Ford is recalling 375,000 Explorer SUVs after a faulty part caused 13 crashes and six injuries.
The action covers about 350,000 of the 2013-2017 model year vehicles that were sold in the U.S. Another 25,200 were purchased in Canada. Most of the affected vehicles were sold in regions where corrosion is commonplace, the company noted.
The problem is that the outboard section of the Explorer’s rear suspension toe link can fracture. This can “diminish” the driver’s ability to steer and keep control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a collision. The vehicles in the recall were produced at the company’s Chicago Assembly Plant between Sept. 4, 2012 and Jan. 25, 2017.
At no cost to owners, dealers will conduct a torque inspection of the cross-axis ball joint to see if it needs to be replaced. The problem is actually a consequence of a different recall repair from last year, according to Ford officials.
The company issued a recall in June 2019 on selected 2011-2017 Explorers that regularly experience full rear suspension articulation. Those vehicles could also suffer a fracture of the rear suspension toe link. As is the case with the current recall, drivers could lose the ability to fully control the steering of their vehicle.
At that time, only one minor event occurred – a driver hit a curb when the link broke – and no injuries were reported. The automaker recalled 1.2 million vehicles at that time to resolve the issue. Those vehicles were also built in Chicago, but between May 17, 2010 and Jan. 25, 2017.
Affected vehicles were mostly sold in the U.S., but there were 28,000 in Canada and one in Mexico. Dealers replaced the left and right-hand rear suspension toe links with a new forged toe link and aligned the rear suspension.
The automaker has had similar issues with other vehicles, including the Ford Taurus and Flex as well as the Lincoln MKS and MKT. They recalled 12,000 vehicles in Canada for the same toe link problem.
Affected vehicles included:
- 2010-17 Ford Taurus vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant, July 2, 2009 to May 25, 2017
- 2009-17 Ford Flex vehicles built at Oakville Assembly Plant, May 7, 2008 to May 16, 2017
- 2009-15 Lincoln MKS vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant, May 28, 2008 to Sept. 10, 2015
- 2010-17 Lincoln MKT vehicles built at Oakville Assembly Plant, July 28, 2009 to May 29, 2017
Dealers replaced the left and right-hand rear suspension toe links with new forged toe links at no cost. These vehicles aren’t included in the 2020 recall of the Explorer.