updated 5/16/2011 8:00:10 AM ET 2011-05-16T12:00:10

Federal safety officials are investigating complaints that the Ford Freestyle crossover vehicle can lunge unexpectedly when driving at low speeds or idling.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 238 complaints involving 2005 through 2007 Freestyles. Eighteen minor crashes were reported with one minor injury.

The agency says the cars can lunge up to 10 feet when the driver's foot is not on the accelerator or the brakes. Stepping on the brakes firmly stops the car from moving.

The investigation covers about 170,000 Freestyles which have three rows of seats. Regulators will decide if a recall is necessary.

The investigation into the car's throttle performance began on May 11. Details were posted during the weekend on the agency's website.

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