Federal safety regulators have upgraded their investigation into wheel defects in more than 310,000 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration posted a notice over the weekend that the investigation had been upgraded regarding the analysis of 317,315 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans in 2010 models because of complaints of wheel stud fractures. A wheel stud fracture can result in wheel seperation and loss of vehicle control.

The government originally opened the investigation in January for just the Ford models, however it is now expanded to include the Mercury models. The NHTSA has received 29 complaints and 128 warrenty claims. The NHTSA said there have been 4 reported wheel seperation incidents. A spokesperson for Ford said that the company is cooperating fully with investigators.

The majority of reports state that a significant noise and/or a vibration is present prior to the risk of wheel seperation. Ford says that most claims stated that the drivers reported hearing a noise, feeling vibrations, or seeing the broken studs which prompted them to bring the car in for service. The cars included in the investigation all had low milage, between 5,000 and 11,000 miles and the wheels had not ever been serviced prior to the incident.


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