Ford Explorer Rollaway Recall Impacts 238,000 Vehicles from 2020-2022 Model Years

This latest Ford Explorer recall comes after federal safety officials determined that previously recalled vehicles that were repaired before July 2022 did not receive a complete software update, and may still roll away while parked.

More than 238,000 Ford Explorer vehicles are being recalled again, due to defects that may cause the vehicles to rollaway while parked; a problem which federal safety officials say should have been repaired in a previous recall, but may not have been.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Ford Explorer rollaway recall on October 12, after investigating multiple consumer complaints involving vehicles losing power or transmission torque to the rear wheels after receiving Ford’s recall remedy.

The vehicles have been subject to multiple recalls after it was discovered that the rear axle mounting bolts may prematurely and unexpectedly fracture, disconnecting the driveshaft. The failed driveshaft could then allow the vehicle to rollaway when parked, posing a serious injury risk for vehicle occupants, and those around the vehicle.

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Ford provided certain police vehicles with a new bushing and axle cover to remedy the issue, and provided retail vehicle owners with a powertrain control module (PCM) software update, which automatically applied the electronic parking brake (EPB) to prevent the vehicle from rolling away in the event of a rear axle mounting bolt fracture.

However, the NHTSA received multiple reports of continued issues with the repaired vehicles after receiving the software update, which prompted an investigation into the recall remedy.

Ford Explorer Rollaway Recalls

Ford initially became aware of the rear axle mounting bolt fracture issues in August 2021, after receiving several warranty claims involving loss of parking in certain newer Ford Explorer vehicles. Following hundreds of additional warranty claims involving the parking failures, a Ford Explorer recall was issued in April 2022, impacting approximately 252,936 model year 2020 through 2021 Explorer Police Full FHEV, Explorer Police 3.3L Gas, and model year 2020 through 2022 Explorer 2.3L RWD, 3.0L PHEV, 3.3L FHEV Retail, and 3.0L ST Gas vehicles.

Following at least two reports of Ford Explorer vehicles behaving erratically after receiving the software update remedy, a second Ford Explorer recall was issued in May 2023, impacting approximately 674 model year 2020 through 2022 Ford Explorer vehicles that had already been serviced by a certified Ford dealer. This prompted the NHTSA to initiate a Ford Explorer recall repair investigation in June 2023.

According to the NHTSA, the inadequate recall repair was due to the fact that Ford’s recall remedy program was launched before certified dealers received the calibrations necessary to implement a complete software update. Officials determined that vehicles repaired before July 2022 received only a partial PCM software update, but were not provided with an EPB update to prevent the vehicle from unexpectedly rolling away, as originally intended.

The NHTSA investigation also determined that vehicles previously subject to the rollaway recalls did not receive a new bushing, which prevents the transmission of vibrations through the vehicle, and recommended that another recall be issued in order to ensure they receive adequate recall repair.

The new recall impacts approximately 238,364 model year 2020 through 2022 Ford Explorer 3.3L FHEV Police, 3.3L Gas Police, 3.0L Gas Police, 2.3L RWD, 3.0L PHEV, 3.3L FHEV, 3.0L ST vehicles produced from October 22, 2018 until July 6, 2022.

While no injuries have been reported in relation to the recalls, Ford has become aware of at least 396 complaints involving rear axle bolt failure events, with some vehicles losing motive power or rolling away while parked.

Ford expects to notify owners of the recall by mail beginning on November 6, with instructions on how to receive free replacement of their subframe bushing and rear axle bolt by a licensed dealer. Dealers will also inspect and replace the rear axle cover if any damage is found.

For more information, owners may contact Ford customer service by phone at 1-866-436-7332, and reference recall number 23S55. They may also contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline by phone at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY1-800-424-9153), or visit their website at https://www.nhtsa.gov.

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