The fault, which has the potential to stall the engine and in turn switch off activation of safety gear such as airbags and anti-lock brakes, has also prompted a warning for drivers to stop adjusting the steering wheel's position for fear that it will add to the risk of sparking the fault.
"On some vehicles there is potential for the ignition switch electrical connector to disengage," Ford's statement to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which oversees the safety recall of vehicles, says.
"If the connector disengages while driving, the engine will stall, electrical functions will be lost, and the vehicle will be unable to be restarted,"it says. "This poses a potential accident hazard to the driver and other road users."
Ford says the fault was detected in vehicles coming off the carmaker's Broadmeadows line
between November 12, 2013 and October 13 last year. It therefore applies to almost a year's worth of the last batch of FG MkII Falcons and SY Territory SUVs before production switched to the final FGX Falcon range and SZ Territory vehicles that will carry the carmaker through to the end of manufacturing in 2016.
Ford says it will write to all the owners of affected vehicles, where it is expected the
connectors will be inspected and replaced at no cost.
"Until the safety recall service is completed it is recommended that the steering column "tilt" or "reach" positions are not adjusted as this may reduce the engagement of the electrical connector," it says.
Ford's is the 15th vehicle recall in the last 30 days to flag owners of potential safety-related problems in a number of different marques including Holden, Toyota, Audi, Chrysler and Nissan over the last 30 days, according to the Federal Government's tracking website for dodgy products.
Decade-old versions of the US carmaker's current bestseller were found to be in need of a
fix after it was discovered that front airbags and seatbelt pretensioners that are only supposed to fire in a crash were instead activating randomly.
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