Ford developing retractable fender tie-down points

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Ford is looking to make it a little easier for drivers to secure cargo to a vehicle’s roof.

In a patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 12 (and originally filed on Sept. 9, 2022), Ford discusses incorporating fold-out tie-down points into vehicle fenders.

Ford retractable fender tie-down point patent image

Ropes or straps are needed to secure a large item—like a kayak or canoe—being hauled on the roof of the vehicle. While there are spots lower on the vehicle to tie them to, this can allow ropes or straps to rub against the paint, Ford notes in the application. The retractable tie-down points help keep ropes and straps off the bodywork and away from the paint.

The tie-down points consist of hardware that secures them to a hard point, such as a bit of the inner structure of the vehicle inside of a front fender, and a hinge that allows them to deploy when needed. It seems pretty straightforward, assuming a given vehicle has enough space on its fenders for an ideally located tie-down point at the right angle to keep the straps taught.

Ford retractable fender tie-down point patent image

Ford retractable fender tie-down point patent image

While such a feature could prove popular with the active-lifestyle crowd, retractable tie-down points might not reach production. Ford files a steady stream of patent applications, but some ideas, like the retractable bike rack that surfaced in 2017, don’t get used in production vehicles.

If this feature does appear on a production vehicle, it would likely be a good fit for an SUV, perhaps in combination with the split tailgate seen in another recently published Ford patent application.

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