The federal government said Friday that it has opened an investigation into more than 840,000 Ford Fusions made for model years 2014 through 2016 after three reports that their steering wheels could loosen and detach entirely.
"A detached steering wheel can result in a loss of vehicle control that may lead to a crash," the NHTSA said in a statement. "A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency, and safety-related consequence of the alleged defect."
The NHTSA probe comes as a result of two reports from owners that their Fusions' steering wheels came loose, leading to a dealership visit to have the main bolt that holds the wheel to the steering column tightened. A third report alleges that the steering wheel separated completely from the column as the driver was turning into a gas station.
Ford's Fusion is consistently one of the most popular cars in America, ranking in the top 15 new cars sold for each of the three years under investigation. The Fusion is sold with both gasoline and hybrid-electric powertrains, both of which are covered by the probe.
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"We are cooperating with the agency, as we always do," said Ford's Elizabeth Weigandt, who added that Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.
There's currently no recall out for the Fusion and the NHTSA probe may not necessarily result in one.