Ford Motor Co. is recalling 128,616 Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans to fix defective wheels that may fall off, the U.S. Transportation Department said today.
The cars' wheel studs may fracture while driving, leading to "vibration and/or wheel separation, increasing the risk of a crash," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice on its Web site. The recall covers certain 2010 and 2011 models, the notice said.
Dealers will replace lug nuts on all four wheels and inspect rear-wheel disc brake surfaces and replace them as necessary, the agency said.
"Affected customers can continue to drive their vehicles," said Susan Krusel, a spokeswoman for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford. "We are not aware of any accidents or injuries."
Ford plans to notify owners beginning the week of Jan. 24, Krusel said. Customers can ask their dealers to inspect the lug nuts to make sure they're properly attached, she said.
The recall covers cars originally equipped with 17-inch steel wheels built at a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, NHTSA said in a letter to Ford. The wheels were supplied by Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. in Northville, Mich., and the brakes were supplied by Brembo North America Inc. in Plymouth, Mich., the agency said.
NHTSA began investigating Jan. 21, according to agency documents. The agency at the time was aware of 29 owner complaints, including four instances in which wheels had fallen off, and 128 warranty claims Ford had paid for fractured wheel studs.