Some 2011 Focus models built between Oct. 1, 2010 and Nov. 29, 2010 may drift to the left or right while on the open road. Once in your service bay, you'll probably also find that the steering wheel spokes are off center and that one or both of the rear tires are prematurely worn.
According to Ford, all these problems most likely are due to a bent lower control arm at the right rear corner of the car. A new, revised control arm, part No. 9S4Z-5A968-A, is available to address the concerns.
To nail the diagnosis, get the car on an alignment rack and look at the rear camber settings. If camber is within spec at both wheels, this information doesn't apply; continue troubleshooting until the cause of the steering woes is resolved. If the right rear wheel camber setting is way out of spec, go ahead and install the new control arm with confidence.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].