(Updates with customer complaints in seventh paragraph.)
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- 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.
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 website today.
Ford will notify owners. Dealers will replace lug nuts on all four wheels and inspect rear-wheel disc brake surfaces and replace them as necessary for some of the sedans with the model years 2010 and 2011, 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 in 2009 and 2010 at a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, NHTSA said in a letter to Ford. The wheels were supplied by Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. in Northville, Michigan, and the brakes were supplied by Brembo North America Inc. in Plymouth, Michigan, 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.
--With assistance from Keith Naughton in Detroit. Editors: Bernard Kohn, Andrea Snyder
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at email@example.com