The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an official investigation into 2004 Ford Freestyle and Mercury Monterey vans. The agency has received several reports of the seat anchors failing to secure the third row of seating to the vehicle.
According to the NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigations, the agency has received seven consumer reports complaining of the rear seat anchors, which are attached the sides of the seats to the van's rear wheel wells. In one complaint report received by the ODI, a seat anchor allegedly separated from the wheel well completely.
The issue may tied to corrosion of the rear wheel wells and affect only Ford Freestyle and Mercury Monterey vans driven in so-called "salt-belt" states—areas where harsh de-icing chemicals are used on roadways during the winter season.
The NHSTA's investigation into the seat anchor issue will determine if a product defect exists and if an official recall is necessary.