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New Ford Recall, Over 550K Trucks Due to Sudden Downshifting Issue

Ford has issued a recall for over 550,000 pickup trucks in the United States due to a critical issue with their transmissions. These vehicles can unexpectedly downshift to first gear, posing a significant safety risk. Here’s an in-depth look at the problem, the affected models, and what Ford plans to do to address it.

The Affected Models

The recall specifically targets certain 2014 model-year F-150 pickups. Ford’s F-Series pickups, including the F-150, are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S., making this recall particularly significant. The problem identified could lead to dangerous driving conditions, as the transmissions can suddenly shift to first gear regardless of the truck’s speed.

The Cause of the Issue

The root of the problem lies in a lost signal between the transmission speed sensor and the powertrain control computer. This loss of communication can cause the vehicle to downshift abruptly. Corrosion and issues with connector pins have also been identified as contributing factors.

Transmission Speed Sensor

Safety Risks

Ford has reported that this unexpected downshifting can lead to drivers losing control of their vehicles, which greatly increases the risk of accidents. Documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that there have been numerous reports and complaints regarding this issue. Specifically, Ford has noted 396 warranty and field reports, 124 customer complaints, and 130 complaints to the government about the problem. Of these, 52 incidents involved rear wheels locking up or drivers losing control, with two reports of injuries and one potential crash related to the issue.

How Ford is Addressing the Issue

To resolve this dangerous problem, Ford dealers will update the powertrain control software at no cost to the vehicle owners. Ford plans to notify owners through letters starting in early July, with repairs expected to be available by the third quarter of the year. The company offers convenient service options, including mobile service or pickup and delivery at participating dealers.

Warning Signs for Drivers

Before the sudden downshift occurs, drivers might notice a malfunction indicator light on the dashboard. In some instances, the signal can be restored while driving, allowing the truck to be driven normally again. However, in other cases, drivers may need to stop and restart the engine to reset the transmission.

Ongoing Investigations

This recall comes on the heels of an investigation initiated by U.S. auto safety regulators in March. The investigation focused on complaints from owners of over 540,000 Ford pickup trucks from the 2014 model year experiencing abrupt downshifts. The NHTSA is also examining whether these trucks should have been included in earlier recalls for similar issues. Previously, Ford recalled trucks and other vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 model years in 2016 and expanded the recall in 2019 to include 2011 to 2013 model year pickups. These previous recalls covered about 1.5 million vehicles.

Ford’s Commitment to Safety

In their statement, Ford emphasized their commitment to working with the NHTSA to support the ongoing investigation. The company is taking significant steps to ensure the safety of its customers by addressing this transmission issue comprehensively.

What Should Owners Do?

Owners of the affected F-150 pickups should watch for notification letters from Ford and schedule the necessary repairs as soon as possible. Utilizing Ford’s mobile service or the pickup and delivery option can make the repair process more convenient. Staying informed about potential warning signs, such as the malfunction indicator light, can also help drivers manage the issue until the software update is completed.

Ford’s recall of over 550,000 pickup trucks underscores the importance of vehicle safety and proactive measures to address critical issues. By updating the powertrain control software and working closely with safety regulators, Ford aims to mitigate the risks associated with the sudden downshifting problem. Owners are encouraged to take immediate action to ensure their vehicles are safe and functioning correctly.