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Feds investigate Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan braking problems

The agency said it received 141 complaints and reports of three accidents involving suspected brake problems on the cars.

By Ed Adamczyk
A Ford Fusion at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. An NHTSA report issued Tuesday said it has received 141 complaints about the brake going "soft" in older Fusions and in Mercury Milan models. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday it opened an investigation of the stopping distance of some Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan model years.
The agency's Office of Defects Investigation said it received 141 complaints about unexpected increases in the distance required to stop the car. A defect in the cars' Antilock Braking System (ABS) hydraulic control unit is suspected to be the problem. Some of the drivers who lodged complaints said that, after an ABS-assisted braking maneuver – on a rough surface or other irregularity in the road, for example – the brake pedal was observed to "go soft," requiring extraordinary pressure to activate the brakes. Some said their cars took too long to stop at traffic lights, causing the cars to eventually stop in the middle of oncoming traffic. Three crashes have been blamed on the braking problem.
The cars affected are Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan models from the years 2007 to 2009.
An NHTSA announcement Tuesday said the investigation began on Dec. 20 and is ongoing. It added that a preliminary evaluation was opened "to assess the scope, frequency, and safety-related consequence of the alleged defect."

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