Ford Motor Co. is recalling 252,936 Explorer large crossovers because of a defect that can cause the vehicles to roll away while in park.
NHTSA said last month that the affected vehicles are certain 2020-22 Explorers, 2020-22 Explorer Hybrids, 2020-21 Explorer Police Interceptors, 2020-21 Explorer Police Interceptor Hybrids and 2020-22 Explorer Plug-in Hybrids.
The defect is caused by the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt fracturing during acceleration. The fractured bolt causes a severe noise that customers describe as "loud, grinding, binding, or clunking," NHTSA said.
If the bolt breaks, it can cause the driveshaft to become disconnected, resulting in a loss of transmission torque in the rear wheels.
NHTSA said this torque is needed to hold vehicles in park, and without it, vehicles may roll away while parked. This can cause an increased risk of crashes or injuries.
Ford said it was not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to the condition. It reported 235 warranty claims involving the rear axle bolt since December 2019.
Notification letters will be mailed to affected customers June 6.
Depending on the model, dealers will either replace the bushing and axle cover or update the electronic parking brake software, NHTSA said.