A faulty switch that has caused several fires is the subject of Ford's latest recall, the largest in company history.

Ford Motor Company will agree to recall 4.5 million vehicles in danger of catching fire due to poor electrics.  The decision comes on the heels of a lengthy investigation by the U.S. government into the cause of those fires, and includes 1.1 million Ford Windstar vans from 1995 to 2003.  Several other models make up the remaining 3.4 million vehicles.

The problem is linked to a switch made by Texas Instruments that allows drivers to disengage cruise control by tapping on the brake pedal.  Ford used the switches throughout the 1990s, up to 2003, on a total of about 16 million cars and trucks.

Several deaths, and at least 550 fires and 1,500 complaints have been linked to the switch.  Eight separate recalls related to the switch over the last ten years has affected a total of 14.1 million vehicles.

The automaker has been accused of delaying the recalls due to the expensive repair cost involved.  The company has been the defendant in dozens of lawsuits related to faulty piece.

Ford plans to notify customers officially beginning on October 26.  In a statement, Ford acknowledges that the part "may, under certain conditions, leak internally and then overheat, smoke or burn."

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