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US monitoring rust in Ford vans

DETROIT — US auto safety regulators are monitoring about 100,000 Ford and Mercury minivans that were not covered by a recall issued earlier this year for rust problems.

Ford Motor Co. recalled about 230,000 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans in March to fix rust in the wheel wells that can cause the third-row seats to come loose.

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The vans, from the 2004 through 2007 model years, were sold or registered in 20 cold-weather states, including all of New England, and in Canada — places where salt is used on the roads in winter.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is watching vans that were not covered by the recall. But the agency says the problem seldom occurs if the vans are not exposed to salt.

Any owner not covered by the recall can contact Ford and ask for repairs if the van shows signs of rust in the wheel wells, the agency said.

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