By: Brett Shainfeld
When Buying A Car Goes Wrong
When you purchase a new or certified pre-owned vehicle, the last thing you want to run into is a malfunction in your brand new vehicle. It’s a thing of nightmares: suddenly, this massive purchase that you rely upon for your livelihood is in a state of needing repair. Even worse, if the malfunction occurs while driving it could lead to an accident, with serious injury or loss of life. While it’s true that not keeping up with general maintenance and driving irresponsibly can certainly degrade the life of your vehicle, sometimes these errors occur due to negligence on the behalf of the automobile manufacturer. When this type of automobile error occurs in the design or production of a vehicle, that’s typically when consumers will see that a dealer recall has been initiated.
What Is A Recall? How Does A Recall Work?
Both are great questions, and for years recalls may very well have been flying under your radar for vehicles you own without you even knowing it. The details of how recalls are determined and administered vary, but it tends to follow a similar trend. To start, one of two things tend to occur: vehicle owners report an error to an automobile manufacturer directly, or when taking their vehicle in for routine maintenance or to inspect the error the service technician will notice and log the error in for the manufacturer to inspect. This applies to uncommon errors, such as particular parts being faulty far before their expected timeframe or systems failing in odd ways.
At this juncture, when the manufacturer has noticed odd patterns in parts failing, perhaps across multiple vehicles, the automobile maker will begin to inspect and determine the cause of the issue. This is done very carefully through examining manufacturing records on vehicles and parts themselves to try to determine the origin of the problem and the timeframe of vehicle production to decide exactly which vehicles have been affected. The company will then work towards a solution while issuing a recall to consumers. This typically involves sending out correspondence to consumers directly, most often by mail but occasionally by phone if they have access to such information.
This is also an added benefit of having your dealership conduct routine maintenance, as the dealer will often notify you of pending recalls once you arrive for an appointment and correct them on the spot if the parts are available. Otherwise, you can make an appointment with the dealer directly to have the recall corrected. Dealers will typically do this at no cost to the consumer; you just need to bring in your vehicle for maintenance.
Occasionally the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will issue recalls themselves. They also maintain a database of active recalls for vehicle owners to check online; all you need is the VIN number, typically found inside the door of your vehicle or on your insurance card.
This information is particularly relevant at the moment for owners of the 2014-2018 Ford Fusion. Imagine, if you will, cruising down the highway outside of Los Angeles in the realm of 65 mph speed limits, going to pass a vehicle only to find your steering wheel has pulled off the frame of your Ford Fusion? It sounds like an accident left for the imagination, but a current recall from Ford is hoping to combat just such a scenario.
Why Were the 2014 – 2018 Ford Fusion’s Recalled?
The crux of the Ford Fusion recalls centers around an issue involving the steering wheel. The bolt holding the steering wheel in place may not maintain proper torque, which allows the bolt to slowly loosen up over time. If this problem is not serviced within a window of time, the steering wheel could potentially detach itself. This would lead to a loss of steering control ability, significantly increasing the likelihood of a serious automobile accident.
Sometimes recalls are caught due to inspection at the dealership service centers. In this case, Ford is aware of multiple accidents and one injury as of March 2018 related to the steering wheel issue. Ford has not reported any deaths related to the accident.
The vehicles affected include approximately 1.3 million model-year 2014-2018 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans. Due to the large market share affected by this recall, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to your nearest Ford or Lincoln dealer if you have a make and model matching the recall to assess whether or not additional measures should be taken.
To correct the steering wheel problem in the Ford Fusion recall, dealers will replace the steering wheel bolt at no charge to the consumer. The new steering wheel bolt for the Ford Fusion features a more robust thread engagement and a larger nylon patch placed just for optimum torque retention. The correction is typically a relatively easy fix for dealerships that have the bolt ready in stock; you can simply drop your car off, have it fixed for free and be back safely on the road in no time.
Initially, Ford did not announce an owner-notification schedule for the recall notice. While it’s suspected that written notification has since occurred, feel free to reach out to the automaker at 866-436-7332 for more information about whether or not your Ford Fusion is part of the recall. You can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.
Call Shainfeld Law Today If Your Ford Fusion Is Getting Recalled
If you suspect that your Ford Fusion may have been part of an accident or had issues related to the problem specified in this recall, you should know that there is recourse available for you. For more information about what you can do as a Ford Fusion owner, or for general inquiries about how lemon law affects your Ford Fusion ownership, please feel free to reach out to the lemon law leaders at Shainfeld Law for more insight. We have decades of combined experience that will get you the legal outcome you deserve and claim your rightful protection as a consumer.