Ford recalls 740K SUVs for power steering defects

Ford Motor is recalling 740,878 SUVs in the U.S. to fix a steering defect, according to a government filing.

It was one of four recalls that Ford issued Thursday.

The biggest is the compact SUV recall, covering 2008 to 2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariners made at Ford's Kansas City plant. Ford says in its filing that it also includes those outside the U.S., for a total of 915,527.

Ford says it is aware of five accident reports involving a total of six injuries related to the defect.

Ford says the defect involves a glitch that could result in loss of power steering in the vehicles. The issue has been under investigation within Ford since 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing. It took on new importance with an investigation by Canadian authorities last year. In January, Ford released a repair kit.

The issue centers around an intermittent electric connection in a torque sensor in the steering gear. When it happens, the system can detect when the driver turns the wheel, and then the system defaults to manual steering mode. In other words, no power steering. Since it takes a lot of effort to turn the wheel, a crash can result.

Ford says the previous generation of Escapes, one of its most popular models, aren't affected because they had a different steering design.


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