The Toyota bZ4X was recalled for the same thing last year.
Ford has warned owners of certain Ranger and Bronco models not to drive their vehicles as improperly tightened lug nuts on the driver's side could cause the wheels to fall off. The recall involves 1,434 models in total, with 992 of those being Bronco SUVs and the remaining 442 units being Ranger pickups. In both cases, certain 2022 and 2023 models are affected.
While recalls are often issued before any incident occurs, Ford admitted that there was at least one report of a detached wheel that made contact with another vehicle. Fortunately, the automaker is not aware of any injuries pertaining to what could be an incredibly dangerous event. This latest recall follows a dismal 2022 where Ford issued more recalls than any other manufacturer.
According to the safety call report, the automated tool that is typically used to torque road wheel lug nuts on the driver's side was out of action for repair in February. During that time, a backup manual process was used to torque the lug nuts. This change resulted in some lug nuts on the left side (both front and rear wheels) not being torqued correctly. The automated tool that performed the same job on the right side of the vehicle was not affected, so the risk of wheel detachment does not extend to wheels on the right side.
A vibration or noise could signal loose lug nuts, but we'd advise owners to take Ford's warning seriously and arrange for the vehicle to be checked before driving it, a process that will be handled free of charge.
While wheel and tire detachment aren't exactly common, the risk of an accident, when it occurs, is high for both the driver of the affected vehicle and other road users in the vicinity. Plus, the thought of one of the Bronco's available 35-inch tires hurtling toward you on the highway doesn't exactly elicit warm and fuzzy feelings.
The Toyota bZ4X and related Subaru Solterra were affected by almost exactly the same wheel detachment issue. In that case, the issue dragged on for months before Toyota announced a fix. In the period while the EV was still under recall, sales stalled and Toyota even went as far as to offer a buyback option to affected customers.
For Ford, the frequency of recalls only adds to the Blue Oval's continuing quality issues that have led to production pausing at some plants. Last year, even the company's CEO admitted that it would take a few years before the situation improves.
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