Hot Topic: F-150 Tanks Vulnerable to Fire

May 09, 2011


It turns out that the price of the gas going into your tank isn’t the only fuel-related woe for some vehicle owners.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating reports of a fault that can cause fuel tank fires on Ford’s iconic F-150 pickup:

Federal regulators have expanded the investigation into 2.7 million Ford F-150 pickups over complaints fuel tank straps have rusted and failed, putting vehicles at risk of a fire.


In a notice posted on the NHTSA website Sunday, the agency said it had upgraded its investigation into 2.7 million 1997-2001 F-150 pickups after reviewing about 300 complaints.

NHTSA said there are two reports of fires. In one, leaking fuel ignited, but quickly burned out. In the other incident, Ford said "the leaking fuel ignited and the … fire destroyed the vehicle." No injuries have been reported.


NHTSA said its investigation is focused on the steel straps holding the fuel tank and attaching it to the truck frame, saying it "can corrode and break."


If the straps break, the tank might tilt, drop and hit the road, causing a fuel leak. The leaking gasoline can potentially cause a fire, NHTSA said.


NHTSA said its investigation "yielded information that strongly suggests the subject defect as the cause of the reported problem."


[via The Detroit News]


Photo courtesy of The Car Spy and re-used under the Creative Commons license.