Ford Motor Company is recalling more than one million cars equipped with steering wheels that can unexpectedly detach.
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The company notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on March 14, 2018 they will recall 1,301,986 2014-2018 Ford Fusion and 2014-2018 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built between July 25, 2013 and March 2, 2018.
Ford submitted a safety recall report on March 14, 2018 stating the affected vehicles contain steering shafts with a reduced amount of threads for the steering wheel bolt to engage. The bolt may not maintain torque, allowing the bolt to loosen and eventually separate from the steering shaft. Sudden steering wheel detachment can cause control loss and increase crash risk.
The NHTSA first opened its investigation on Oct. 23, 2017 after three reports of separating steering wheels on 2014-2016 model year Ford Fusion vehicles. Ford responded to an NHTSA information request on Dec. 15, 2017, stating all 2013-2018 model year Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles contain the same steering wheel fastening system.
Ford continued its engineering investigation into 2018, inspecting vehicles and analyzing returned parts, engineering and design specifications, production specifications and records and other analyses. The manufacturer discovered a design change on March 1, 2018 which decreased the amount of threads inside the steering shaft. The thread reduction affects the end of the steering shaft end where the bolt first contacts the threads. The bolts securing the steering wheel have a nylon patch which helps ensure proper torque retention. The reduced thread amount can make the nylon patch fail.
The manufacturer approved a recall on March 5, 2018.
Ford will notify owners and dealers will replace the steering wheel bolt with a longer bolt, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 30, 2018. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 18S08. Ford owners can also visit the NHTSA’s website and enter their VIN to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer is legally required to fix any recalled problems for free. If the dealership refuses to fix the part or tries to charge you for the repair, contact the manufacturer immediately. The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which created the NHTSA, requires car manufacturers to pay for the recall and replacement of a defective part.
If the manufacturer fails to repair, replace, repurchase, or provide your recalled vehicle’s loss value, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to help you.
Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.