Ford is recalling more than 238,000 of its mid-size SUVs due to an axle bolt issue that can cause the vehicle to roll away.
The recall affects certain 2020 to 2022 Ford Explorer models, according to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Friday.
The federal safety regulator said the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt in some of these SUVs can fracture, causing the driveshaft to disconnect. This can cause a loss of drive power or the vehicle to roll away if its parking brake isn't applied, the agency said. Either scenario can increase the risk of the car crashing.
Of the known 396 reports of the rear axle bolt failures, Ford said less than 5% resulted in a loss of power or a rollaway vehicle, and no crashes or injuries have been reported due to the problem.
The recall comes after the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation opened an inquiry into the issue in June after receiving two complaints that repairs didn't work in two previous recalls from this year and last.
Ford said it had updated software to automatically apply the parking brake if the rear axle bolt were to fail, but they hadn't remedied the failed bolt.
To resolve the issue now, Ford dealers will replace a bushing and the rear axle bolt free of charge. The automaker will also inspect the rear axle cover for damage and replace it if any is found.
Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Nov. 6.
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