NHTSA Investigates Ford Over Defective Power Steering Complaints

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a lot on its hands these days. The GM year-to-date recall tally surpassed the record 30 million mark, Chrysler has also been the subject of numerous safety campaigns involving defective airbags and ignition switches, but the Blue Oval isn't a saint either.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's watchdog has opened an investigation after no less that 508 people complained to the NHTSA about the sudden loss of power steering assist and increased steering effort in 2010 to 2012 model years nameplates. It's believed the affected population of vehicles suffering from the alleged fault sits at 938,000 examples.

Out of the previously mentioned population of malfunctioning 2010 to 2012 model year Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ vehicles, four claimants of the 508 total complained to the NHTSA that the steering assist failure contributed to a loss of vehicle control and an increased risk of an accident.

One of the four claimants alleges he "was turning out of my street approx. 5 mph in my 2010 Ford Fusion and ... the steering wheel got very stiff. I could not turn, making me hit a concrete barrier. Car had no warnings before steering went out." Other more lucky owners told the agency they went with their cars to the service department and dealers forwarded them repair bills in excess of $1,500, which isn't cool for a vehicle still covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

As if that wasn't enough of a mess-up, technicians weren't able to pin down what part of the steering rack is to blame. Most complaining owners allege their dealerships recommended to replace the entire steering rack. Thankfully, no fatal accidents or injuries have been reported. After the NHTSA will "assess the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect," Ford may be obliged to announce a formal recall.
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 Download: NHTSA Investigation PE 14-030 - Power Assisted Steering Failure (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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