• Recall affects 140,310 units of the 2012 Focus
  • Problem only on passenger side wiper
  • Ford notifying owners starting May 21

Ford will recall more than 140,000 Focus models to fix a defective windshield wiper motor. The automaker and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced the recall, which affects only the recently redesigned 2012 Focus.

According to Ford and the NHTSA, the passenger side wiper motor of affected models may contain a missing seal in a wiring harness connector. As a result, water or road debris may collect inside the connector, causing the wiper to malfunction. Of course, a defective windshield wiper could cause reduced visibility and may increase the risk of a crash.

Ford says the problem only affects the passenger side wiper motor of Focus models built between August 1, 2010 and October 18, 2011. The automaker also placed a "stop sale" order on unsold new Focus inventory, requiring dealers to hold delivery of affected models until the problem can be fixed.

Fortunately for Focus owners, the fix is simple. Ford says dealers will inspect affected Focus models, then clean and properly seal the passenger side wiper motor's wiring harness connector. Of course, the automaker says it will also replace any inoperative wiper motors free of charge as part of the recall. While Ford says it will begin to contact owners of affected vehicles by mail on May 21, concerned Focus drivers can call the automaker directly at 1-888-436-7332.

On sale since early 2011, the compact Focus is an integral part of Ford's recent product blitz that has seen the introduction of eight new or fully redesigned models in the last three years. Available as a sedan or 5-door hatchback, the 2012 Focus starts around $17,000 and features a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual or optional 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Last month, Ford sold a whopping 28,293 units of the Focus, slightly outpacing rivals like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

What it means to you: If you own a 2012 Focus, it's likely that you will soon receive a recall notice in the mail. If you're shopping for one, make sure the dealer has made any necessary fixes.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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