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Ford Escape on NHTSA December 2003 Recall List

Ford Motor Company
Models:     Ford Escape                   Year:      2001
Number Potentially Involved:  132,243
Dates of Manufacture:  October 1999 – May 2001
Defect:  On certain sport utility vehicles, a post within the safety belt buckle covers could fracture, which could affect latch function, resulting in either a "no latch" or "partial latch" condition. In the "partial latch" condition, the buckle tongue can be inserted into the buckle and appear to be engaged, but will release from the buckle without the push button being depressed when a relatively low load is applied, such as when an occupant moves slightly in the seat. In the event of a crash, the seat occupant may not be properly restrained, increasing the risk of injury.
Remedy:  Dealers will have the driver and front passenger safety belt buckle cover removed and replaced with a newly designed service buckle cover. The manufacturer has reported that owner notification began on February 2, 2004. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673.

[NHTSA Recall No. 03V507/Ford Recall No. 03S10]