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Ford recalls 1.4 million cars because their steering wheels might come off

Steven Armstrong, head of Ford Motor Co.’s European operations, speaks at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland on March 6. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News)
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Ford said Wednesday that it is recalling nearly 1.4 million cars in North America after the company discovered that steering wheels in two vehicle models could come off while driving. The Michigan-based automaker said bolts on the steering wheel may become loose, leading to a loss of control and an “increased risk of a crash.”

Ford said it is aware of two accidents, with one injury, allegedly related to the defect.

The two affected vehicles are the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ, from the 2014 through 2018 model years. The vast majority of the recalled cars are in the United States, but nearly 80,000 vehicles are in Canada and Mexico, according to the company. Ford said dealers will replace, at no charge to customers, the potentially faulty steering wheel bolt with one that is longer and more robust.

Ford is also recalling about 6,000 Ford Fusion vehicles with manual transmissions and certain engines in a separate issue: a risk of fire from clutch plate fractures.

The company said that when drivers repeatedly change gears, the clutch lining can prematurely wear down, degrading the pressure plate. A worn or fractured plate could cause transmission fluid to leak near an ignition source, leading to a fire, Ford said.

But the company said it is not aware of any fires, accidents or injuries caused by the issue.

Ford is the second-largest automaker in the United States.

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