Ford Fusions, Milan Vans Recalled For Defective Wheels

Ford Fusions and Milan Vans are being recalled for defective wheels. The Ford Motor Co. just announced a recall of 128.616 Fusion and Mercury Milans to correct defective wheels.

The vehicles’ wheel studs may fracture while driving, which can lead to “vibration and/or wheel separation, increasing the risk of a crash,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a notice on its website, wrote Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ford said it will notify owners beginning the week of January 24th and dealers will replace the lug nuts on all four wheels and perform a rear-wheel disc brake surface inspection, making replacements, as needed, on sedans with the model years 2010 and 2011, according to the NHTSA, wrote Businessweek. “Affected customers can continue to drive their vehicles,” said Susan Krusel, Ford spokeswoman. “We are not aware of any accidents or injuries,” she added, said Businessweek. Krusel said that customers can ask their dealers to inspect the lug nuts to ensure proper attachment.

The recall involves cars originally equipped with 17-inch steel wheels built in 2009 and 2010 at the Hermosillo, Mexico, plant, said the NHTSA in its letter to Ford. Wheels were supplied by Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. in Northville, Michigan; brakes were supplied by Brembo North America Inc. in Plymouth, Michigan, said the NHTSA, wrote Businessweek. The agency began investigating the problem January 21, said Businessweek, citing agency documents, when it became aware of 29 owner complaints, including four cases in which wheels had fallen off. The agency was also then aware of 128 warranty claims Ford had paid on for fractured wheel studs.

We recently wrote about a massive 1.1 million Ford F-150, F-250, and Lincoln Blackwood pickup truck recall. These vehicles were sold in colder weather states where it is typical for road salts to be used. The salts can rust the metal straps that hold the vehicles’ gas tanks. According to the recall notice, should the strap break, the gas tank can be released, hit the ground, and burst into flames. Eight fires were blamed for this defect and three of those fires spread to the remainder of the truck. Ford reported that one person sustained injuries involving first- and second-degree burns.

These pickups have been involved in three recalls since 2008 and the recalls have involved millions of vehicles, with the latest involving some 1997-2004 F-150 models, some 1997-1999 model year F-250 pickups, and some 2002-2003 model year Lincoln Blackwood pickups.

Earlier this year we wrote that the NHTSA was investigating about 170,000 Ford Freestyle crossover SUVs from model year 2005 through 2007. Following 238 complaints and 18 crashes over unintended lunging when driving at low speeds and when the gas pedal is not engaged, the NHTSA opened the investigation, it said on its website; one crash resulted in minor injuries.

Also, earlier this year, there were issues with Ford F-Series pickups and defective airbag deployment. It seems the airbags could deploy inappropriately at the wrong time. In February, Ford announced it would correct about 150,000 F-150s for the inappropriate airbag deployment issue; however, it expanded the recall to 1.2 million trucks in April following mounting pressure from regulators. The defect led to 98 reported injuries.

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