In what’s now Ford’s largest recall of this year not related to the Takata airbag inflator crisis, Ford has issued a global recall that includes approximately 644,000 Explorer SUVs in an effort to combat an issue that could lead to fractured rear suspensions.
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Affected vehicles include model-year 2013-17 Explorers built at the automaker’s Chicago Assembly Plant between Sept. 4, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2017, now located in high-corrosion states that combine cold weather, relative high humidity and substantial road salt use, according to Ford.
The affected Explorers 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 misaligned rear wheel. Fracture of a rear toe link significantly diminishes steering control, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford said it is aware of six related allegations of injury in North America.
To resolve the problem, dealers will inspect the cross-axis ball joint, replace the ball joint and knuckle as necessary, and replace the toe links with a revised design part. Ford will begin notifying owners Aug. 23. Ford also said it’s providing a customer satisfaction program for vehicles not sold or registered in corrosion states. If you have further questions, you can call the automaker at 866-436-7332, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit its website to check their vehicle identification number and learn more.
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