This NHTSA investigation comes after the government agency received four complaints of fractured wheel studs on a variety of 2010 Ford Fusion sedans but this news has an odd twist to it. Three of the four 2010 Fusions on which this investigation is based are from the same 22-vehicle corporate fleet – although different drivers were behind the wheel of the vehicles alleged to have had wheel studs fail. For those of you reading this who have never had experience using or maintaining fleet vehicles, they are usually treated like free rental cars, with the drivers being much harder on them than they would be on their own vehicles. Unfortunately, there has been no background as to what type of fleet or company owns the Fusions with the possibly-faulty wheel studs but that could have a great deal to do with the failures causing the investigations.
All four of the 2010 Ford Fusion sedans at cause for this investigation had very low mileage (between 5,000 and 11,000) and they were all fitted with base-level steel wheels with hubcaps. The reports do not state that there have been any accidents or injuries but one of these vehicles has supposedly experienced wheel stud failures on multiple wheels. In a worst-case scenario, broken wheel studs would allow the wheel to separate from the vehicle – causing a very clear safety issue.
This investigation affects 280,000 2010 Ford Fusion models and should the NHTSA find that the lugnuts are faulty beyond those four vehicles involved in the complaints, Ford could be facing a recall although something like a lugnut recall would be fairly quick and inexpensive.
Source: The Detroit News