Ford Recalls Bronco, Ranger Over Concern Wheels Could Come Off Due to Improperly Torqued Lug Nuts

A wheel that detached from one Bronco struck another vehicle

2023 Ford Bronco
(Images: Ford)

This Ford recall campaign is relatively small, but your wheel falling off is an obvious safety issue.

If you bought a 2023 Ford Bronco or Ford Ranger pickup, make sure to check your lug nuts are actually tightened down. It’s an issue that impacted 1,434 vehicles during the manufacturing process and could cause the wheels to fall off while driving if the situation isn’t addressed in time. This week, Ford informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that roughly 19% of the recall population have lug nuts that are not properly torqued on the left side. Of that total, Ford includes 992 Broncos and 442 Rangers.

According to a defect report dated April 20, an automated tool used to torque the lug nuts went down at the company’s Wayne, Michigan assembly plant. Plant workers fell back to a manual backup process while the machine was down for repair from February 9 to February 11. However, an internal investigation into reports of loose lug nuts revealed workers may not have torqued them to specification on both the front and left rear wheels.

Ford says that an owner contacted its customer hotline on April 12 with a warranty report of a wheel detachment. The company also noted one instance where a detached wheel actually struck another vehicle, though fortunately there were no injuries as a result.

Owners should not drive their vehicles without torquing the lug nuts to spec

Ford notified its dealers on April 20 of the issue, and will notify customers between May 1 and May 5. There are a few different ways owners can go about fixing the problem. Owners can make arrangements with their dealer for a mobile repair to torque the lug nuts to spec, or Ford will pay to have their vehicle towed to their local dealer at no charge. Dealer technicians will inspect the lug nuts and wheel studs and make any necessary repairs, if they actually suffered any damage from being loose.

Alternatively, Ford will instruct owners with a mechanical inclination what the verified torque spec is to tighten the lug nuts themselves. That instruction is also in the owner’s manuals for affected vehicles, though the automaker mentions the work must be inspected by a Ford or Lincoln dealer to officially close the recall with the NHTSA.