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May 22, 2024

Ford Recalls Over 112,000 F-150 Trucks Over Rear Axle Defect

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Jan 4, 2024

Ford Motor Company announced a safety recall of over 112,000 F-150 pickup trucks from the 2021-2023 model years. The recall comes after an investigation found issues with the trucks’ rear axle that could lead to loss of control and increased risk of a crash.

NHTSA Alerts Ford to Rear Axle Defect

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alerted Ford about warranty data indicating a safety defect trend regarding the trucks’ rear axle. Specifically, the rear axle housing hub bolts can loosen over time, eventually leading to rear driveline disconnection and loss of motive power while driving. This drastically increases the risk of a crash.

“If the rear driveline disconnects while driving, loss of vehicle control can occur, increasing the risk of a crash,” NHTSA’s recall report stated.

Over 112,000 Trucks Affected

Ford estimates the recall includes 112,965 trucks in the United States and federalized territories, spanning model years 2021-2023. No injuries related to this condition have been reported so far.

The following trucks are included in the recall:

Model Year Models
2021 Ford F-150
2022 Ford F-150, Ford F-150 Raptor
2023 Ford F-150, Ford F-150 Raptor

Recall Notification and Free Inspection

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified starting February 13, 2023. Ford dealers will inspect the rear axle housing hub bolts and replace them if necessary, free of charge. Concerned owners can contact Ford’s customer service at 1-866-436-7332 and reference recall number 23S08.

Ford’s History of F-150 Recalls

This latest recall adds to an unfortunate trend of safety issues with Ford’s immensely popular F-150 pickup. Just last August, Ford recalled nearly 569,000 vehicles, including many F-150s, for fire risks related to engine block heater cord short circuits. Two months later, the company recalled an additional 462,000 F-150s with defective front windshield wipers that could fail, reducing visibility.

Financial Impacts on Ford

Ford’s stock price fell over 2% on news of this latest substantial F-150 recall. The F-150 pickup truck is Ford’s highest selling model, bringing in billions in revenue annually. Recurring large-scale recalls threaten to dampen consumer confidence in the vehicle.

However, most analysts agree this single recall is unlikely to make a real dent on Ford’s bottom line. Investors are more concerned over a recent downward trend in new vehicle sales industry-wide, as well as parts shortages limiting production capacity.

Part Shortages Contribute to Recall Issues

In fact, analysts speculate pandemic-related part shortages may contribute to an apparent rise in vehicle recalls industry-wide. Supply chain issues have forced automakers to find substitute parts that potentially don’t integrate as well with complex modern vehicle systems.

“It’s possible — even likely — that automakers might not detect issues early on because of constraints imposed by supply chain problems,” explains automotive engineering expert George Peterson. “When you change sources for things like computer chips or raw materials, interactions with other components can cause unanticipated problems further down the line.”

So in Ford’s case, shortages may have impacted rear axle housing production over the last few years, influencing the current recall.

Quality Control Struggles for Automakers

Besides supply chain turmoil introducing inconsistencies, automakers also face challenges comprehensively testing and validating exponentially more complex systems in modern vehicles. Sophisticated software and electro-mechanical architectures require enormous, lengthy validation efforts to avoid glitches appearing post-production.

“Between supply issues forcing last-minute changes and the intrinsic complexity growth in vehicle tech, automakers walk an almost impossible tightrope these days ensuring flawless quality control out of factories,” says Sandy Munro, CEO of manufacturing consulting firm Munro & Associates. “While recalls always make big headlines, the reality is all automakers probably let a few defects slip through the cracks right now given the extraordinary circumstances.”

So Ford likely faces an uphill quality control battle for the foreseeable future, meaning further recalls could come. However, the company emphasizes maintaining robust pre and post-production validation regimes to catch defects early.

Software Updates: The Future of Recall Mitigation?

Looking ahead, increased adoption of over-the-air (OTA) software updates in vehicles provides hope for vastly streamlined recall execution. Rather than coordinating physically bringing hundreds of thousands of vehicles to dealers for repair, automakers could remotely push software fixes for many issues. This allows rapid, low-cost recall completion rates compared to traditional physical servicing campaigns.

For mechanical issues like Ford’s rear axle defect, OTA updates obviously can’t help. But as vehicles become more defined by lines of code than metal parts, expect OTA to transform recall processes. Ford actually intends to equip its entire global fleet with OTA tech by 2028.

So while old-fashioned safety recalls like this F-150 rear axle debacle cause short-term stock dips and headaches, they may soon go the way of the buggy whip. OTA promises a software-oriented automotive future with recalls easily completed wirelessly in the background during your morning commute.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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