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Whoops! Tires Are Too Big: Ford Issues Recall on 2,000 Transit Trail Vans

Ford blamed a third-party contractor for a defect that causes the all-terrain tires on the front of the Transit Trail van to rub against the wheel well, creating a safety issue. A recall has been issued.

2023 Ford Transit TrailA 2023 Ford Transit Trail; (photo/Ford)
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Hundreds of Ford Trail Transit owners may need to get their vehicles fixed, according to a recall issued last week.

Nearly 2,000 of the Ford vans are subject to the recall, which the company announced on March 22 after several owners reported a weird noise. The problem, it turns out, was about tires rubbing against the wheel wells.

Ford Transit Trail Tire Recall

The 30-inch Goodyear Wrangler front tires were rubbing against the fender liner and frame, usually when the Transit Trail neared its load capacity, or in certain steering and braking conditions. But it’s also a safety issue that could lead to loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash, the automaker said in the recall announcement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Rubbing when larger tires are fitted is a common problem, but it’s something major car companies usually fully engineer and plan for. In this case, Ford blames a third-party contractor for the issue.

ford transit trail tires
Front tires can rub against the wheel wells as a result of the defect; (photo/Ford)

Cause of the Issue

“Specific root cause factors are still under investigation,” Ford said. “Generally, a vehicle modifier, contracted by Ford, did not fully account for the front tire envelope and packaging requirements of this application.”

Ford started an investigation after an unnamed company described four instances of the noise complaint related to tire-rubbing. After an engineering evaluation, Ford figured out the source of the problem was adapting its Transit into the Trail model.

The problem seems most likely to occur when the front axle is loaded near its gross weight rating. In certain situations, like parking or driving over an obstacle — like a rock or curb — the tires rub.

Currently, Ford believes only about 25% of the 1,902 vehicles affected will have the defect. As for the solution, Ford is still working on it. Owners will be contacted when more information is available, the company said.

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