NHTSA ends investigation into Ford’s power-steering crisis

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

NATIONAL Highway Traffic Safety ` Administration has announced that the investigation into about 848,600 Ford vehicles for loss of power steering has ended.

NHTSA, which had been investigating the 2010-12 Ford Fusion, 2010-12 Lincoln MKZ and 2010-11 Mercury Milan with electric power assisted steering, closed the investigation Thursday. The first-generation power-steering system, manufactured by TRW Automotive (now part of Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG), was said in complaints to have suddenly failed while motorists were driving.

Ford recalled 393,000 of the vehicles with the steering assist in July. The company said an electrical steering connection could cause those vehicles to lose electric power steering. Ford said it was aware of four accidents and no injuries related to the defect.

NHTSA found nearly 2,600 complaints related to the defect and about 10,000 Ford warranty claims for electric power steering repairs. It found 40 complaints for crashes allegedly related to the defect, 20 of which involved recalled cars.

“The information available for the alleged crashes were not sufficient to assess specific causes of the incidents or to verify EPAS malfunctions in each case,” NHTSA said.

While four injury claims were filed, none of them required medical attention, the agency said.

“Most of the crashes were low-speed impacts with curbs or roadside objects resulting in wheel or minor body damage,” NHTSA said.

NHTSA is not seeking any further recalls. An analysis conducted by its National Center for Statistics and Analysis projected a 10-year failure rate on about 1 percent of nonrecalled cars, compared with 8 to 14 percent of those Ford recalled in July.

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