NHTSA Probing Ford Fusion Steering Wheel Detachments

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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nhtsa probing ford fusion steering wheel detachments

Perhaps more than any other vehicle component, a steering wheel must function properly for the safe operation of a car or truck. Without it, you’re just along for the ride.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking three reports of steering wheels detaching from the column in late-model Ford Fusions so seriously. In one case, the wheel came off in the driver’s hands. The agency has now opened a preliminary investigation into three model years of the Fusion.

According to the NHTSA, an investigation began on October 23rd. An investigation doesn’t necessarily signal an impending recall or a widespread problem, but it does show the complaints were serious enough to warrant further action.

In this case, the three complaints are indeed alarming. The NHTSA claims that, in those cases, the steering wheel fastening bolts came loose on 2014 to 2016 model-year Fusions. The scope of the investigation covers approximately 841,000 vehicles.

“The [Vehicle Owner Questionnaires] stated that the steering wheel became loose while the vehicle was in operation,” the NHTSA’s notice states. “Two of the complainants reported that the bolt attaching the wheel to the steering column had to be re-tightened at a repair facility. The third complainant alleged that while attempting to turn into a gas station, the steering wheel became completely detached from the steering column.”

Topping even yesterday’s NHTSA epic understatement (regarding 340,000 Kia Souls with steering assembly issues), the agency claims a “detached steering wheel can result in a loss of vehicle control,” which can then result in a crash. You got that right.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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4 of 29 comments
  • Slavuta Slavuta on Oct 28, 2017

    FORD TOUGH! Made in Mexico.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 29, 2017

    The first car my sister drove that she actually owned was a 1951 Ford Crown Victoria, then 10 years old. She had it for a year and traded it for a '57 Pontiac Chief. The dealer mechanic who checked out the Ford told her the steering wheel nut and threads were so badly rusted, the steering wheel was ready to fall off. The more things change...

  • Westside auto Westside auto on Oct 30, 2017

    Devil's advocate here... this sort of thing doe not occur suddenly, the nut does not spin off at Regan McNeil speed, is backs off sllloooowwwlllly. A noticable looseness should be felt long before the wheel comes completely loose or falls off. Driver attention is the key here. Is there a workmanship issue here? Quite possibly, but considering the number of Fusions (and presumably Lincoln MKZ cars as well) this is a statistical anomaly at best, it doesn't even make a tick.

  • Sirwired Sirwired on Oct 30, 2017

    This is utterly stupid. There's simply no excuse for an unchanging item like this to fall off. While I've owned cars that didn't need a puller to get the wheel off, there was a huge amount of detail in the service manual about the bolt. (High torque specs, it was a funny size to discourage casual mechanics, and the service manual included info on exactly how many times it can be re-used before needing replacement (you were instructed to hit it with a punch every time you pulled that bolt))