It's January 24, and Ford is already almost one-third the way to all the recalls it had last year. That's saying something, seeing as how Ford was the most-recalled automaker in 2023 by a wide margin. 58 recalls were issued covering 6.1 million Blue Oval vehicles in the US last year, and now, 1.8 million Explorers in the States have trim pieces that could come off while driving.

That number expands to 2.2 million vehicles globally, according to Automotive News, and it all stems from a simple problem. Recall number 24V-031 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that "some of the exterior A-pillar applique trim clip attachments are not properly engaged due to improper assembly or repair." The issue affects Explorers from the 2011 through 2019 model years, and as you can probably guess, clips that "are not properly engaged" can lead to the trim piece flying off.

Gallery: 2018 Ford Explorer

Ford states there have been no accidents or injuries resulting from this failure. However, there appears to be a good deal of incident reports. Perusing a chronology report on the recall, Ford identifies 568 Vehicle Online Questionnaire reports and 14,337 warranty reports of the exterior A-pillar trim either detached or missing. 

Curiously, the report states that Ford conducted an initial investigation on its own back in 2018 at the request of the NHTSA. It was deemed to be "not an unreasonable risk to safety due to the low mass/geometry of the part with NHTSA alignment." That apparently changed in February 2023 when NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation of its own into the problem, ultimately deciding that yes, plastic parts flying off a car could be a safety hazard to other drivers on the road.

A Ford spokesperson emailed the following statement to Motor1 regarding the recall:

"Ford issued a recall Jan. 22 on certain 2011-2019 Ford Explorer vehicles for potential A-pillar trim detachment. We expect only 5 percent of the vehicle population to be affected and encourage customers to contact their dealership for an inspection when parts are available. At that point, customers will have free access to mobile repair and pick-up-and-delivery services at participating dealerships."

Fortunately, the fix is very simple. Ford dealers will inspect the Explorer's A-pillar trim and repair or replace if it's not securely fastened. Owner notification will begin in March, but folks with concerns can call Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 and reference Ford recall 24S02 for more information.

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