Ford Motor Company issued a recall for the 2021 to 2023 models of its popular F-150 trucks because of the chance for parts of rear axle hubs to wear, break, and potentially cause crashes.
Damaged axle hubs can send a vehicle rolling away while in park without the parking brake applied or cause a loss of drive power, raising the risk of a crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned in a Jan. 2 letter confirming recall information. Ford is unaware of any reports of accidents or injuries so far related to the problem, the NHTSA said.
The recall potentially affects 112,965 trucks equipped with the Trailer Tow Max Duty package and a 9.75 in. heavy duty axle with a three-fourths float axle design, the regulatory agency said.
NHTSA said on Jan. 2 that a “remedy is currently under development” and instructed owners to take their vehicle to a dealer for an interim repair if they experience symptoms related to rear axle bolt breakage, such as a clicking or rattling noise.
Dealers will be notified on Jan. 16 and owners should expect to receive letters mailed after Jan. 29, the agency said. Owners with questions can contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 using the recall number 23S65.
Ford spokesperson Maria Buczkowski tells TIME in an email that the company will be sharing more information about the final service remedy with dealers and customers soon. “In the meantime, customers can apply the electronic parking brake out of an abundance of caution. If a customer experiences the issue, they should visit a dealership for replacement of both axle shaft assemblies,” Buczkowski says. The NHTSA referred to documents on its website for the latest information.
The agency and company have been aware of reports of issues with these vehicle parts for a year and a half, according to NHTSA documents show posted on its website.
NHTSA contacted Ford on June 6, 2022 about three owners’ reports of broken rear hub bolts on the 2021-2022 model of the truck and met with the company twice that month to get more information, the agency said. Ford approved actions to address loose or broken rear axle hub bolts that year.
In August 2023, Ford’s internal review group opened an investigation into reports of these broken parts that had progressed to wheel-end hub splines. Their investigation revealed that the wear and tear is caused over time “due to micro-movements between the hub splines and the axle splines, with corrosion playing a significant factor.”
By December, there were 376 warranty reports of the issue that led to cars losing power or parking ability throughout 2022 and 2023, and the company initiated a recall, the agency said.