting Control Module that caused the headlights to turn off unexpectedly.
Lighting Control Module (LCM) Extended Warranty Didn't Help
After the recall for the vehicles with the police and taxi packages, Ford extended the warranty for the rest of the vehicles to 15 years or 250,000 miles, whichever comes first. The vehicle that was the subject of the complaint, however, was not repaired despite being within the terms of the extended warranty coverage. The Ford dealer advised NCCC that the Lighting Control Module was on national backorder. At the time of the complaint, the vehicle had been without functioning headlights for more than four months.
Vehicles Previously Deemed Safe
The vehicles in question were previously investigated by NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) for the exact same issue. That investigation was opened on November 26, 2008 and closed on March 24, 2009 with no recall mandate issued. The investigation was closed with no finding of a safety defect.
Complaints were rising
At the time of our defect petition, there were more than 600 consumer complaints filed with NHTSA specifically pertaining to this issue. Seven of those reports cited vehicle crashes linked to sudden headlight failure.
Ford and Its Dealers Can't Get Parts
In our complaint, neither the Ford dealership personnel nor the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center representatives were able to assist owners with repairs or advise them as to when replacement parts would be available. Some consumers reported that dealers advised them to purchase aftermarket parts despite the problem being covered by an extended warranty. Those same consumers reported that aftermarket parts were not available.
Petition is Granted
In a letter to NCCC dated August 11, 2015, Acting Director of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) Otto Matheke stated that "NHTSA has conducted a review of the petition and other pertinent information and has decided to grant the petition."
A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened by ODI to investigate the scope, frequency and potential consequences of the alleged defect. According to ODI's opening resume for the investigation, an estimated 517,945 model year 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles could be impacted.
Thousands of Complaints
The opening resume also references a total of 3,609 consumer complaints submitted to both NHTSA and Ford regarding sudden failures of the headlights relating to the Lighting Control Module, including 15 vehicle crashes due to loss of headlights and other exterior lighting.
Safety Recall Issued
On December 22, 2015, Ford agreed with NHTSA to conduct a recall of about 313,000 model year 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles to replace the Lighting Control Module. The solder joints on the Lighting Control Module could crack and interrupt power to the headlamps, increasing the risk of crash at night. Ford is aware of 11 crashes and one minor injury related to this defect.
The Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles included in this recall were built at Ford's St. Thomas Assembly Plant from October 3, 2001 through August 2, 2005. Ford dealers will replace the defective Lighting Control Module on all affected vehicles at no cost to the customer.
Customers with questions about this recall should contact Ford Customer Service toll-free at 800-392-3673.