Ford Recalls 1.3 Million Cars Over Safety

Ford Recalls 1.3 Million Cars Over Safety
Four 2009 Ford Focus vehicles sit with a 'Sale' sign under their hoods at a Ford dealership in Royal Oak, Michigan, Mar. 19, 2009. Photo: Rebecca Cook

Himanshu Goenka

Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday it was recalling over 1.3 million vehicles over safety concerns. The models affected are Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Focus, and most of the recalled vehicles were sold in the United States.

The Dearborn, Michigan, company said it was “issuing a safety recall in North America for approximately 1.3 million 2014-18 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles for potentially loose steering wheel bolts that could result in a steering wheel detaching from the steering column.”

It explained the fault further, saying the bolt of the steering wheels in affected vehicles may not maintain torque, which could loosen the bolt over time. Over time, the steering wheel itself could come off, heightening the chances of crashing. There have been two accidents already due to this problem, one of which caused an injury too, Ford said in the announcement.

Fusion cars built at Ford’s assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, between Aug. 6, 2013, and Feb. 29, 2016, or at Hermosillo in Mexico between July 25, 2013, and March 5, 2018, were listed as affected. For Lincoln MKZ, it was vehicles assembled in Hermosillo between July 25, 2013, and March 5, 2018.

If you own a Ford vehicle that matches these specifications, please visit a Ford dealer who would — free of cost — “replace the steering wheel bolt on the vehicle with a longer bolt with more robust thread engagement and larger nylon patch placed properly for proper torque retention.”

Between these two models, 1,301,986 cars have been recalled in the U.S. and its territories, with another 62,479 vehicles recalled in Canada and 14,172 in Mexico.

A much smaller number, less than 6,000, of Ford Focus cars were affected, specifically vehicles with 1.0-liter Fox GTDI engines and B6 manual transmissions assembled at the company’s Michigan Assembly Plant from July 21, 2014, to June 30, 2016, and those with 1.6-liter Sigma GTDI engines and B6 manual transmissions built in Hermosillo between March 9, 2012, and June 28, 2014.

The affected Focus vehicles, totaling 5,357 in the U.S. and 515 in Canada, have a “potential clutch plate fracture with risk of fire,” Ford said, adding it wasn’t aware of any such incident having taken place.

“In affected vehicles, repeated high-energy clutch slip input made while a driver changes gears can lead to premature clutch lining wear, reducing the mechanical properties of pressure plate material. Repeated cyclic heating and cooling events may cause cracks around the outer edge of the pressure plate. Torque capacity reduction due to clutch lining wear can cause excessive slip, introducing a large amount of energy and heat into the pressure plate. Structural failure or fracture of the pressure plate eventually may occur. Leaking transmission fluid near an ignition source can lead to the risk of an engine compartment fire,” the company explained.

For a fix, the company said dealers would update the cars’ software to “detect and prevent prolonged clutch slip” and would also “evaluate the clutch for wear and replace as needed. Fusions will be updated with a new clutch assembly at no cost to customers.

The share price of Ford rose 2.23 percent during Wednesday trade on the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $11.02. It outperformed most of the auto sector.

NTD Photo
Displayed with permission from International Business Times
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