2018 Ford Fusion Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Build quality, steering, brake and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2018 Ford Fusion is marketed as a reliable vehicle at a reasonable price. The automaker claims that newer models are a “big part of the big picture.” Yet, customers are struggling with numerous parts, including the steering, service brakes, engine, structure and air bags.


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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Ford Fusion

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Engine And Engine Cooling
Fuel/propulsion System
Air Bags
Seat Belts

Problems with the Steering

The key to staying on the road is to have a steering system that is responsive and accurate. However, the 2018 Ford Fusion is causing some concern with drivers.

Here is one NHTSA complaint to consider. “When the temperature outside goes over 70 degrees, there’s creaking noises underneath, sometimes very loud when turning, even when parked, moving the steering wheel left or right makes the noise. Looking online, there are several complaints that report the same problem. My car has only 72k miles and it feels like something is going to break. It has been happening all summer this year and it’s getting louder. This has to be a recall.”

Actually, it did turn into a recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V167000 states that more than one million vehicles are possibly equipped with a loose steering wheel retaining bolt that could cause the steering wheel to detach while driving. Obviously, if this occurs, there is no longer control over the vehicle. If anyone wants to get a feel for the “big picture” this problem might cause, just go watch the cartoons where the wheel comes off in the driver’s hands. However, in these situations, it’s just not that humorous.

Problems with the Engine

There’s no question that a car’s engine is one of the most vital components. When it runs smoothly, the journey is enjoyable. When it doesn’t, well…

Read this NHTSA review. “Coolant leaked internally. Rough while idling. Loss of power while driving down the interstate.”

Coolant leaking into the engine is a major defect that shouldn’t occur with modern vehicles. However, this is the least of the Fusion’s problems. Service Bulletin #SSM 47922 also discusses issues that are causing the oil filter housing center stem to become damaged and separated. When this happens, oil flows through the reservoir drain port, leading to low oil pressure and engine damage. So, what is the “big picture” Ford has planned with the Fusion? Is it to get a new engine every few years?

Problems with the Air Bags

What is the most important safety feature in any vehicle? Aside from the seat belts, the air bags are probable the most needed. Yet, this system is also defective with the Fusion models.

Another NHTSA complaint states, “Takata airbag. Received notice of airbag recall over two years ago. Still no remedy. We want to use the vehicle for vacation travel but are worried about the safety of the person in the passenger seat.”

These people have been waiting for two years to have the air bag problem fixed. During that time, it’s likely that Ford didn’t suspend their car payments out of courtesy. No; instead they are expected to drive a dangerous vehicle. Aside from the massive air bag recall, there are other concerns. Service Bulletin #SSM 46901 talks about the air bag indicator light illuminating, stating that the system is not working. Since Ford isn’t going to fix it, the only solution would be to leave the passenger seat open, making this five-passenger vehicle a four-seater instead.

Problems with the Brakes

Brakes are another necessary feature to remain safe, but once again the Fusion just fails.

Here is one more NHTSA complaint worth reading. “I was driving home from work through a residential district and was slowing to make turns, I experienced a horrible screeching noise that was coming from what sounded like the front driver side wheel area. It sounded like the screeching of metal on metal. I found a safe location and pulled off the road in a residential neighborhood. The issue occurred again while tow truck operator was driving the vehicle on the back of his flatbed and again appeared to correlate the use of the brake while driving it up the inclined flat-bed.”

In this situation, Ford has not issued any communications. The automaker appears to remain silent in hopes that people stop focusing on how much of a lemon the Fusion is. Still, getting behind the wheel of this vehicle is like driving a deathtrap. From the steering wheel that can fall off to the air bags which won’t deploy, there’s so much wrong before even dealing with the malfunctioning brake system. This Ford vehicle should be getting a closer look at the “big picture” from the junkyard.

Problems with the Build Quality

Looking at all of the defective systems of the Fusion, one can assume that the structure of this vehicle is made to the same level of quality.

That’s what is seen with this Edmunds review. “I liked the Fusion but found out the hard way that nothing locked in the trunk is safe. Our back passenger window was broken and they were easily able to pull the back of the backseat down and take everything we had in the trunk. We were headed on vacation and luggage…everything was taken. Please don’t leave anything locked in the trunk and think it is safe. The trunk is very easy to get into.”

Ford hasn’t been quiet about structure-related issues. Even Service Bulletin #TSB 20-2233 talks about how the newer models are struggling with corrosion of the aluminum body panels. There might even be some peeling paint and bubbling occurring too. Of course, the only solution is to replace the panels, but what is causing the trouble in the first place? Maybe the automaker was too busy looking at the “big picture” to pay attention to such important details. Either way, the Fusion is falling apart at the seams.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Ford pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Samuel J

    My 2018 Ford Fusion has been a great car until it hit the 60,000 mile mark.. First the Radio went out total black screen.. Then the check Engine light came on.. and now the shifter dial is getting stiff. I keep up with all the maintenance on my Fusion. But it seem like the car was built to fail after 50,000 miles. And most of my miles are highway

  • Cody

    My comment is with powertrain. It’s usually the battery and usually get it in before you experience worse lop problems and start to to get the power steering looked at

  • David R

    I own a 2018 Ford fusion hybrid and I had my local dealership service my check engine light. Well it was the ecm. I went back 5 seperate times to fix this issue. O2 sensors complete wiring harness eventually a new ecm. Well my check engine light is still on and the dealership said they needed to talk to ford’s engineers because they did all they could to fix the problem. Well I still am driving around with my check engine light on and if I ever want to sell the car I won’t be able to.

  • Tyler

    While the hybrid isn’t the quickest, it isn’t horrible, a little doggie but it gets the job done. I have had mine for 9 months, i drive a lot for work so I love the gas millage. The car its self is beautiful, love the body lines and the size of the car and all the options I got for the price.

  • Jack

    My 2020 walks wagon Jetta is not working good and is still under warranty. I have been facing the transmission problem with my new car .

  • Genita G

    In January of 2020 I was driving on an interstate. Because of traffic, I was only traveling 35-40 MPH. Suddenly the truck in front of me stopped & as I used my brakes, they instantly went to the floor, causing me to hit the truck in front of me, thus causing him to hit the car in front of him. I was in shock, because there was absolutely no reason for this wreck. I wasn’t speeding nor following too close. I wasn’t given a citation but my insurance repairs all 3 vehicles. I took the vehicles to a Ford dealership where they determined there was nothing wrong with the brakes, but there was. I am not dreaming this up. I contacted multiple attorneys but each said they didn’t handle cases like this. Not that I wanted big bucks, I just wanted to prevent anyone else from going through the same thing. What if the brakes fail with someone crossing the street? How many people have had wrecks and their insurance premiums skyrocketed because of Ford’s brakes? There are many complaints of Fusion brakes, but not that many with 2018 cars. I don’t believe that.

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