Recall Alert: 661,000 Ford Explorer SUVs Have Roof Rail Covers That Could Fly Off

In May, Ford announced a recall of 661,000 Explorer SUVs in North America. It came just a few months after the Blue Oval issued a recall involving roughly 1,500 2021 Ford Explorer models. Although the automaker announced the latest recall only last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed a yearlong investigation leading up to the recall.

Defective retention pins could send rail roof covers flying

Reuters recently reported that the recall is due to faulty retention pins, which can wriggle loose, causing the roof rail to separate from the vehicle.

According to the NHTSA, an initial inquiry occurred in April 2020 due to 11 instances of roof rail detachments. Ford’s Critical Concerns Review Group (CCRG) initially considered the issue insignificant because it is unlikely that a lightweight roof rail cover would cause a safety issue if it came loose. The CCRG also indicated that affected vehicle owners would likely hear or see the wobbly roof rail cover right away.

In November 2020, Ford proposed a warranty extension to include repair coverage for vehicle models affected by the loose roof rail cover issue. However, after a meeting with the NHTSA this past April, Ford ultimately issued a recall notice concerning the matter.

Which Ford Explorer SUVs have the faulty parts?

Affected Explorer SUVs include model years 2016 through 2019, and Ford will notify owners directly. The automaker began sending recall notification letters to affected owners this past June 28, CarComplaints.com reported. Owners may also find out if the recall includes their Explorer in two other ways.

Owners can visit the NHTSA website and search their Explorer’s VIN to see if it has an open recall. They may call Ford customer service at 866-436-7332 and mention recall number 21S22.

Affected Explorer owners should take their SUV to a Ford dealership to fix the issue. The dealer will replace any faulty retention pins, replenish broken rail clips, and install new roof rail covers free of charge.

The recall doesn’t affect 2021 Ford Explorer models

The 2021 Ford Explorer is available in several models, including the base model, XLT, Limited, ST, Timberline, King Ranch, and Platinum. The 2021 Explorer gets approximately 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, Ford reports. Gas mileage estimates vary depending upon the trim. There’s also a hybrid model.

The base-model Explorer is equipped with the Reverse Sensing System, which enhances vehicle safety by beeping whenever the SUV is close to an object or pedestrian. The system works alongside Reverse Brake Assist to increase situational awareness and vehicle safety.

The XLT trim boasts heated seats and a heated steering wheel to keep the driver cozy. It’s also spacious and offers three-row seating.

The 2021 Explorer also provides various infotainment features. They include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Even though the 2021 model has received a poor predicted reliability rating and complaints about the interior, most Explorer owners are satisfied with their and its quality.

Despite the recent recalls, the Explorer remains one of the most popular SUVs. It may not be the best available. But the 2021 Ford Explorer is still a great midsize crossover with many safety features and comforts.

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