The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2016 Ford Fusion, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Steering Wheel Fastening Bolt Loosens

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE17007

    Component(s): Steering
    Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar

    Summary: On March 12th, 2018, Ford Motor Company submitted a Defect Information Report to NHTSA describing a defect in the steering wheel fastening system of approximately 1,301,986 model year (MY) Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. On March 1, 2018, Ford discovered a design change that affected the MY 2014-2018 subject vehicles. The affected population are MY 2014-2016 Fusion and MKZ with manual and power adjust steering columns and MY 2017-2018 Fusion and MKZ equipped with manual adjust steering columns only. The affected populations have steering shafts with a reduced amount of threads for the steering wheel bolt to engage. The thread length was decreased by 5mm in the affected models. Ford stated that another contributing factor was the placement of a nylon locking patch torque retention on the fastening bolt.As a result, the steering wheel bolt may not maintain torque allowing the bolt to loosen and eventually separate from the steering shaft, resulting in a loose or detached steering wheel. The two crashes and one injury noted in Ford-s Defect Information Report are from two legal claims. The first accident is a claim where the driver reported the steering wheel twisted freely on the shaft which caused the driver to lose control.An injury was alleged but no details were provided. The second claim resulted in minor damage to the driver side of the vehicle including a punctured tire. No injury was reported.Ford-s recall remedy procedure will use a bolt that is 17mm longer, providing a more robust steering column thread and torque retention patch engagement. The torque retention feature will be 13mm longer to ensure proper engagement. This investigation is closed based on Ford's recall.