2021 Ford Broncos Engine Failures Under Investigation by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into a potential issue with the valvetrain in V-6-equipped 2021 Ford Broncos that could lead to catastrophic engine failure at highway speeds, according to a public filing published this week.

The filing, which was first reported on by the Wall Street Journalstates that “[i]na June 7, 2022 meeting with Ford, [the Office of Defects Investigation] Learned this alleged loss of engine power is a result of catastrophic engine failures due to the engine valves failing. Ford identified the root cause as the valve ‘keepers’ not holding the retainer in place allowing the valve spring to detach from the valve resulting in interference between the valve and piston. This interference can cause an engine lockup.”

NHTSA first started looking into the Bronco 2.7-liter V-6 issues in May, following complaints from 32 owners. Notably, NHTSA hasn’t opened an investigation into 2022-model-year Broncos. We’ve reached out to the agency to see if it plans to do so. We also reached out to Ford to determine whether it’s found the same issue with 2022-model-year Broncos. The probe covers an estimated 25,538 vehicles, and there are no reports of any crashes or injuries as a result of engine failures.

Problems with the new Bronco reflect a much larger problem at Ford, which has struggled with quality issues on new models for years now. Just last month, Ford halted deliveries on the Mustang Mach-E for a defect that caused batteries to potentially overheat. the Journal reports that Ford has more recalls than any other US automaker in 2022, with 45 open currently.

When Jim Farley took over as Ford CEO in 2020, one of his first stated goals was to improve quality to lower warranty payouts. the Journal notes that in an April earnings call, Farley said “We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer satisfaction actions. This has to change.”

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