Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the 2023 Ford Bronco wipers fail to operate as intended, causing serious safety issues. Vehicle owners say that when driving in light, moderate, or heavy rain, regardless of the setting used, the wipers don’t operate properly. They slow down and operate intermittently or stop working, causing a loss of visibility and a significant risk of a crash.
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Is There a Problem with the Wipers?
You don’t need windshield wipers in sunny weather, but when it rains you will be dependent on them for visibility. The most recent Ford Broncos, including the new 2023 model, come with “smart wipers” that are designed to stop working when the windshield is dry, or there’s a risk that the wiper motor may be damaged if it overheats or is obstructed. But Bronco owners don’t find this very smart. As one Kansas owner states in a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Ford is trying to reinvent the wheel and has created an unsafe condition.”
An owner from Maryland describes this new “feature” as “a major safety issue.” The complaint also points out that the wiper issue is also common to the 2021 and 2022 model years.
It certainly is. In little more than 6 weeks, between December 30, 2022, and February 13, 2023, 18 consumers complained to the NHTSA about wipers on the 2023 Bronco that malfunctioned. Only 2 complaints during this timeframe are not about this wiper issue. Between March 30, 2022, and February 16, 2023 (9.5 months), 29 complaints (34%) were lodged with the NHTSA about the 2022 model. There are only 6 complaints on file with the NHTSA about the issue with the 2021 model (6.8%). But, all in all, surely enough for Ford to take notice of?
Furthermore, these aren’t the only complaints. There are ongoing conversations on the internet about the issue. For example, a discussion thread, Wiper control speed issues URGENT SAFETY, on the Bronco 6G Forum started on December 28, 2021, was still ongoing by February 22, 2023.
SSM 50692: About the Smart Wipers
So far there’s no indication that Ford is considering a recall to replace these so-called smart wipers. They haven’t even issued a technical safety bulletin (TSB) to help dealers fix the problem. They have, though, issued a service information bulletin (SSM) for the 2021 and 2022 models.
The document, Various Windshield Wiper Performance – Smart Wiper Motor Operation explains that the “smart windshield wiper motor” is capable of sensing the load of the wiper blades as they move across the windshield glass. While it states that “the operation may not be what is expected in certain conditions” they say this is a protection feature. The motor is programmed to “temporarily reduce its speed and/or reduce (the) area of cleaning until the condition is no longer present.” The conditions mentioned are dry windshields or obstructions to the wiper blade like snow or ice.
What Problems are Owners Experiencing with the Wipers?
Descriptions about the wiper problems that 2023 Ford Bronco owners are experiencing differ just a little. But, typically, as a North Carolina owner explains, “The wipers will slow down or stop even during heavy rain and on a constant setting (not an intermittent setting). I have to turn the switch on and off to get them to wipe continuously, which is very dangerous during torrential rains.”
A similar complaint from a Washington owner states that when the wipers are in the low setting, they automatically change to a slow intermittent setting after about 50 seconds. When changed to either the high or intermittent setting and then back to slow, “they work for another 50 seconds and then automatically change to a slow intermittent again. This is hazardous having to pay attention to the windshield wiper switch during heavier rain.”
An owner from Virginia says, “I was driving home today in the rain and noticed that regardless of the mode I had my wipers on, they slow down and go into a slow intermittent mode all on their own. After about 35 seconds the wipers start to slow down then after 50 seconds they stop, causing a serious safety concern. I was constantly having to adjust the speed of the wipers. This can be very dangerous in poor weather and heavy traffic. There is no rain sensor in my car.”
Then an owner from Maryland states that the malfunction happens when driving in heavy rain when the wipers are high or low. But it has the same effect. “They actually stop wiping at a high speed and pause between wipes for several seconds. In order to keep the wipers going in heavy, blinding rain you have to keep switching the wipers from low to high to keep them moving.”
What Do Ford & Dealers Say or Do About the Wiper Issue?
There are not many references to dealers in NHTSA complaints. There are more on the forum, with very few owners reporting getting any real help. But Ford Motor Company has an official Ford account on the forum, and there are a few responses to comments made by forum members.
NHTSA References to Dealers
An owner from North Carolina went to a dealer after the wipers of a 2023 Bronco with only about 100 mph on the clock failed to operate “as needed.” This happened for the first time when driving in rainy weather at 70 mph. The mechanic couldn’t duplicate the failure!
Highly frustrated with the wipers swiping only about 25 times and then slowing to intermittent on a 4-week-old 2023 Bronco, an owner from Ohio also approached a dealership. His complaint states that they “contacted the hotline and are being told that does not have rain-sensing wipers. So not sure what to do next. But it is dangerous and if driving in a rain, having to switch the switch on and off is distracting.”
Another Ohio owner, who took delivery of a 2023 Bronco Wildtrak in mid-December 2022, told the forum he’d had the same problem. After the service manager saw the issue for himself, they “typed in the description of the issue and it came back with 1,700 reports of the same thing. He (the service manager) said he would not be surprised if it becomes a recall. They ordered a new motor for mine and I expect it in 3-5 days.” This comment was on February 18, 2023, and he had not yet received the new motor when this was posted.
Ford’s Response on the Bronco 6G Forum
The first response was on March 10, 2022, to the member who had started the thread more than 11 weeks earlier. He had asked if anyone else had a wiper control issue where the wipers start to slow down at fast speeds and then seem to operate intermittently. “It is almost impossible to see at times. You have to monkey around with it to keep them going.” Ford’s eventual response read: “Hello! Can you please privately message us with your VIN and the name and location of your Ford dealer? I’d like to look into this wiper concern. Thank you!”
Ultimately, it didn’t lead anywhere because he is a Canadian resident, a fact stated for all to see (including Ford) under Location. But he had already approached Transport Canada and they agreed it was an urgent safety matter that required a recall. He doesn’t say, but it appears to be a 2022 model year.
All later responses from Ford are much the same, with no solution suggested. The most recent was on February 17, 2023, to the Michigan owner of a new 2023 Bronco Raptor who had experienced the wiper issue in a snowstorm that week. “Hi there! Will you send us a message with your VIN and your local Ford dealer? I can look into things on my end.”
What Should You Do if Your 2023 Bronco Has Wiper Problems?
Not all 2023 Ford Broncos have issues with the windshield wipers. But if yours does, and you want to do something about it, contact Lemberg Law. If we take action in terms of lemon law, Ford will have to pay your legal fees.
All you need to do is call us at 844-928-4443 or complete our contact form. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify.