Ford Tauruses being investigated for sticking throttles

October 26, 2012: 4:17 PM ET
2002 ford taurus
Government investigators are looking into a throttle cable problem in some Ford Tauruses and Mercury Sables.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 2000 - 2003 Ford Tauruses and Mercury Sables for a problem that can cause the engine to keep running as if the gas pedal were pressed even when it's not.

According to a document posted on NHTSA's website, an attachment that holds the speed control cable -- which works with the car's cruise control system -- can break, causing the cable to become stuck.

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The vehicles involved in the investigation are model year 2000 through 2003 Tauruses and Sables -- the two models are essentially identical -- with 4-valve 3.0-liter V6 Duratec engines. An estimated 310,000 cars may be involved.

For now, no vehicles are being recalled, but NHTSA is performing a "preliminary investigation," to determine the extent of the problem and its safety implications.

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By the time the investigation was opened, NHTSA was aware of 50 complaints. The problem has not been seen in other V6-equipped Taurus or Sable cars, according to the document.

Model year 2005 and 2006 Ford (F) Tauruses were also investigated for a similar problem, but that investigation was closed recently with NHTSA finding that the issue in that case did not constitute a serious safety concern, according to documents on NHTSA's website.

Earlier this year, Ford recalled 421,000 Escape crossover SUVs for a problem also involving speed control cables that could get stuck. That problem was different from the one involved in this investigation, however.

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