Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling over 14,100 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles after discovering that some of the models may be missing a piece that goes over the manual park release component. When this cover is missing, it can increase the risk of the lever being unintentionally manipulated, which could cause the SUV to move from its parked position and crash.

Given that most of the affected Explorers are in inventory, the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall action primarily impacts the automaker’s dealerships. When this action will take place has yet to be determined.

The Defect

In a release made available on the company’s website, Ford plans to recall a combined 14,135 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs over the possibility that the manual park release component may be missing its cover. This is in violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Under normal circumstances, these covers should only be removable with a tool.

Additionally, Ford noted that the problematic Explorers and Aviators may have settings that remain in factory mode that could prevent the accurate display of gear positions when manipulated by the operator of the vehicle. These positions are represented by a letter ( “P” for Park, “R” for Reverse, “N” for Neutral, etc.). The display of these gear positions is also required by law under the FMVSS.

Timeline of Events

Automakers typically coordinate with the NHTSA for car safety recalls. However, given the recency of this announcement – Aug. 7 – the associated documentation detailing when Ford first learned of these issues was not available.

It’s been a busy summer for Ford recalls, as the Dearborn, Michigan-based brand has pulled from the marketplace hundreds of thousands of vehicles unrelated to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator recall. For instance, in late July, approximately 7,579 Ford Rangers were pulled from the marketplace because of seat belt functionality issues that prevented the belt buckle from latching. Additionally, 57,500 Ford Focus and Focus ST sedans were recalled over defective engine software.

A month earlier, Ford announced the recall of 1.1 million Explorers – from model years ranging between 2011 and 2017 – due to a rear suspension system flaw affecting the toe links. In all of these instances, the vehicles were recalled because the problems risked riders’ safety.

While the chronology of events leading up to the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator has yet to be determined, what is known is where the potentially flawed models were built and where. The vehicles were put together at one of the automaker’s Chicago-based locations between March 27 and July 24 for the Explorer, and April 10 and July 24 for the Lincoln Aviator.

Ford said it’s unaware of any consumer crashes or injuries stemming from this flaw but also stated there was an incident that led to cosmetic damage, which occurred at some point during the manufacturing process. No workers were hurt.

The Ford Explorer is one of the nameplate’s longest-running model types, introduced back in 1990. Lincoln Aviator is also a veteran model but first hit the showroom floor roughly a decade later in 2002. 

The Solution

Ford Motor Company is in the process of informing dealerships that may have received some of these potentially compromised vehicles. Dealers will examine the manual park release to see if the cover is missing and whether the PRNDL gear positions remain in factory mode. 

For more information on this or any other automotive safety recall, enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord Explorer, Lincoln Aviators Recalled Over Missing Covers