The Ford vehicles involved include the Ford Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150 and F-350. According to the complaint, while the drivers might reasonably expect to be able to replace a flat tire using the wrench that is supplied by Ford with these vehicles, in practice, they cannot because the wrench no longer fits over the lug nuts if they swell or delaminate.
According to the complaint, filed by Ford drivers from seven states, the lug nuts that secure the wheels to Ford’s Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150 and F-350 vehicles are made with a steel core and a chrome, aluminum or stainless steel cap that improves the product’s appearance but swells and delaminates. This purported defect renders the Ford-provided wrench useless, making drivers pay more than $30 per wheel, plus labor, to replace the parts and often stranding the drivers on the side of the road with a flat tire.
Consequently, drivers who have a flat tire can become stuck on the side of the road they are unable to fix themselves, putting them in a “precarious and dangerous place,” the lawsuit states. When drivers do make it to a repair facility, they typically have to pay for the labor of removing the defective lug nuts as well as new parts, the complaint states.
Further, the drivers claim that Ford doesn’t replace the faulty lug nuts, even if the parts fail within the new vehicle warranty period. This forces the affected vehicles owners to “spend hundreds of dollars for new lug nuts and the labor to install them,” the lawsuit states.
Ford customers have submitted “numerous complaints” to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which Ford monitors, the complaint states. Therefore, the automaker is aware of the problem, according to the lawsuit.
The drivers seek to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased or leased an affected vehicle as well as classes of drivers in each of the 50 states. It is estimated that millions of vehicles have been affected.
The drivers are represented by Steve W. Berman and Thomas E. Loeser of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and E. Powell Miller and Sharon S. Almonrode of The Miller Law Firm PC.
The case isJosh Wozniak et al. vs. Ford Motor Company, case number 2:17-cv-12794 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.