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Ford recalls 1.5 million vehicles over problems with brake hoses and windshield wipers

Ford is recalling about 1.5 million vehicles due to problems with their brake hoses or windshield wipers. It says owners can get those parts replaced for free.
Gene J. Puskar
Ford is recalling about 1.5 million vehicles due to problems with their brake hoses or windshield wipers. It says owners can get those parts replaced for free.

Ford is recalling nearly 1.3 million vehicles across the U.S. because of safety issues with their brake hoses, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It's also recalling about 220,000 F-150 pickups due to faulty windshield wiper arms.

The bigger recall affects Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans with model years from 2013 and 2018, for what the regulator describes as "suspect front brake jounce hoses."

Those are the rubber hoses that carry fluid from the brake line to the brake caliper. NHTSA says they could "rupture prematurely," in turn causing a progressive brake fluid leak.

"The driver may experience an increase in pedal travel together with a reduction in the rate of deceleration, increasing the risk of a crash," it explains.

Ford estimates that some 1.28 million vehicles are involved in the recall, and that 2% of those have the brake hose defect. It says it's aware of one crash, with no mention of injuries, related to the issue.

Warning signs include "a change to the brake pedal feel and travel" and the brake fluid warning indicator light turning on.

Ford recalled thousands of 2015-2018 Ford Edge and 2016-2018 Lincoln MKX vehicles across North America for the same brake hose issue in 2020. NPR has reached out to the company for comment on this latest recall.

What to do you if you might be affected

The hoses were used in Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ production between February 2012 and July 2017. How do you know if that applies to yours?

Ford plans to mail notification letters to owners of those vehicles between April 17 and April 28.

It says owners should bring their car to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to replace the faulty hoses free of charge.

"The remedy hoses have a different material braid that is more robust to the work done on the hose," NHTSA says.

If you're already wondering whether your car has the defect, you can call Ford's toll-free line at 1-866-436-7332 or contact your local Ford or Lincoln dealer.

And in general, you can use NHTSA's online search tool to check whether your vehicle is covered by any active recalls.

Ford is also recalling trucks over a separate issue

Meanwhile, Ford is also recalling about 220,000 F-150 pickup trucks from 2021 for defective windshield wiper arms.

Citing NHTSA, Consumer Reports says that the windshield wiper motors may fail prematurely because of a defective spline — meaning they could stop working (which is especially dangerous in stormy conditions) or break off altogether.

Drivers might notice one or both wipers moving slowly or erratically before that happens.

Ford says it's aware of at least 576 reports of inoperative or detached wiper arms and nine complaints to NHTSA, but no crashes or injuries related to the issue.

The company plans to contact owners of the affected trucks by mail starting on March 31.

They can then bring their vehicle to an authorized dealership to have its front windshield wipers inspected and, if necessary, replaced at no cost. Owners will be eligible for reimbursement if they had previously paid to get their wipers fixed.

Ford recalled some 450,000 F-150 trucks (from model years 2021 and 2022) for windshield wiper motor issues last November.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.