(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) said Wednesday it is recalling 1.38 million vehicles in North America for potentially loose steering wheel bolts that could detach, in an issue linked to two accidents and one injury.
The second largest U.S. automaker said the recall covers 2014 through 2018 model year Ford Fusion cars and 2014-2018 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built at plants in Michigan and Mexico. Dealers will replace the steering wheel bolt with a longer bolt.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation in October into 841,000 Ford vehicles over concerns the steering wheels may get detached while the cars are in motion.
The auto safety agency said it was investigating 2014-2016 model Ford Fusion cars after three reports of steering wheel bolts becoming loose, including one completely detaching as a driver attempted to turn into a gas station.
Steering wheel recalls are rare but not unprecedented.
In 2011, General Motors Co (GM.N) recalled 2,100 Cruze cars because the steering wheel could detach. It issued a separate recall for about 150 Buick Encore SUVs in 2013 over the same issue.
Ford said on Wednesday it was also recalling nearly 6,000 2013-15 Ford Fusion cars in North America with certain engines for clutch pressure plate fracture to address the risk of fire.
The company said repeated high-energy clutch slip input, made during gear changes, could lead to premature clutch lining wear; that, in turn, reduces the mechanical properties of pressure plate material, which could spur a leak of transmission fluid and result in a fire. Ford said it was not aware of any fires, accidents or injuries associated with this issue.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernadette Baum