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Loose steering wheels trigger Ford recall of 1.4M Fusion, Lincoln MKZ cars

Steering wheels that can become loose or detach entirely triggered a recall of 1.38 million Ford and Lincoln cars in North America.

Ford Motor said Wednesday it is issuing a safety recall for the 2014 through 2018 model-year Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans.

More: 10 times Ford steering wheels came loose or off, causing massive recall

The recall comes after officials discovered the cars have “potentially loose steering wheel bolts that could result in a steering wheel detaching from the steering column,” Ford said in a statement.

The recall adds to Ford’s mounting quality issues. The company recently has been bedeviled by a separate cascade of door-latch recalls — doors that could fly open when cars made a turn — now affecting several million vehicles and costing more than $600 million.

Taken together, the quality failures underscore the challenges facing new CEO Jim Hackett, who must get the company’s present business on track while charting a course for an expensive future defined by electric cars and self-driving vehicles.

Drivers have revealed harrowing stories for months to NHTSA about the steering wheels that became inoperative on the highway.

“While driving on (the) interstate, steering wheel came loose and car veered off interstate. I regained control but steering wheel is still loose. Repairs will cost beyond my means at this moment,” a driver in Harriman, Tenn., reported Tuesday.

A Lake Island, Ill., driver, in a statement to NHTSA in November, wrote, ““While driving approximately 55 (miles per hour), the steering wheel turned 360 degrees independently without warning. In addition, the steering wheel detached from the vehicle.”

And in October, a Columbia, Tenn., motorist reported details of a dangerous drive in which he had the family insurance agent as a passenger.

“The steering became a little wobbly over the past two weeks and on Saturday while driving to Athens, I went to turn in gas station and the steering wheel fell off in my lap,” the motorist said.

The latest recall affects 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S., about 62,000 in Canada and about 14,000 in Mexico.

The automaker said it had identified at least two accidents potentially connected to the defect, as well as one injury.

The recall covers the 2014 through 2017 Fusion made at Ford’s Flat Rock, Mich., plant from Aug. 6, 2013, through Feb. 29, 2016; 2014 through 2018 Fusions made at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant from July 25, 2013, through March 5, 2018; and 2014 through 2018 Lincoln MKZs made at the Hermosillo, Mexico, plant from July 25, 2013, through March 5, 2018.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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