Ford Minivan Jack Defect Probed by U.S. Following Accidents

Ford Motor Co.’s Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans are being investigated in the U.S. following a death and three injuries related to the service jacks that are supplied with the vehicles.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the probe of 205,661 minivans from model years 2004 and 2005 today on its website.

The regulator said it received five consumer complaints and one report from the automaker, based in Dearborn, Michigan, about the failure of jacks at their slotted hinges. Reports said jacks “can suddenly fail while in use and cause the vehicle to suddenly fall,” the agency said.

Ford will fully cooperate with the government as the matter is reviewed, spokesman Wes Sherwood said in an e-mailed statement.

The death happened when the minivan fell on a person who was working under it, using just the service jack to support it. The auto-safety agency said it recommends using the devices to raise vehicles only for changing tires.

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