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Ford Recalls 650K Trucks, SUVs To Fix Wiper Arm Problem

Ford has issued a major pickup and SUV recall to repair a problem with their wiper arms. According to the automaker, the gearing is "not at the right height" and it can end up stripping the arm, causing a failure.

Although drivers take their windshield wipers for granted, wipers are a vital system that you can't ignore. You might think this is an oxymoron or so, but it is not. Most folks flick the switch when it rains or snows and expect the wipers to work.

Wipers Formerly Hydraulic

Indeed, drivers have been doing this since the first hydraulic wiper systems were deployed a century ago or so. The problem with hydraulic systems was very pronounced. Every time a driver put a foot on a gas pedal during precipitation, a hydraulic system would stop, with the wipers sitting in the middle of the windshield – waiting for the next engine cycle. Once that cycle came and went, things were fine, for the most part. It was not a good situation, but it was the best available. This situation continued into the 1960s. At that time, electric systems took over from hydraulics.

Electric systems were far more reliable and continued to work until either the alternator shut down or the battery was gone – assuming the engine wasn't running. For more than 60 years now, electrical systems have made wipers reliable. They are so reliable that you do not think about them like other very reliable parts -- manifolds transmissions, and even disc brakes. You expect each system to work without a hitch.

Given the reliability of electrical wiper systems, it is important news when an automaker issues a recall for an issue with that system. That's what has happened to Ford this week. The automaker issued a recall for more than 650,000 Ford F-Series pickups and the SUVs based on the same platform (the Ford Expedition, for example).

Recalled Vehicles Identified

To be more precise, the automaker has recalled the following vehicles, according to the Associated Press:

  • Ford F-150 pickups
  • Ford F-250 pickups
  • Ford F-350 pickups
  • Ford F-450 medium duty truck
  • Ford F-550 medium duty truck
  • Ford Expedition SUV (based on the F-150 platform)
  • Lincoln Navigator SUV (based on the F-150 platform)

Ford initiated the recall because the windshield wipers can "break and fail," the AP noted. The vehicles involved were from 2020 to 2022.

Documents posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted the problem involved the teeth at the base of the wiper arms. They are teeth that wiper gearing grabs, so the wipers work. The problem is that the teeth "aren’t the right height.” This issue can cause “the wiper arms to become stripped. When the wipers fail, the malfunction can “reduce visibility and increase the risk” of crashes.

Ford Notification Plans

Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles at the end of next month. When they receive their notifications, owners can then take their vehicles to their dealers, where they will check and replace the wipers if they have this issue. The repair is free of charge.

Ford said it had received 754 reports of malfunctioning wiper arms. “Some of the trucks were built with higher-torque wiper motors.” The motors were installed due to a lack of the proper computer chips due to the supply chain shortages earlier this year.

For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. Or, they can contact the safety agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Or, they can contact the agency through its website at

F-Series Is Leading Pickup

The Ford F-Series truck is the country’s top-selling pickups. This year is the 45th consecutive year that the F-Series has led the market.

Photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.