Ford's Wayne, Michigan, assembly plant apparently forgot to install a rubber seal plug on a windshield wiper motor harness on more than 140,000 examples of the 2012 Ford Focus sedan, which has prompted the National Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall.
The absent rubber seal means that water can get into the wiring harness and short out the passenger-side wiper motor, which could reduce visibility in rainy conditions.
No injuries or deaths have occurred as a result of the problem thus far, according to NHTSA. Ford will begin inspecting and adding seals where needed beginning in May.
Focus pulled from rental fleets
Since the Focus is a common sight on rental car lots, the recall means that some fleet operators have begun pulling the compact sedan range until the cars can be fixed.
"In keeping with our commitment to putting our customers' safety first, we have begun the process of grounding all affected vehicles until approved repairs can be made," said Tom Gartland, president, North America, Avis Budget Group, in a statement released to the media.
"Our systems allow us to have full control over the affected vehicles in our inventory, so that our customers may have peace of mind knowing they will not receive a rental car from Avis or Budget which is subject to a safety recall."
Avis Budget Group says that its roughly 10,000 affected 2012 Focuses will be sidelined until their wiper seals can be replaced. Avis Budget says that it has placed Focuses on "hard hold" in its reservation computers, which prevents them from being rented out.