Ford Motor Company is recalling about 550,000 trucks and SUVs sold in North America for what the company hopes is a minor safety issue. The vehicles may have been built without the “third pawl required for seat-back strength.” A pawl is a curved lever that engages with the seat back’s ratchet, holding it in locked position.
The recall affects some newly released Ford and Lincoln vehicles, as well as some dating to the 2018 model year:
- 2020 Lincoln Aviator with rear outboard seats with manual seat-back recliners
- 2020 Ford Explorer with rear outboard seats with manual seat-back recliners
- 2018-2019 Ford Explorer with manual driver and front-seat passenger seat-back recliners
- 2018-2020 Ford F-150 with manual driver and front-seat passenger seat-back recliners
- 2019-2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with manual driver and front-seat passenger seat-back recliners
- 2019-2020 Ford Expedition with manual driver and front-seat passenger seat-back recliners
Without the third pawl, the affected seats may not hold the occupant in place properly, especially during a crash. So far, Ford has not received any reports of injuries related to the issue.
However, it is not clear how obvious the issue would be, even if the seat back failed during a crash. Therefore, there could be injuries that would not be attributed to the seat back failure unless a trained crash investigator examined the vehicle.
What should I do if I own one of the affected vehicles?
If you have not been in a crash, you should contact a Ford dealer about the recall. Ford’s internal reference number is 19C07. The dealer will examine the seats and determine whether the third pawl is missing. If it is, the dealer will replace the entire seat structure. If the pawl is not missing, no repair is considered necessary. Ford expects that no repair will be needed in most of the 483,325 U.S. vehicles affected by the recall.
If you have been injured in a crash in one of the recalled vehicles and think the seat back may have failed, you may wish to contact an attorney. You may also want to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393.