Ford said a seal plug on the passenger side windshield wiper motor electrical connector may be missing, which allows water into the motor and may make it inoperative.
Ford said the recall of 140,310 cars covers 2012 models built through Oct. 18 at its Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne.
The automaker says the recall also includes about 20,000 outside the U.S. for a total of about 160,000.
Ford will install a redesigned seal plug. If it is missing, Ford dealers also will grease the electrical connector and ensure the wipers are working.
Ford told its dealers of the recall on Tuesday and notified some owners on Friday.
Rental car company Avis Budget Group said it is pulling 10,000 recalled 2012 Ford Focus vehicles from its rental fleet until they are repaired. That accounts for about 3 percent of the company's 300,000 vehicles in North America.
Ford spokesman Daniel Pierce said no crashes or injuries have been linked to the wiper motor issue.