Ford Explorer recall prompts Department of Transportation to investigate

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Ford Motor Co. Recall over a quarter of a million Explorer SUVs in the United States after receiving complaints about repairs intended to prevent vehicles from rolling over unexpectedly even while parked in a parking lot.

The agency said the problem, which was attributed to fractures in a rear axle retaining bolt that could cause the driveshaft to separate, was addressed by a Ford software update designed to apply an electronic parking brake in the event of a driveshaft failure. But according to two vehicle owners’ complaints, their SUV behaved erratically after repair.

In one such instance, the Explorer will reportedly come to a complete stop at speeds of 30 or 40 mph. In the other case, it would reportedly start moving while the driver was trying to disengage the electronic brakes. No injuries were reported in these cases, although the first driver reported hitting the crankshaft when the Explorer began rolling downhill after an abrupt stop, apparently due to the driveline being disconnected.

The original recall covered some 2020 to 2022 Explorers with 2.3-liter engines, as well as 3- and 3.3-liter hybrids, and the 3-liter ST. Also included are the 2020 and 2021 Explorer Police hybrids and 3.3-liter gas engines. Both reported cases are for the 2021 Explorers.

A Ford representative said the company is working with NHTSA on the matter.

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