Ford recalls 1.4 million sedans because steering wheels could fall off

Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 1.4 million Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans in North America because loose bolts could allow the steering wheel to come off.

The automaker said it knows of two accidents and one injury linked to the problem, which federal regulators began investigating in October. Ford said the steering wheel bolt can loosen over time, resulting in detachment of the wheel and a loss of steering control.

The recall covers the following vehicles:

  • 2014-17 Fusions built in Flat Rock, Mich., from Aug. 6, 2013, to Feb. 29, 2016.
  • 2014-18 Fusions and MKZs built in Hermosillo, Mexico, from July 25, 2013, to March 5, 2018.

The vast majority of the vehicles were sold in the U.S., while some are in Canada and Mexico, Ford said.

Ford is telling dealers to install a longer steering-wheel bolt "with more robust thread engagement and larger nylon patch placed properly for proper torque retention."

It"s the second time in the last month that an automaker has had to initiate a recall for steering wheels that can fall off. Hyundai recalled about 44,000 of its Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport crossovers in late February, saying the steering wheel assembly could break.

Clutch plate fracture

Separately, Ford said Wednesday that it would recall about 6,000 cars for potential clutch plate fractures that could increase the chance of a fire. That recall covers the 2013-16 Ford Focus with a 1.0-liter Fox GTDI engine and B6 manual transmission and the 2013-15 Ford Fusion with a 1.6-liter GTDI engine and B6 manual transmission.

The Focuses were built in Wayne, Mich., from July 2014 through June 2016, while the Fusions were made in Hermosillo from March 2012 through June 2014. Ford said it"s not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this recall.