The steering lock-up issue affects the Bronco Wildtrak and Raptor models specifically.
Ford has issued a recall for specific Ford Bronco models for a steering lock-up issue and has warned customers not to drive the affected models until the problem can be repaired. A steering gear ball nut retainer could be cracked on 343 Bronco models, potentially resulting in a loss of steering wheel rotation. Not being able to steer can be just as catastrophic as not being able to brake, so we understand the Blue Oval's decision to ask drivers not to use their vehicles.
Of the 343 affected models, 283 units are Bronco Wildtracks, while the remaining 60 affected vehicles are all Bronco Raptor models. These are two of the most expensive available Bronco trims.
"A broken steering gear ball nut retainer can allow balls in the ball nut assembly to displace and wedge," says the NHTSA's recall report. "Continued steering wheel movement can further wedge the balls and displace the retainer, resulting in increased steering effort. Should this continue and the balls do not transition back into the return guides, the ball nut may not be able to rotate."
For drivers operating affected Broncos, an audible grinding noise or increased steering effort are two warning signs. Ford is currently aware of a single warranty claim related to this problem, but there have been no reports of associated accidents or injuries.
Owners will be requested to take in their Bronco to a Ford or Lincoln dealer for steering gear replacement at no cost to them.
The Bronco has not been a beacon of reliability since its launch. Besides the steering wheel lock-up issue highlighted here, the 2023 Bronco has also been recalled for a loose transmission bolt that could result in the vehicle rolling away. The 2022 Bronco, meanwhile, has already amassed six recalls.
The reliability and quality maladies of the Bronco extend to other Ford models, with the Blue Oval having issued a worrying 65 recalls in 2022 alone - more than any other automaker. These recalls affected over 8.6 million models, over three million more than in 2021.
Late last year, Ford CEO Jim Farley admitted that the brand's quality issues are a problem and that they will not be fixed overnight. "Until we fix quality, nothing else matters," said Farley.
Popular models like the Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E lost their recommended ratings from Consumer Reports last year, which is a concern. As Ford continues innovating in the EV space, we hope it hasn't forgotten about the foundations of a good car ownership experience.
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