Ford Recommends Bronco and Ranger Owners Have Their Nuts Checked

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The Ford Motor Company is recalling a small number of Bronco and Ranger models built this year over what has to be one of the most straightforward defects we’ve seen in a while. Based on reports issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there’s a chance the driver-side lug nuts might not have been tightened sufficiently at the factory.

Having a wheel fly off your vehicle is less than desirable. But the fix for this one is pretty straightforward and probably can be handled by anyone with a torque wrench. Still, Ford said it would prefer affected Bronco and Ranger hold off on driving their vehicles until they’ve been inspected and repaired. There’s always the chance those loose nuts could have done some damage if you’ve been driving on them.

From Ford:

Owners will be notified and instructed to not drive their vehicles until torque has been verified on the front and rear left-side wheel lug nuts. Owners will be given the option to make arrangements with their dealer for mobile repair at the vehicle location (participating mobile service dealers) or to have the vehicle towed to the dealership to have the lug nuts inspected and to make any necessary repairs to the lug nuts, wheel studs and wheels. As an interim action, instructions will be provided for an owner to conduct the torque verification should they have the desire and capability to do so. Instruction for validating lug nut torque is also found in the owner’s manuals of the affected vehicles. In all instances, the vehicle must be inspected by a Ford or Lincoln dealer for torque validation, component damage and completion of the repair. There will be no charge for this service.

The campaign ( recall number 23V-283) includes 992 examples of the Bronco and 422 units of the Ranger assembled between February 9th and February 13th of 2023. But Ford thinks only 19 percent of the whole actually have improperly tightened lug nuts.

Based on that narrow window, it looks like whoever was in charge of the task was having an exceptionally bad week. Though it’s likewise possible that one of the impact wrenches used on the assembly line could have been working improperly. Whatever the case, it’s something you’ll want dealt with before you do any additional driving if you happen to be the owner of a new Ranger or Bronco.

The NHTSA documents state that the agency has received a field report of at least one wheel coming off and allegedly smacking into another vehicle. However, Ford has said it’s not aware of any formal accidents or injuries related to the issue. Semantics aside, it’s good to know nobody’s been hurt.

The company will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles by mail in May and will be issuing a special reminder that the impacted models need to be inspected by a technician under the terms of the recall.

[Image: Brandon Woyshnis/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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