Ford recalls more than 770,000 Explorer SUVs over steering fears

Ford is recalling more than 770,000 of its most popular SUVs, after multiple reports of injuries due to a flaw in the rear suspension. The issue, Ford confirmed today, occurs when parts of the suspension fracture, and in the process "significantly diminishes steering control, increasing the risk of a crash."

The issue affects select 2013 to 2017 model year Ford Explorer SUVs, the automaker said. In total, it believes around 774,696 of the vehicles will need to be repaired; of that, approximately 676,152 are in North America.

The remaining SUVs are spread around Ford's global markets. Approximately 59,935 are in China, 25,257 are in Ford's International Markets Group, 13,162 are in Europe, and finally 190 are in South America. Ford is blaming "high corrosion" regions for the issue, pointing to a combination of cold winter weather, relatively high humidity, and "substantial road salt use" for the suspension issues.

According to the automaker, the recalled Explorer vehicles "may experience a seized cross-axis ball joint that may cause a fractured rear suspension toe link. Affected vehicles may experience a clunk noise, unusual handling, or a misaligned rear wheel."

Even if you don't observe one of those three factors, it's worth checking when and where your Explorer was manufactured if you have one from the impacted model years. The recall covers Explorers built at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant between September 4, 2012 and September 30, 2017, along with at Elabuga Assembly Plant in Russia, between Januar 28, 2013 and July 28, 2017.

Ford says it has been alerted to six allegations of injury, related to the suspension issue, in North America.

Owners of affected vehicles will begin to be notified from the week of August 23. "Dealers will inspect the cross-axis ball joint, replace the cross-axis ball joint/knuckle as necessary, and replace the toe links with a revised design part," the automaker says. Meanwhile, a customer satisfaction program is being undertaken for vehicles not sold or registered in NHTSA corrosion states.

Two other new recalls affect F-350 and Lincoln Aviator

Also being announced today are two further recalls. First, there's a safety recall for around 34,939 2020-2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty trucks, equipped with the 6.7-liter engine and single rear wheel axle. They, Ford says, could be experiencing "a rear axle housing spring seat interface weld issue."

While Ford has not been alerted to any accidents or injuries related to the flaw, the situation is serious. "Customers may experience vibration and/or shaking while driving at highway speeds, and/or shuddering upon acceleration," the automaker explains. "In the event of a disconnected driveshaft, customers may experience loss of motive power while driving or loss of transmission park function if the parking brake is not applied, increasing the risk of a crash."

Finally, there's a safety recall for select 2020-2021 Lincoln Aviator SUVs, with approximately 40,995 believed to have a battery cable wire harness issue. The 3.0-liter gas version of the Aviator may not have properly secured wiring, which could leave it to rub against the vehicle's A/C compressor pulls and, over time, lead to a short circuit or even a fire.

Again, Ford is not aware of any injuries or accidents, or indeed fires, related to the recall.