Ford Motor Co is Recalling the New Bronco Sport, Escape SUVs for Underperforming Brakes

Ford Motor Co is Recalling the New Bronco Sport, Escape SUVs for Underperforming Brakes

Author: Eric Walz   

Ford's new Bronco SUV is a massive hit with consumers, making one of the most popular new vehicles in 2021. However, with any new model launch, automakers often have to voluntarily recall some vehicles to fix minor issues based on feedback from customers or safety regulators at the NHTSA, and the Bronco is no exception. The latest Bronco recall involves the braking performance.

Ford has issued a recall for the Bronco Sport as well as the Escape SUV. The recall could potentially extend to over 114,000 vehicles, as the Bronco and Escape are big sellers.

The affected vehicles have a lower than specified rear brake lining coefficient of friction and are equipped with a brake vacuum booster without a vacuum sensor, according to NHTSA documents

All 2021-2022 model year Bronco Sport vehicles with build dates from Jan 27, 2021 through Nov 11, 2021 (65,441 vehicles) and 2021-2022 model year Escape vehicles (49,555 vehicles) with build dates from Dec 14, 2020 through Oct 26, 2021 are affected. 

Ford is currently conducting research to confirm the affected vehicle population which may cause the volumes to change.

The recall comes after a government safety audit found an issue with how the brakes on the Bronco and Escape might perform in an emergency if the vacuum-assisted power brakes fail. Without the vacuum assist, pedal effort would increase significantly and a driver would not be able to stop within the distance required by federal safety regulations, which is 551 feet from a speed of 60 mph.

According to Consumer Reports, Ford's internal testing of a Bronco Sport in 2018 showed that it met the regulatory requirement for stopping distance. But when NHTSA tested the same vehicle as part of a routine compliance audit in November 2021, the agency found that it took 583 feet to stop with the power brakes inoperative, which is 32 more feet than the 551 feet maximum allowed. 

It's important to note that no accidents were reported and the Bronco's power brakes function normally when the power brakes are operative. The chance of any vehicle's power brakes failing are rare. During normal operation of the vacuum assisted power brakes, Consumer Reports tested a Bronco Sport and found it took just 126 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is excellent.

According to Ford, the problem is due to improperly manufactured rear brake lining material that extends stopping distance. Owners of these vehicles however, would only encounter the issue only if their power brakes failed. These vehicles affected are equipped with a brake vacuum booster without a vacuum sensor. The vacuum sensor compensates for variation in brake pad friction performance.

Ford is notifying owners by mail if their vehicles are included in the recall and when they can bring their vehicles to a dealership for a free repair. The automaker is still developing a fix for this issue, but it will likely require the rear brake pads replaced with a higher friction design to improve performance.

Although the return of the Bronco nameplate as a rugged SUV is a hit with consumers, the brake recall is the 6th for the Bronco since its launch earlier this year.

On Feb 16, 2021, the Bronco was recalled because some had incorrect front lower control arms installed during assembly, which could affect vehicle handling and control, increasing the risk of a rollover crash. Some Broncos also had missing loose rear suspension bolts.

In August, Ford issued another recall of some 2021 Escapes and 2021-2022 Bronco Sport vehicles because the fuel delivery module may leak inside the fuel tank, causing low fuel pressure which could result in an engine stall. The repair included replacing the fuel delivery module.

The latest recall on Oct 15 was for the glass moonroof on some 2021 Bronco models. In this case, the moonroof glass may not have been bonded correctly to the moonroof frame, which could result in the glass panel detaching from the vehicle. Ford dealers are inspecting the moonroof glass and replacing it if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed on Nov 18, 2021. 

Production of the original Ford Bronco ended in 1996 after a 25 year run. But with truck and SUVs sales at an all time high, Ford resurrected the Bronco nameplate and revealed the new version in July 2020. It was one of the biggest vehicle launches in 2021. YTD, Ford sold 127,746 Bronco and Bronco Sport models.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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