DETROIT — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will investigate problems with stalling or surging engines in nearly 725,000 Ford cars and SUVs.
The probe affects Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs and Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2009 through 2011 model years.
The vehicles can unexpectedly go into ‘‘limp home mode’’ at reduced power, the agency said in documents posted Monday on its website. NHTSA and Ford have received almost 1,500 complaints about the problem. There were three crashes and one injury.
NHTSA began looking into the cars and SUVs after getting a request from the North Carolina Consumers Council last year. Nonprofit safety groups and consumers can petition the agency to investigate vehicle problems.
The cars and SUVs haven’t been recalled, but the investigation could lead to a recall.
Ford told NHTSA that vehicles made from June 22, 2009, to Oct. 15, 2009, may have faulty printed circuit boards that control the throttles. Ford and its throttle body supplier, Delphi Corp., changed the circuit board manufacturing process after Oct. 15, 2009. That resolved the problem, NHTSA said in documents posted Monday on its website.