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Unintended acceleration is back

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted: 9 am ET

The issue of unintended acceleration has hit the news again and this time it has nothing to do with Toyota cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has begun a preliminary evaluation of the Ford Taurus, 2001-2006, and the Mercury Sable, 2001-2004, after receiving 14 complaints from owners of the cars unexpectedly accelerating.

NHTSA says that the problem may be the result of a problem with the cruise control cable that becomes loose over time and causes the throttle to remain open even when the driver is not applying the gas. Several dealers who repaired the issue in customers' cars noted finding a loose cruise control cable and reported it to the agency in 2010. Ford said it is currently investigating how many dealers have received complaints.

While there are no reports of car accidents, the complaints logged indicate that drivers sometimes had trouble stopping the car with the brakes and that some drivers' cars ran red lights and that the drivers had to shift into neutral or turn off the engine to bring the car to a stop. Some drivers reported that their cars' engines were revving as high as 4,000 rpm after shifting into neutral or park.

The Preliminary Evaluation is the agency's first step in determining if a recall is necessary. If a recall is issued, about 1.9 million Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable cars will be affected.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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