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Ford recalls 1.28 million sedans over brake fluid leaks

The defect affects how quickly a car decelerates while braking, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

New Ford Fusions for sale in Butler, Pa., in 2015. (Keith Srakocic/AP)
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Ford is recalling about 1.28 million Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans over concerns that collapsed fluid hoses might slow the rate of deceleration when braking, increasing the risk of an accident.

The recall covers about 1,167,000 Fusions and almost 113,000 Lincoln MKZs made between 2013 and 2018, about 2 percent of which are affected by the braking issue, according to a recall document made public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ford is aware of one report of a related accident but no injuries or deaths, according to NHTSA.

The agency stated that the problem stems from “suspect” front brake jounce hoses, which are the rubber hoses that connect the metal brake line to the brake caliper. They can bend over time, which poses the risk of rupturing and leaking braking fluid, according to NHTSA. When this happens, drivers may notice a change in how a braking system feels. A warning light should also illuminate.

Ford says the brakes do not fail completely because they are designed with two isolated circuits, providing redundancy in the case of a hose rupture. But two customers who experienced reduced braking told Ford that the issue caused them to lose confidence in the braking system, although they kept driving their cars and had no problem stopping.

It is not the first Ford recall involving problems with a front brake jounce hose. An NHTSA document shows Ford began tracking similar problems on another vehicle, the Ford Edge SUV, after reports of hose ruptures in China and South America. For the next two years, it investigated vehicles that shared the parts in question while phasing them out of factory production.

Two other vehicles sharing the same braking materials, the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, were found to have a “low but increasing” rate of hose ruptures over the course of their useful life. In August 2020, the automaker recalled nearly half a million of them to correct the problem.

Owners of the affected vehicles are to be notified by mail from mid-to-late April and instructed to find a Ford or Lincoln dealer for repairs, according to NHTSA.