By on May 10, 2021

2017 Ford Explorer Sport

Ford Motor Co. is recalling over 660,000 2016-2019 model year Explorer sport utility vehicles over the suspect roof rails the company initially claimed were probably fine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration got involved last year, following a string of complaints of the rail cover loosening and sometimes being jettisoned from the vehicle, and recommended the automaker bring them in for repairs.

But Blue Oval felt that was unnecessary, claiming the odds of one decoupling were extremely low and likely to be battened down before anything happens. Besides, they’re just fiddly little pieces of trim and unlikely to do much damage. Obviously, opinions have changed since then with documentation from the NHTSA confirming Ford is moving ahead with the mostly voluntary recall. 

A report, first shared by Reuters, verifies that Ford’s Critical Concerns Review Group was informed in May of 2020 — immediately after the NHTSA made its inquiry to the automaker. At the time there were 11 reports of detaching or loosening rail covers. Ford launched an investigation that wrapped in August of 2020, suggesting that the component was of low risk and would likely be noticed rattling long before it ended up flying off the car. However, Ford did extend its warranty to cover the issue for 10 years or 150,000 miles before this year’s recall was made.

The automaker met with regulators again in April. While Ford maintained that continued research showed the risks were low, especially in regard to heavier, plated roof rails, the NHTSA still wanted a recall. A compromise was reached and the recall now pertains exclusively to rail covers that have been painted silver or black. It looks like the thinner, plastic sleeves don’t stand up as well to the thermocycling created by direct sunlight — which is what Ford’s blaming their failure upon.

Customers will be receiving notifications from the manufacturer starting June 28th and can schedule an appointment to have their potentially warped rail covers replaced free of charge.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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16 Comments on “Ford Recalling 661,000 Explorer SUVs for Real This Time...”

  • avatar

    Not a big deal, unless it’s YOUR windshield that gets cracked when the roof rack on the Exploder in front of you at 70mph on the freeway disintegrates!

  • avatar

    Quality is Job One.

  • avatar

    And to think…quality then was worlds better than it is now.

    Fords are just garbage. There is no other way to describe their vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      Not the trucks and Mustang. Everything else, though, is junk.

      • 0 avatar

        No the trucks are suffering from numerous quality issues as well although that has been the case for a few years.

        Batch holds due to poor quality, major rust issues with the new trucks before they hit dealer lots, even had numerous issues with their new F150. They are the lowest quality trucks on the market.

        • 0 avatar

          Maybe that’s related to the new body 2021 truck.
          Personally, my current 2016 has close to 90k and has never had any issue and my previous 2011 had over 100k on it with 0 issues. I’m a picky person as well, so I wouldn’t just let something slide! Professionally, I see hundreds a month pass through and they have the least amount of problems that need to be addressed, with Ram next in line. GM has the most problems that we see. Toyota is good as well, but there are very few of those out there in comparison.

          • 0 avatar

            The older ones (outside of the EgoBust models) were better. But starting with the 2015 and Alan Mulallys penchant for lowering quality to save money, what was once a product that wasn’t part of Ford’s typical low quality cost cutting became a victim. It started with little things like door handles and corrosion from the aluminum (Ford has always had issues with that) but now it’s exploded and there are quality issues throughout, starting with the 2018 reskin and moving to the 2021 reskin.

  • avatar

    Meh, another month, another Ford recall…

    • 0 avatar

      The DPS6 Powershift debacle stumbles on. Ford just gave $49K for a bum tranny. It’s got to be frustrating beyond belief for design engineers when they tell their seniors that something is high risk and probably fail in the field, yet they push it through to production release regardless.
      PS To be fair Ford is not alone in this.

  • avatar

    Gotta admire the sheer efficiency of a roof rack made with so little material that a layer of paint is the only thing stopping it from exploding in the wind.

  • avatar

    Well, you know that thermocycling… guess Ford figured their cars would get thermal damage from catching fire before the sun got ’em…

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