Ford recalls 774,696 Explorer SUVs for possible steering control issue

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Friday announced three safety recalls in North America, including nearly 775,000 Explorer SUVs for an issue that may result in loss of steering control and thus increase the risk of a crash.

The Explorer recall includes approximately 774,696 2013-2017 vehicles that may experience a seized cross-axis ball joint that can cause a fractured rear suspension toe link. Ford said affected vehicles may experience a clunk noise, unusual handling or a misaligned rear wheel. Fracture of a rear toe link "significantly diminishes steering control, increasing the risk of a crash," the company said.

2017 Ford Explorer

The recall affects about 676,152 vehicles in North America, 59,935 in China, 25,257 in Ford's International Markets Group, 13,162 in Europe and 190 in South America.

"In the U.S., the affected vehicles are located in high-corrosion states as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or in regions with a combination of cold winter weather with relative high humidity and substantial road salt use," the automaker said in news release.

Owner notifications will begin the week of Aug. 23. Dealers will inspect the cross-axis ball joint, replace it if necessary and replace the toe links with a revised design part. The Ford reference number for the recall is 21S32.

Ford said it is aware of six claims of injury in North America related to the issue.

Meanwhile, the automaker also issued a safety recall for approximately 40,995 2020-2021 Lincoln Aviator vehicles equipped with a 3.0-liter engine. Ford said the battery cable wire harness in the vehicles may not be properly secured, allowing contact with the A/C compressor pulley. Over time, that pulley may rub through the wire harness insulation, coming into contact with a circuit and creating risk of a short circuit or fire. 

The recall includes 36,258 vehicles in North America, 2,601 in Ford's International Markets Group and 2,136 in China.

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents, injuries or fires related to the issue.

Owner notifications will begin the week of July 30. The Ford reference number for the recall is 21S34.

The automaker also is recalling approximately 34,939 2020-2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty vehicles with a 6.7-liter engine and single rear-wheel axle. The recall stems from what the automaker described as a "rear axle housing spring seat interface weld issue."

Affected vehicles may experience rear driveline disconnection, according to Ford. Drivers may experience vibration and/or shaking while driving at highway speeds, and/or shuddering when they accelerate. If the driveshaft becomes disconnected, drivers may experience loss of motive power while driving or loss of transmission park function if the parking brake is not engaged, increasing the risk of a crash.

The recall affects 34,855 vehicles in North America, with the rest in Ford's International Markets Group. 

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.

The automaker will begin notifying vehicle owners the week of Aug. 16. Dealers will inspect the rear axle; if it's deformed, the axle housing will be replaced. If not, the dealer will conduct a weld repair on the spring seats. The Ford reference number for the recall is 21S31.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski