NHTSA probing the adequacy of a recent Ford recall

Photo (c) Ablokhin - Getty Images

The safety regulator wants to determine if the remedy fixed the problem

Ford recalls a lot of cars and trucks. In late May the automaker recalled 175,000 Broncos to address a seatbelt issue. Earlier this month it recalled 422,000 Explorers and Aviators to repair a problem with the rearview camera display.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now opened an investigation into one of Ford’s previous recalls to determine whether the remedy was adequate. That recall, issued in March and April 2022, covered 710,000 Explorer SUVs and was meant to address reports of power loss.

According to NHTSA, the problem involved a rear axle horizontal mounting bolt that may fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect. The safety regulator is investigating to make sure the remedy Ford devised fixed the problem.

At the time, Ford said its remedy was focused on preventing so-called “roll-aways.” The remedy was designed to prevent vehicles from moving when left in “park” without the parking brake applied.

The issue popped up on NHTSA’s radar screen after the agency said it received two reports claiming a loss of power on the rear wheels in Explorer models that had undergone the remedy.

Did the remedy work?

According to NHTSA, Ford’s remedy involved updating the software that automatically applies the “electronic service parking brake” to keep the vehicle stationary. The agency said the automaker did not provide a remedy to address the failed rear axle horizontal mounting bolt "which is the basis of this safety issue and the cause of the impaired vehicle." 

"We are working with NHTSA to support their investigation as we always do," Ford said in a statement.

As ConsumerAffairs reported  last September, Ford was leading all other automakers at the time in the number of recalls in 2022 with 7.5 million. By way of comparison, GM only had 2 million at the time.

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