There are a lot of things you’d rather not have happen when driving your car. “Steering wheel falling off and into your lap” likely ranks pretty high on that list. For that reason, federal safety regulators have opened an investigation into more than 841,000 Ford Fusion vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigations opened an investigation [PDF] into model year 2014 to 2016 Ford Fusion vehicles after receiving three reports that the steering wheel either became loose or completely detached from the vehicles.
This obviously poses a serious problem: If the steering wheel is no longer attached to the vehicle, the driver can’t control the car. This, NHTSA says, can increase the risk of a crash.
According to documents [PDF] from the regulator, the three reports submitted by Fusion owners involve one vehicle in each of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years.
In a complaint submitted in June 2016, the owner of a 2014 Fusion tells NHTSA that the vehicle’s steering wheel came loose while in motion. The car was taken to a dealer, where the airbag was removed and the wheel re-tightened to the steering column.
The owner of a 2016 Fusion tells NHTSA in a complaint that the vehicle’s steering wheel came loose while driving. He was able to steer the car to a mechanic, where it was discovered that the bolt holding the steering wheel to the column had come loose.
Finally, the owner of a 2015 Fusion tells NHTSA that the steering wheel came completely detached from the vehicle and fell into the driver’s lap as it was turning into a gas station.
NHTSA’s investigation documents note that no injuries or crashes have been linked to the issue to date.
The Office of Defects Investigations opened a preliminary evaluation of the issue in order assess the scope, frequency, and safety related consequences of the alleged defect.