Ford Issues Tiny Recall on Escape and Explorer PPU, Larger Recall on Transit Van
Exactly three Escapes and four Explorers are affectedby Mark McNabb, on
Ford just issued two of the smallest safety compliance recalls in history. The automaker has reason to believe three 2016 Escape crossovers and four Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles left the factory with defects, which could potentially cause harm to users. These laughably small recalls are juxtaposed against another recall announced at the same time. This one affects 402,000 Transit vans built between 2015 and 2017. While these larger recalls have seemingly become “business as usual” for automakers, it’s rare to hear a voluntarily recall for vehicles in the single digits.
In fact, only BMW has Ford beat, according to online information. It recalled a single – one, uno, 1.0 – 2017 X3 xDrive28i back in October of 2016 for an issue with its electronic power steering. Of course, I’m not counting boutique automakers with relatively tiny production numbers like McLaren, Pagani, and Koenigsegg. At the opposite end of the recall spectrum, the ongoing Takata airbag recall has entangled more than two-dozen automakers and nearly 70 million vehicles. The recall began in 2013 due to faulty inflators that could explode upon airbag deployment, sending metal shrapnel into passengers’ faces. Sadly, at least 11 deaths and more than 150 injuries have been reported in the U.S. alone. Thankfully, Ford has no reports of injuries resulting from the Explorer, Escape, or Transit van. So what exactly is prompting these recalls? Keep reading to find out.
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What These Recalls Are About
Ford says four of its 2017 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, which are based on the Explorer, could be missing inboard anchor bolts on the second-row bench. Obviously, if the seat isn’t secured to the floor, passengers could experience an extra wild ride in a collision. That’s especially true for these police cars since most have steel cages ahead of second-row passengers. As mentioned, Ford is unaware of any injuries from this issue. The Explorers in question were built on January 20, 2017, at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois.
As for the three Escape models, Ford says the driver’s knee airbag might not properly inflate during a crash due to low levels of inflator gas generant material. These three Escapes were built on December 18, 2015, at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. While knee airbags are a relatively new safety system and vehicles have gone without them for 100 years, they are part of the Escape’s advertised (and NHTSA rated) safety equipment. Having them work properly is important. But, as least they’re not shooting shrapnel like Takata’s airbags. Likewise, no injuries have been reported from this issue.
The Transit van recall is a bit more concerning. Apparently, a flexible coupling along the driveshaft can crack and sheer, potentially leading to a loss of power while driving, or worse, a vehicle roll-away if parked without the parking brake engaged. In addition, the severed driveshaft could potentially damage brake and fuel lines in the surrounding area. The recall is widespread across the Transit lineup and includes the cargo and passenger Transit with the medium, long, and extended wheelbases. The medium-wheelbase chassis cab Transit is included, too. In total, 402,462 North American Transits are under the recall, with 370,630 in the U.S., 26,254 in Canada, 3,217 in Mexico, and 2,361 in U.S. Territories.
Ford says the affected Transits were built between January 17, 2014 and June 15, 2017, equating to the 2015 through 2017 model-year vans.
Interestingly enough, Ford says the flexible coupling isn’t likely to fail before 30,000 miles. What’s more, a permanent solution to the deteriorating part hasn’t been found, so Ford will continually replace the coupling on every Transit every 30,000 miles. So Transits with less than 30,000 miles are fine until hitting the magic number. After that, the coupling will be replaced every 30,000 miles, or until Ford finds a longer-lasting solution. It’s not a pretty solution, but you’ve got to applaud Ford for going the extra step.
As with any recall, the seat anchors, knee airbags, and driveshaft couplings will be fixed at no cost to the owners. Ford dealerships will be contacting the owners of these affected vehicles to schedule a service date. Customers can also input their VIN into the NHTSA’s online database of vehicle recalls.
I reached out to Ford about these recalls, specifically regarding how problems can be traced to individual vehicles, but have not received a response. I’ll bring an update if that changes.