Some Bronco Owners Say Trail Turn Assist Killed Their Axles

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Trail Turn Assist is a cool Ford Bronco feature that brakes the inside rear wheel to tighten the turning radius and help the SUV navigate challenging off-road obstacles. Though helpful, some owners have reported that the feature could damage the vehicle.

At least two owners have taken to the forum in recent months to talk about Trail Turn Assist’s impact on their Bronco’s axles, claiming that the feature causes too much stress on the axle and related components. Some forum users responded with stories of others having the problem, stating that the solution is to weld around the broken attachment points, a fix that is neither practical nor acceptable for a new vehicle.

Some stated that their dealer refused to fix the component under warranty, with one saying the shop said the Bronco had aftermarket mods. Ford’s warranty language states that using the SUV in a manner described in the owner’s manual does not void the warranty, but it’s hard to know what happened before and after using Trail Turn Assist. The automaker also said that the feature is for use on loose or slippery surfaces and that using it on hard roads could increase tire wear and cause damage.

These sorts of issues are always tricky to sort out. On the one hand, it’s easy to jump on Ford for denying what seems like a straightforward warranty issue, but we have no idea how the SUVs were being used when they broke. If there were modifications, the warranty could have been voided before the owner used Trail Turn, but again, it’s almost impossible to accurately cast judgment without having been there.

[Image: Ford]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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3 of 27 comments
  • Redapple2 Redapple2 on May 17, 2023

    I ll say this. American Axle or a Dana on my truck? I going dana all day - any day.

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on May 17, 2023

    I question some of these electronic features that, while easily enabled, can be very hard on the driveline. In addition to trail-turn, how about that line-lock feature on the 5.0 Mustangs? Or the "No-Lift" feature allowing you to keep the accelerator pinned while slamming through the gears. Or "launch mode" which optimizes revs while you dump the clutch and mat the gas pedal? Will be interesting to see how the manufacturers handle the inevitable claims from these otherwise cool features.

    • CoastieLenn CoastieLenn on May 22, 2023

      The thing with these features (largely) is that the ECM/TCM/BCM have counters for each of those modules. The dealership can easily tell if the car has either a) been launched 432 times in a single driving cycle [abuse] or b) has had the stored data cleared right before bringing the car in for repair [willful intent?]. Not to say that it will make it easier for the dealer to deny warranty claims, but it gives them ammo to use against the owner if they can prove neglect.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.