Ford on Friday announced a recall of more than 238,000 Explorer SUVs in the United States due to the possibility of a rear axle bolt failing, causing it to lose power or the SUV to begin rolling while parked.
Federal government regulators began investigating the problem after receiving two reports of repairs that did not work after previous recalls this year and last year.
Affected models from 2020 to 2022.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says in documents posted on its website Friday that the rear axle’s horizontal mounting bolt could break and cause the driveshaft to separate, increasing the risk of a crash.
Dealers will replace the rear hub bearing and bolt. They will also check the rear axle for any damage near the bolt hole and replace the cover if they find deterioration. Owners will be notified by letter beginning November 6.
Ford said in the documents that it received 396 reports of failed rear axle bolts, and that in less than 5% of cases there was a loss of traction or the vehicles rolled. The company said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries.
NHTSA began its investigation in June after receiving complaints of loss of traction due to rear axle bolt failure even though they had fixed Explorers in previous recalls.
Ford’s remedy was a software update that automatically engages the parking brake to prevent the car from rolling. But the axle bolt failure was not remedied, the agency said in the documents.