Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Bronco Sport and 2021-2022 Escape vehicles because they fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 135, “Light Vehicle Brake Systems.”

In October 2021, Ford was contacted by the NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance regarding the results of a compliance audit on the 2021 Bronco Sport vehicle equipped with a brake vacuum booster. According to the defect report, the stopping distance test results for “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” exceeded the federal regulation stopping distance of 168 m. Ford compared data from the NHTSA test vehicle to data from the Ford certification test vehicle and could not identify the difference in performance between the two test vehicles.

In November, Ford conducted further testing which included the “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” portion, on a 2021 Bronco Sport equipped with a brake vacuum booster without a vacuum sensor, to replicate NHTSA’s test vehicle. The test vehicle was fitted with a new current batch of brake linings from the assembly plant and the stopping distance test results exceeded the federal requirements.

Analysis of the brake system identified that the friction coefficient of the rear brake caliper linings was below manufacturer specifications. Vehicles equipped with rear brake linings that have a friction coefficient that is outside of the specified tolerances would experience longer stopping distances if the vacuum sensor is not there to compensate for variations in brake pad friction performance.

The 2021-2022 Ford Escape shares the same brake system as the Bronco Sport and the same certification test applies to both vehicles. Some Bronco Sport and Escape vehicles are equipped with a brake vacuum booster and some are equipped with an Electronic Brake Booster (EBB). Vehicles with an EBB are not affected by this issue because they have higher system pressures if the booster malfunctions.

The remedy is currently under development. Ford’s number for this recall is 21C31 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-922.

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