The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new auto defect investigation affecting approximately 938,000 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles.
Vehicles impacted by the investigation include model year 2010-2012 Ford Fusion and Ford Fusion Hybrid, 2010-2012 Lincoln MKZ, 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and 2011 Mercury Milan vehicles.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified 508 consumer complaints alleging loss of power steering assist and increased steering effort in the above-mentioned vehicles that are equipped with rack mounted Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS). Four of these complaints allege that the steering assist failure resulted in increased steering efforts that contributed to a loss of control and crash.
In addition, ODI has identified related information in Early Warning Reporting field report data submitted by Ford. Many of the complaints indicated observing a power steering warning message as the failure occurred. In some cases, the condition was corrected by turning the vehicle off and restarting. However, many reports indicate the condition returned again after restart.
A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency and potential safety consequences of the alleged defect. The investigation could eventually lead to a safety recall of all affected vehicles.