If you own a 2020 and newer Ford Explorer with hybrid tech, or an Explorer Police Interceptor, keep an eye on your mailbox because a recall could be heading your way. Based on a recent recall filing with NHTSA, Ford is recalling 250,000 Ford Explorers because of a rear axle horizontal mounting bolt that may fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect. A disconnected driveshaft is bad enough, however, this issue can also cause affected Explorers to roll forward while parked without the parking brake on.

Ford’s recent recall is specific to 2020-2022 Ford Explorer Hybrids, 2020-2021 Ford Explorer Interceptor Hybrids, an SUV we had the opportunity to test, 2020-2022 Explorer PHEVs, and 2020-2021 Explorer Police Interceptors. The NHTSA filing by Ford states, “Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Explorer Police FHEV, Explorer Police 3.3L, and 2020-2022 Explorer 2.3L RWD, 3.0L PHEV, 3.3 L FHEV, and 3.0L ST GAS vehicles. The rear axle horizontal mounting bolt may fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect.” 

The Ford Explorer Plug-in Hybrid may offer impressive fuel economy but we've seen it in action on the Autobahn in Germany where it wasn't exactly supercar fast. 

According to Ford’s recall filing the rear axle mounting bolt has the potential to fracture during vehicle acceleration. This fracture allows the rear axle housing to move out of position, resulting in severe noise and vibration. Ford goes on to explain, “If the rear axle bolt breaks, the driveshaft/half shafts may become disconnected, resulting in loss of transmission torque to the rear wheels which is necessary to hold the vehicle in park. If the parking brake is not applied, the loss of the primary park torque will allow the vehicle to roll in park increasing the risk of crash and injury.”

To remedy this issue, Ford plans to issue recall letters before June 6, 2022. Affected Explorers will be sent to dealerships for inspection and repair. Based on the Explorer model, dealers will either replace the bushing and axle cover or update the electronic parking brake software. Based on Ford’s NHTSA filing this recall is expected to cover 252,936 Explorers.

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