Reliability issues are a fact of life in the automotive sector. Sometimes, manufacturers recognize the need for a fix before the NHTSA gets involved. Other times, the NHTSA itself begins a probe of its own volition. That’s exactly why some 1.7 million Ford and Lincoln vehicles are now under scrutiny for failing brake line issues.
NHTSA probes aren’t all that uncommon and are usually spurred on by consumer complaints that revolve around what seems to be a singular issue. For example, the governmental agency launched an investigation with regard to the Ford Bronco and its seemingly faulty 2.7-liter engine.
Thankfully for Lincoln and Ford owners, the potential brake issues seem to only affect just two models built from 2013 until 2018, the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. Over time, the NHTSA has collected 50 different complaints of brake line failure related to these two vehicles. Only a single crash is allegedly related to the issue as of this writing and no injuries have been reported.
The NHTSA says that many of the complaints allege that the “brake hoses are rupturing, leaking brake fluid and occurring with little to no warning.” Of course, should that take place, there’s a good chance that braking performance would be dramatically reduced, which is a serious safety issue.
It’s not the first time that Ford has faced something like this. Back in 2020, the blue oval brand issued a recall for 488,594 vehicles made up of the Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX for similar brake line failures. The central issue for all vehicles mentioned above seems to be the brake hose’s internal braiding which is simply too weak to stand up to years of articulation associated with use.
Depending on the findings of the probe, the NHTSA could end up issuing a recall request to Ford or it could simply drop the issue altogether. For now, we’ll keep an eye on it and report when we find out more.