NHTSA closes probe into Ford TRW power steering defect

ford logo NHTSA closes probe into Ford TRW power steering defectApproximately 850,000 Ford vehicles investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for steering issues are not going to undergo a full recall.

The Ford cars, including the 2010-12 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKX and 2010-11 Mercury Milan, all with a rack mounted Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) component built by TRW, were included in the Ford investigation. Consumers have been complaining that the first-generation steering assist was failing in the vehicles, putting drivers in scary situations while on the road. As a result, nearly 393,000 vehicles featuring the first-generation TRW system were recalled last July.

According to Ford, the TRW system suffered from intermittent electrical connections caused by ribbon cable pin misalignment in the steering gear and coat contamination. If the issues were to occur in one of the affected Ford vehicles, the monitor position sensor signal would fail and result in a loss of power assist.

In order to repair the power steering issue, Ford revised the vehicle’s steering assist software to allow the driver audible and visual warnings that there is an issue with the power assist. If the vehicle displays significant problems, the automaker will replace the power assist system completely.

The NHTSA investigation into the Ford TRW power steering defect revealed a total of 2,584 power assist-related complaints, as well as 9,967 Ford warranty claims linked to the problem. NHTSA described its “analysis identified 40 complaints alleging crashes that may be related to loss of steering assist while driving, 20 of which involved vehicles included in Ford’s recall. The information available for the alleged crashes were not sufficient to assess specific causes of the incidents or to verify EPAS malfunctions in each case.”

The safety agency also noted in the Ford investigation that “most of the crashes were low-speed impacts with curbs or roadside objects resulting in wheel or minor body damage. None of the injury claims indicated medical attention was required.”

Source: Detroit News