The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening an investigation into the 2010-2012 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ, the 2012 MKZ Hybrid and 2011 Mercury Milan because the agency has hundreds of complaints of electric power steering failure in these models.

According to NHTSA's data, it has received 508 complaints of the power steering allegedly suddenly malfunctioning and resulting in increased effort to turn the wheel. In four incidents, these failures resulted in loss of control and crashes. According to the reports, in some cases a power steering warning message came on as the fault occurred, and other times the system restored itself by turning off and then restarting the vehicle. NHTSA said it has also received further field report data from Ford, but that information hasn't been publicly released yet.

For the moment, there isn't a recall for this failure on these models. NHTSA is just investigating them to "assess the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect," and the agency says an estimated 938,000 vehicles could potentially be affected.

Autoblog reached out to Ford about its reaction to this Preliminary Evaluation, and the company replied with the following statement by email: "We will cooperate with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." Scroll down to read the investigation notice from the regulator or download the full report as a PDF, here.
Show full PR text
INVESTIGATION Subject : Loss of electric power assisted steering

Date Investigation Opened: OCT 02, 2014
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: PE14030
Component(s): STEERING
All Products Associated with this Investigation \
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)
FORD FUSION 2010-2012
FORD FUSION HYBRID 2010-2012
LINCOLN MKZ 2010-2012
LINCOLN MKZ HYBRID 2012
MERCURY MILAN 2011
Details

Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company

SUMMARY:
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified 508 complaints alleging loss of power steering assist and increased steering effort in model year (MY) 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ vehicles 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 safety consequences of the alleged defect.

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