Ford recalls Explorer SUVs for fly-away roof rail covers

Dearborn, MI – May 12, 2021 – Ford (NYSE:F) has issued a recall of 616,967 SUVs whose roof rail covers may detach and fly off the vehicle while driving. Ford is recalling these vehicles:  

  • 2016 Ford Explorer
  • 2017 Ford Explorer
  • 2018 Ford Explorer
  • 2019 Ford Explorer

The affected part is the “roof rail cover,” with multiple part numbers, including FB5Z-78551A46-BA.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the roof rail covers, which partly cover the roof rails used to hold cargo (such as a kayak) on top of the car. The covers, after being exposed to sunlight and other wear and tear, may detach from the car and fly off into the road, creating a road hazard for other drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) brought the issue to Ford’s attention a year ago, after receiving 11 complaints of roof rail covers falling off. 


According to Ford, some Explorers have metal plated roof rail covers that do not have this problem. Those vehicles will not be recalled. To see if your 2019 Ford Explorer Limited, for example, needs to be repaired, use our VIN lookup tool.

Warning signs

Drivers with insecure roof rail covers may notice louder wind noise or squeaks and rattles while driving. 


If a roof rail cover flies off the car while driving, it may force other drivers to make quick maneuvers to avoid it, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more about the dangers of road debris in this article about a recent Land Rover recall over fly-away spoilers. 

Other Ford Explorer recalls

The 2016 Ford Explorer was recalled in November of last year because of a defective part that connects the engine to the front axle, which “transmits the power from the vehicle to its wheels,” as reported.

 The issue can result in the car stalling or losing its ability to stay in park, increasing the risk of death or injury for the car occupants, other motorists and pedestrians.

The repair

Ford or Lincoln dealers will use plastic pins to secure the roof rail more tightly to the roof of the car, free of charge. Owners will receive more  instructions by mail between June 28 and July 2. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 617,000 vehicles are included in this recall. Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to do a Ford recall check.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Explorer SUVs for fly-away roof rail covers

Related Posts