Ford Motor Co. is warning customers of a defect that can break the rear windows on some 2002-model Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicles.
After adverse publicity over last summer's recall of Firestone tires mounted on Explorers, Ford is having dealers pick up the affected vehicles, provide a loaner vehicle and make the repair, then wash, vacuum and return the affected SUVs to customers with a full tank of gas.
"We want to have this inspection as quickly as possible to ensure customer satisfaction," Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said Tuesday.
Ford also told dealers to call customers about the problem. "We thought this would be preferable to sending letters,'' he said.
The problem involves the glass lift-gate on certain new Explorers and Mountaineers, which can shatter or detach when closed because brackets that hold the glass in place may loosen, Ford said.
The company has received 35 complaints about the problem, Vaughn said.
Of 56,652 affected Explorers and Mountaineers built from early February to March 30 at plants in Kentucky and Missouri, 12,669 already have been sold, Vaughn said.
Ford's Explorer has been the nation's top-selling SUV for 11 years.
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