Ford recalls over 550K pickup trucks because transmissions can suddenly downshift to 1st gear

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Ford is recalling more than 550,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. because the transmissions can unexpectedly downshift to first gear no matter how fast the trucks are going.

The recall covers certain F-150 pickups from the 2014 model year. Ford’s F-Series pickups are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S.

Ford says in documents posted Tuesday by U.S. safety regulators that the downshifting can cause drivers to lose control of the trucks, increasing the risk of a crash.

The recalls come after U.S. auto safety regulators in March began investigating complaints that more than 540,000 Ford pickup trucks from 2014 can abruptly downshift to a lower gear and increase the risk of a crash.

Documents say the problem is caused by a lost signal between a transmission speed sensor and the powertrain control computer. There also could be corrosion and problems with connector pins.

Dealers will update the powertrain control software at no cost to owners, who will be notified by letters in early July.

In a statement Tuesday, Ford said it expects repairs to be available in the third quarter of this year. Owners will be able to use mobile service or pickup and delivery at participating dealers.

Ford says in documents posted Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it has 396 warranty and field reports and 124 customer complaints about the problem, covering 482 trucks.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker says it knows of 130 complaints to the government, with 52 alleging that rear wheels locked up or that drivers lost control of the trucks. Two of the complainants reported injuries and one reported a crash that could have been caused by the problem, Ford said.

Ford’s statement said that before the trucks downshift, drivers could see a malfunction indicator light on the dashboard. In some cases, signals can be restored while the trucks are moving, and they can be driven normally. In other cases drivers may need to stop and restart the engine to get the transmissions to work properly.

The company says it expects fewer than 1% of the recalled vehicles to have the problem.

NHTSA said it started its investigation in March after getting complaints about sudden downshifts in the trucks’ automatic transmissions.

The agency is looking into whether those trucks should have been included in previous recalls for the problem.

Ford started recalling trucks and other vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 model years in 2016, and added two recalls in 2019 covering pickups from the 2011 to 2013 model years. The recalls covered about 1.5 million vehicles.

The company said it’s working with NHTSA to support the investigation.

Copyright © 2024 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.