The latest Ford Explorer is getting recalled again, the NHTSA disclosed over the weekend. A rear axle bolt can fracture when in drive, and cause the driveshaft to disconnect. The SUV can then roll away when it is in park without the electronic parking brake applied.
More than 250,000 Ford Explorer and Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles are subject to the recall, including hybrid and gas models. Dealers were ordered to stop any demos or deliveries of the affected SUVs. Affected models include the following:
2020-2022 Ford Explorer
2020-2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid and plug-in hybrid
2020-2021 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor
2020-2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid Police Interceptor
If the rear axle bolt breaks, typically after several "peak torque" events from a stop, the driveshaft or half shafts can disconnect. Torque won't be transmitted to the rear wheels, which Ford says is necessary to hold the vehicle in park. If the parking brake is not applied, the loss of park torque can allow the vehicle to roll away.
Ford is aware of 235 warranty claims pertaining to the issue since December 2019 but claimed there are no injuries or crashes related to the issue. Owners may notice what has been described as loud, grinding, binding, or clunking noises.
Redesigned for 2020 on a rear-wheel-drive architecture, the sixth-generation Explorer had some initial quality control problems ranging from faulty air conditioning units to transmission issues that delayed the rollout of the popular three-row crossover. It's been recalled 13 times for a range of issues, from a rearview camera that didn't meet safety standards to broken control arm bolts that could disable steering.
Owners should expect notification by mail as early as June 6. Police vehicles will need to have a bushing and axle cover replaced, but other vehicles require a software update to the PCM unit. It will require a visit to a Ford or Lincoln dealer at no charge. Owners can contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or visit Ford's recall site.