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Ford Gave the Transit Trail Van Big Tires That Don’t Fit, So Now There’s a Recall

People buy factory off-roaders to avoid this exact problem.
2023 Ford Transit Trail
Ford

Fitting larger wheels and tires to our cars always runs the risk of causing tire rub. It’s why many enthusiasts leave the upgrades to the carmakers themselves, rather than trying to outsmart them. But even the OEMs can get it wrong, as in the case of the Ford Transit Trail, which is being recalled because its factory all-terrain tires are making contact with the vehicle.

As outlined in an NHTSA recall document, Ford opened an investigation upon receiving a complaint from an upfitter. The unnamed company said it knew of four instances of its vehicles being taken into dealers with noise complaints, which turned out to be its 30-inch Goodyear Wrangler front tires rubbing on the fender liner and frame. It’s a common problem with modified cars and trucks, but not so much factory vehicles—you’re supposed to be able to count on automakers to vet this stuff. Nevertheless, Ford performed an engineering evaluation anyway, and found the cause was how the Transit was adapted into the Trail.

2023 Ford Transit Trail
2023 Ford Transit Trail front tire. Ford

Ford discovered that when the Transit Trail’s front axle is loaded to near its gross weight rating, there are scenarios that can cause the tires to rub. The example offered was under braking with 60 percent or more steering lock applied, which a driver might encounter while parking or driving on a narrow trail. You’d think Ford, producer of the Bronco and F-150 Raptor R, would know better than to make this mistake—and you’d be right. That’s because Ford apparently contracted out the Transit Trail’s development to a company that didn’t know better.

“Generally, a vehicle modifier, contracted by Ford, did not fully account for the front tire envelope and packaging requirements of this application,” the recall document states.

Ford said it is determining the exact cause of the tire rub, though it seems obvious with the Transit Trail’s wider track and enlarged tires. The company warns that unaddressed rub could damage fender liners or even the tires themselves, leading to a loss of pressure and therefore vehicle control. Ford is not aware of any tire damage caused by the oversight yet, but it’s working on a solution and will notify owners when recall service is available.

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