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On March 14, 2018, the Ford Motor Company announced a new recall of select Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles. The recall involves nearly 1.4 million vehicles in North America, with over 1.3 million of those vehicles residing in the U.S. The others are in either Canada or Mexico.

The problem is that the steering wheel can detach from the steering column, increasing the risk of a crash and serious injuries.

Ford Recalls Vehicles Over Steering Wheel Defect

At the time of this writing, Ford was aware of two accidents and one injury allegedly related to this issue. The company states that the steering wheel bolt “may not maintain torque,” allowing the bolt to loosen over time. If the bolt isn’t fixed, the steering wheel “could potentially detach and lead to a loss of steering control and increased risk of a crash.”

The affected vehicles include:

  • 2014-17 Ford Fusions built at Flack Rock Assembly Plant between August 6, 2013 and February 29, 2016
  • 2014-18 Ford Fusions built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant from July 25, 2013 to March 5, 2018
  • 2014-18 Lincoln MKZs built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant from July 25, 2013 to March 5, 2018

Ford has advised consumers to take their vehicles to their Ford dealers for a free steering wheel bolt replacement. The new bolt is longer with a more robust thread engagement and larger nylon patch placed for proper torque retention.

The company says that it will be sending recall notices to those consumers who own the affected vehicles with instructions on how to schedule a repair.

Ford Recalls Vehicles Over Clutch Defect

On the same date, Ford also announced a second recall, this one affecting about 6,000 Ford Focus vehicles with manual transmissions. The problem is that the clutch plate in the affected vehicles may fracture, creating a risk of fire. So far, the company is not aware of any fires, accidents, or injuries related to this issue.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2013-16 Ford Focus vehicles with 1.0 liter FOX GTDI engines and B6 manual transmissions built at Michigan Assembly Plant from July 21, 2014 to June 30, 2016
  • 2013-15 Ford Fusion vehicles with 1.6-liter Sigma GTDI engines and B6 manual transmissions built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant between March 9, 2012 and June 28, 2014.

The problem is that repeated use of the clutch can lead to premature clutch lining wear, “reducing the mechanical properties of pressure plate material,” according to the Ford recall website.

Over time, this may lead to cracks around the outer edge of the pressure plate, causing excessive slip that may lead to structural failure or fracture of the pressure plate. If there is also leaking transmission fluid near the ignition source, it could lead to an engine fire.

Ford has advised consumers with Ford Focus vehicles to go to their Ford dealerships for a software update. The new software is intended to “detect and prevent” any clutch slip. The dealerships are also to check the clutch for wear and replace it if needed. Consumers with a Ford Fusion will receive a new clutch assembly at no cost.

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