U.S. safety regulators have been applying pressure on Ford Motor Company regarding their power-assisted steering and its propensity to fail while under operation. Under regulator pressure, Ford is now recalling 423,000 cars and SUVs across North America.
The recall covers certain Ford Flex and Taurus vehicles, as well as the Lincoln MKS and MKT from 2011 to 2013. Also included are Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZ from 2011 through 2012 and some 2011 Mercury MIlans.
Ford believes they have narrowed down the defect to an intermittent electrical connection that prevents power from getting to the power steering unit. When power to the steering unit is cut off, the steering goes into manual mode, which in turn makes the vehicles much harder to control.
While no injuries or deaths have yet been linked to the defect, the company stated that it is aware of four crashes that have occurred as a result of the defect.
A proposed solution includes dealers who will update the power steering control software or replace the gear with a new steering gear that eliminates the electrical issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating complaints of power-steering failure on three Ford Motor Company vehicles in October of 2014.
According to a class-action lawsuit filed in June 2014 regarding the matter, the problem could potentially affect more Ford models, including the popular compact Focus.
508 complaints were reportedly received by the NHTSA that alleged the cars lost power-steering which resulted in an increase in steering effort. Ford has said it is unsure if the agency would close investigation because of the recall.
Unfortunately for Ford, this is not their only current recall. They are also in the process of recalling nearly 20,000 2015 Ford Mustangs with 2.3 Liter engines. Those models have been found to develop high underbody temperatures that could degrade its fuel tank and fuel vapor lines. While no fires have been reported yet, officials believe the degradation could increase the risk of a fire. That recall will require dealers to replace a heat shield and add additional insulation.