Ford recalls more than 675,000 Explorers for another suspension issue

The 2013-2017 Ford Explorer SUV has been recalled again for a fractured rear toe link that could increase the risk of a crash, Ford announced on Friday. 

A total of 676,152 Explorers are affected in North America, with nearly another 100,000 in other parts of the world. The 2013-2017 Explorer three-row crossover SUV has been recalled multiple times for rear toe link issues, including most recently in Oct. 30, 2020 when Ford expanded a previous recall from a year earlier for fractured toe links. Three of the nine recalls listed on the NHTSA for that generation Ford Explorer relate to suspension issues. 

The latest recall marks the fourth time this Explorer has been recalled for rear toe-link damage. The latest issue comes from cross-axis ball joints used in multi-link rear suspensions. The joints can seize, which can then cause the toe link to fracture. A fractured toe link can cause the driver to lose control of the rear wheels, which may lead to fishtailing and swerving. Owners may notice unusual handling, clunking noises, or a misaligned rear wheel. 

The ongoing toe-link issues have been ascribed to high-corrosion regions with a combination of cold winter weather in states that use road salt and have relatively high humidity in other seasons. TheNorth American plant is the Chicago Assembly Plant, which is a high-corrosion region; the other source of assembly related to the recall is the Elabuga plant in Russia. 

Ford is aware of six injuries related to the problem in North America. 

Owners can expect notification as early as Aug. 23. Dealers will inspect and replace the ball joint as needed, and replace the toe links. Ford’s reference number for the recall is 21S32. For more info to determine if your Explorer is affected, visit Ford’s recall site or visit the NHTSA’s recall page for the Explorer.