Ford recalls 2003-2005 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis cars because headlights can fail

DEARBORN, Mich. – About 313,000 large cars built at a now-closed Ford assembly plant in Ontario are being recalled because their headlights can go dark and cause a crash.

The recall covers some Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis from the 2003 to 2005 model years.

They were built between Oct. 3, 2001, and Aug. 2, 2005, at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant south of London, Ont., before the factory stopped production on Sept. 15, 2011.

About 14,714 vehicles sold in Canada could be affected by the recall.

It came after U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation into the problem that found 15 crashes and one injury.

Ford says solder joints in the lighting control module can crack and cut off power to the headlights. It says dealers will replace the lighting control module at no cost to owners.

Owners will be notified about the recall starting the week of Jan. 18. Those with headlight problems should contact their dealer.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating in August after receiving a petition seeking a probe from the North Carolina Consumers Council. Investigators found 3,609 complaints to NHTSA and Ford. Most of those complaining said their headlights failed suddenly. One driver ran off the road due to a lack of headlights, while another reported hitting a deer.

Ford said it reviewed the problem with NHTSA on Dec. 7 and decided a recall was needed.

— With a file from The Canadian Press.