It Looks Like Ford Has a Problem With Its Nuts

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
it looks like ford has a problem with its nuts

Ford Motor Company finds itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit concerning the simplest part of any car or truck: the lug nuts.

In this case, nuts that swell and delaminate not long after purchase, rendering the vehicle’s lug wrench useless in the event of a flat tire, or when the owners decide to swap their seasonal rubber. The lawsuit, filed by Hagens Berman Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, seeks class-action status. Hundreds of claimants have put their name to the suit.

Millions of Ford vehicles dating back to 2010, including the popular Fusion and F-150, feature two-piece lug nuts with a steel core and chrome, aluminum, or stainless cap for appearance purposes, the lawsuit claims. That outer cap can swell, potentially endangering owners’ lives and wallets.

Hagens Berman claims the issue impacts owners of Ford Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150 and F-350 vehicles. In some cases, the issue isn’t discovered until the owner attempts to change a tire on the side of a road, only to find that the lug wrench won’t fit over the nut.

The suit also claims roadside assistance crews sometimes find the nuts impossible to remove, as the nuts don’t swell in a uniform manner. This means more costs saddled on the owner in the form of a tow to a service center.

“At best this defect leads to consumers paying more than $30 per wheel at a repair shop just to get their tire off, and then have to buy new lug nuts,” said drivers’ counsel Steve Berman in a statement. “At worst, Ford owners could quickly end up in an emergency situation on a busy roadway, stranded with a flat tire and no way to change it.”

Contained in the suit is an accusation of post-recession cost-cutting. Ford could have avoided the issue by choosing solid stainless steel nuts, but that would increase the cost of manufacturing the vehicle, Hagens Berman states. Still, the capped nuts initially looked nice when contrasted with alloy or chrome-plated wheels.

A quick search of online Ford message boards shows countless complaints relating to swollen nuts on post-2010 vehicles, especially the Fusion. Other complaints have found their way to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The suit, representing drivers in all 50 U.S. states, accuses Ford of violating state consumer protection laws. The claimants demand the automaker recoup them for individual costs associated with the swollen nuts.

Ford hasn’t commented on the suit.

[Image: victoras/ Bigstock]

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  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.
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