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DATE News (chronologically)
12/10/11
automotive
Ford to recall Fusions, Mercury Milans over wheel studs
Ford Motor Co. said Friday it is recalling 130,000 Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans over concerns that the wheel studs could crack and cause the wheels to fall off.

The recall covers 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milans with 17-inch steel wheels. At least six incidents in which wheels came loose have been reported.

Ford is also recalling 2,940 steel wheels that were sold to dealers and used as replacement parts.

The Dearborn-based automaker said the steel wheel mounting pads may have been faulty and the wheel mounting face on rear brake discs may not have been attached properly.

Ford said it is aware of one incident involving a front wheel and five involving rear wheels. Ford has paid at least 128 warranty claims for wheel stud repairs and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has received 29 complaints. Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said no known injuries have been linked to the problem.

A NHTSA investigation that opened in January covered 317,000 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles. It upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis in July.

Ford met with NHTSA on Oct. 21 and Nov. 9 to discuss Ford's testing and analysis related to the investigation.

Ford said it first identified a concern about the wheels in August 2010 at its Hermosillo plant in Mexico. Several of the complaints were from low-mileage vehicles.

Owners will have the lug nuts replaced on all four wheels. Wheel-mounting surfaces on the rear disc brakes will be inspected and components will be replaced if required.

The recalled vehicles were built from April 1 through April 30, 2009, and Dec. 1, 2009, through Nov. 13, 2010.

Ford will notify owners starting Jan. 24; the company notified dealers this week.

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