Ford has issued a recall that applies to a little over 1,400 units of the Bronco and the Ranger built during the 2023 model year. The off-roaders included in the campaign were manufactured with driver-side lug nuts that might not have been adequately tightened.
Assigned recall number 23V-283 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the campaign includes 992 units of the Bronco built between February 9 and February 13, 2023, and 442 examples of the Ranger made during the same time period. That’s a total of 1,434 trucks, though Ford estimates that about 19% of the recalled population left the factory with improperly-torqued lug nuts.
There’s not a lot to this problem, and the company’s explanation is fairly straight-forward. “Due to an assembly process error, the lug nuts on the left-side wheels may not have been tightened to specification,” it told the NHTSA. Plant records helped investigators determine that the automated tool used to torque the lug nuts on the assembly line was down for maintenance in February, so a manual backup process was put in place to secure the wheels. The machine that tightens the passenger-side lug nuts operated normally during this time period.
It goes without saying that driving around with loose lug nuts increases the risk of an accident, and Ford warns that unusual vibrations and noises experienced while driving are a sign that a wheel isn’t tight. It’s not aware of any injuries or accidents linked to the defect, according to NTHSA documents, but it has received a field report of a wheel coming off and allegedly coming into contact with another vehicle.
Ford is asking owners of affected Bronco and Ranger models not to drive their vehicle until it has been inspected and, if necessary, repaired. It’s offering two possible solutions: motorists can either set up a mobile repair appointment or arrange for a dealership to pick up the truck. Either way, a technician will tighten the driver-side lug nuts and make any required repairs to the lug nuts, wheel studs, and wheels.
The firm will notify owners of affected vehicles by mail in May 2023. While checking whether a lug nut is tight enough is a relatively simple operation for many drivers, Ford stresses that Bronco and Ranger models included in the campaign must be inspected by a technician.