Ford has issued a recall on more than 238,000 Explorers in the U.S. due to a rear axle bolt that can fail, potentially causing a loss of drive power or allowing the SUVs to roll away while parked.
Recently, U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation into the problem after receiving two complaints that repairs didn’t work in two previous recalls this in 2022 and 2023.
The vehicles affected are certain Explorers from the 2020 through 2022 model years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted documents on their website on Friday detailing that the cars rear axle horizontal mounting bolt has been known to fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect, increasing the risk of a crash.
Ford Dealers will replace a bushing and the rear axle bolt. They also will inspect the rear axle cover for damage near the bolt hole and replace the cover if damage is found. Ford Explorer owners will be notified by letter starting Nov. 6.
Ford has reported they know of 396 accounts of rear axle bolt failures, and of those fewer than 5% caused loss of power or let vehicles roll while they were in park. Ford has not been made aware of any crashes or injuries.
NHTSA originally began their investigation in June on the issue after receiing complaints alleging loss of power due to failure of rear axle bolts even though the Explorers had received repairs under the previous recalls.
Ford’s answer was to update software that automatically applied the parking brake to keep the vehicles from rolling away, however there was no remedy addressing the failed axle bolt.