Ford recalls more than 650,000 Explorers for faulty roof rail covers

May 10, 2021

Ford on Monday announced the recall of certain trims of the 2016-2019 Ford Explorer three-row SUV for a roof rail cover that can detach while driving and create a hazard for other vehicles.

Roof rail covers on base, XLT, Police, and Sport models might not be properly seated or the retention pins might not hold down the covers as designed. Explorers with roof rail covers painted Black, Absolute Black, or Silver are affected, but higher trim vehicles with plated roof rail covers are not being recalled. 

Owners may notice more wind noise than usual, as well as squeaks and rattles overhead. 

The recall affects 620,483 Explorers in the U.S., and another 40,679 in Canada and Mexico, Ford said. Late in 2020, Ford approved a one-time repair coverage for 10 years or 150,000 miles, but it wasn't enough to satisfy the NHTSA. Ford will secure the roof rail covers with plastic push pins at no cost to owners.

Owners should take the affected vehicles into Ford or Lincoln dealers, who will apply the additional pins and inspect for broken or damaged rail covers and replace where necessary. Ford estimates that 9% of Explorers produced in that time frame are affected.

Explorers made after the 2019 model year are not affected, since Ford used a different roof rack design for the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer, which had its own set of problems at launch, and subsequently had 11 recalls. Ford appears to have worked out the kinks with the 2021 Explorer.

Owners can expect notification as early as June 28, or they can visit Ford's recall site and enter their VIN or call Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 and reference recall 21S22. 

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