— A Ford Focus and Fusion power steering lawsuit will continue after U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied Ford's motion to dismiss the class-action lawsuit.
The power steering lawsuit has been going on since 2014 and at one point was dismissed by the judge, but she allowed the plaintiff to amend the complaint.
The power steering problems allegedly occur in the 2012-2014 Ford Focus and 2010-2014 Ford Fusion, causing the cars to lose power steering assist and revert to manual steering. The plaintiffs claim the gear assembly, wiring and sensors used in the system can all contribute to the problems.
According to the lawsuit, failure of the electronic power-assisted steering system makes driving difficult and dangerous, especially on curves or slow speeds.
The plaintiff claims when he experienced power steering problems, Ford said the repairs would cost $2,000 and the automaker would cover $1,000 of the cost, a deal the owner denied.
The original 2014 lawsuit said Ford knew about the power steering problems but refused to recall the cars, which left owners stuck with paying the repair bills. However, the automaker did recall some of the cars for steering problems after the lawsuit was filed.
In April 2015, Ford recalled the 2013-15 Ford Fusion to repair steering gear bolts that could break due to corrosion, and in May 2015, Ford recalled its 2011-2012 Ford Fusion cars after finding an electrical connection in the steering gear could leave a driver with nothing but manual steering.
Judge Koh said even with the recalls, the lawsuit should proceed so it can be determined what caused the defects and if Ford knew about the defects but concealed the problems from the public.
The lawsuit concerns the electronic power-assisted steering system that allegedly fails shortly after the warranty expires. The system comprises a torque sensor, power steering control motor, electronic control unit and a steering wheel position sensor.
Many Ford Fusion owners have complained to CarComplaints.com about a loss of power steering that caused dangerous conditions for driving.
"I was on the freeway when the power steering all but locked up. A message - 'Power Steering Assist Failure' - appeared on the dashboard. There was only enough play in the wheel to turn 1/4 of the way to the left and 1/8 to the right. I was unable to successfully turn off to the shoulder. The situation is now left where the dealership has an open ticket on my car...meaning if it happens again, I can bring the car back and they will replace the power steering module free of charge (covered under warranty). If I'm not in the hospital or morgue." - 2011 Ford Fusion owner / San Diego, California
"While backing up, my Fusion steering will lock and a power steering failure message will come up. I have to put the car back in park and then turn it off and start over. Typically, this is only required once but, of course, the day I was going to pick up my daughter to take her to the Emergency Room at 4 a.m., it locked up TWICE! Scary!" - 2011 Ford Fusion owner / Bloomington, Indiana
Saying the steering defect manifests itself suddenly and without warning, the Ford lawsuit says the automaker knows it is risking the safety of consumers by ignoring the steering problems.
The Ford Fusion and Ford Focus power steering lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California - William Philips et al v. Ford Motor Company.