SUVs

2020 Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator already recalled for missing park release covers

There might be issues with the instrument cluster, too.

If your cover is missing, maybe slap down some tape or something so you don't have an inadvertent rollaway on your hands.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

You probably haven't seen too many 2020 Ford Explorers on the road yet, but already, the SUV and its kissin' cousin, the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, are already subject to a voluntary safety compliance recall.

Ford on Wednesday announced a recall for 13,896 examples of the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The Fords carry build dates between March 27 and July 24, 2019. The Lincolns carry build dates between April 10 and July 24, 2019. Both were built at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois.

The issue comes from the cover that hides the manual park release function -- that's what you use when your car won't start, if you have a dead battery for example, and need to get the car from Park to Neutral to roll it somewhere else. The recalled vehicles might be missing this cover, which puts it in violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which mandate a cover that can only be released with a tool. If the cover isn't there, someone may accidentally disengage Park, which could lead to an unintended rollaway.

There's another potential problem, too. The recalled vehicles might also have their instrument clusters in a factory mode, which reduces battery drain but also disables warning alerts and chimes, in addition to hiding the PRNDL gear position. That last bit again violates the FMVSS, which requires gear positions and the selected gear to be displayed whenever a vehicle isn't in Park.

Thankfully, the majority of the recalled vehicles aren't yet in owners' hands, so dealerships will have everything buttoned up before releasing them for sale, because it's against the law to sell a new vehicle with an open recall. For those unlucky early adopters with recalled vehicles, technicians will accept the vehicles, install any missing covers and, if necessary, put the instrument clusters in the correct mode.

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