The Ford Motor Co. is recalling 238,364 Explorers because the rear axle mounting bolt on some models may fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a disconnected driveshaft can result in a loss of drive power or a vehicle rollaway if the parking brake is not applied.
"Either of these scenarios can increase the risk of a crash," NHTSA said in a letter of acknowledgment to the auto giant. "Dealers will replace the subframe bushing and rear axle bolt. They will also inspect the rear axle cover for damage near the bolt hole location and replace with a new cover if any damage is found."
The recall covers model years 2020 through 2022.
NHTSA said repairs would be performed free of charge, with notification letters to owners expected to be mailed on Nov. 6, 2023.
FILE - The Ford Motor Co. logo is displayed on the front of a 2011 Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle (SUV) during its unveiling in New York, U.S., on Monday, July 26, 2010. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ford said it was aware of 396 reports of rear axle bolt failures, less than 5% of which resulted in a roll-in-park or loss of motive power condition. The company also said it was not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue.
Ford, which has been mired in a strike involving the United Auto Workers union for over a month, is also under the spotlight of NHTSA. The regulator widened its investigation earlier this month into Ford SUVs built with a faulty valve that could lead to catastrophic engine failures.
The initial probe into the fault valve was launched in July 2022 and covered 25,000 vehicles. It has now expanded to 708,000 and includes an engineering analysis after NHTSA said multiple contributing factors were identified during the investigation of impacted Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer, F-150, Lincoln Aviator and Nautilus vehicles. The probe covers model years 2021 and 2022.
In August, the Michigan-based manufacturer recalled around 42,000 Super Duty F250 and F350 due to mechanical issue increasing the risk of a crash.