Thursday, May 13, 2021
News Ford's Contaminated Washer Fluid Recall? It Was Brake Fluid

Ford’s Contaminated Washer Fluid Recall? It Was Brake Fluid

Fluid mixup could cause big damage

  • Contaminated fluid revealed through Canadian recall notice

  • Affected 286 Cop Explorers, Aviators


Just over a week ago, Ford issued a strange recall on just under 300 Explorer Police Interceptor and Lincoln Aviator models, saying they had gotten contaminated windshield washer fluid. The strange part was that the fix involved the replacement of nearly every washer component and even paint repair if necessary. Now the Canadian version of the recall notice explains a little more about what happened.

The recall of 283 (plus three in Canada) Ford Explorer Police Interceptors and Lincoln Aviators built at the end of last May read that “affected vehicles were shipped with contaminated windshield washer fluid and therefore do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” Sure, it can happen that there was an issue with what went in the bottle, but this recall was more than just a drain and fill.

“Dealers will flush out the washer system, and replace the windshield washer fluid, washer bottle neck, washer pump assembly, fluid level sensor, and front and rear wiper blades. Dealers will also inspect and repair paint and exterior components, if necessary.” What went into those washer fluid bottles that could even wreck the paint?

Brake fluid.

Transport Canada posted the recall notice yesterday for the same issue, adding a bit more detail for the three Police Interceptor Utility vehicles affected. “On a small number of vehicles, the windshield washer fluid reservoir may have been filled with washer fluid that was contaminated with brake fluid.”

So while putting chocolate in your peanut butter could result in a great new taste combination, putting brake fluid in your washer bottle will result in the glycol-ether solvent eating through plenty of things it shouldn’t.

With the vehicles built eight months ago, we imagine the fluid has already been used up, and that’s why Ford is going to replace so many parts, because it’s better safe than sorry. No word on if there are some of the same vehicles out there with extraordinarily clean brake lines. Affected owners should receive notice in the mail and Ford said it was not aware of any injuries or accidents resulting from the issue.

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