US auto safety regulators are investigating after more than 500 complaints of loss of power steering in Ford midsize sedans.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received over 500 complaints from Ford midsize sedans owners about problems with the vehicle’s power steering.
The models which will come under the ambit of the investigation includes around 938,000 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Mercury Milan from model years 2010 to 2012, including the gas-electric hybrid versions of the Fusion and the MKZ as per a document posted on the NHTSA website.
According to NHTSA, it has received 508 complaints which date back to 2010 of loss of power steering. Four complaints alleged that increased efforts led to loss of control and crash. No fatalities or injuries have been reported. However the car safety regulators said that many of the complainants had a close call.
One owner who wrote to the NHTSA in 2013, “As the vehicle was attempted to be turned right into driveway, the power steering completely failed and the driver nearly hit another vehicle. Every bit of the 120-pound female’s strength was needed to manually steer the vehicle into the parking lot.”
The problem could be resolved by restarting the vehicle but many owners have complained that the problem keeps returning. The agency has reported that many drivers saw a power steering warning message during failure.
If the NHTSA finds the problem really constitutes a security risk to the owners of the vehicles in question, it could lead to a safety recall. If the initial evaluation finds further problems, the NHTSA will upgrade the probe into an engineering analysis which could or could not culminate into a recall.
In 2014 Ford recalled 3.9 million vehicles. It included two power steering-related recalls made in May. The first recall was prompted by a probe launched by Transport Canada, Canada’s equivalent to the NHTSA, and Ford recalled 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles with 2008 to 2011 model years. Another 736,000 of the affected vehicles were located in the United States. The second recall was for 195,500 Explorers from model years 2011 to 2013 and of these 178,000 was located in the U.S.