Ford is recalling approximately 1.48 million F-150 pickup trucks across North America because of a potential downshift issue with the transmission.
The company claims that select 2011-2013 Ford F-150s with the six-speed automatic gearbox may experience an unintended downshift into first gear without warning. This could result in a loss of control of the vehicle and subsequently increase the risk of a crash. Ford reports that it is aware of five accidents related to the issue, one of which caused whiplash injuries to the driver.
The problem relates to a speed sensor which may temporarily stop communicating with other parts of the truck’s powertrain. Vehicles affected were built at Ford’s Dearborn plant from April 28, 2010 to October 28, 2013 and at the Kansas City assembly plant from May 18, 2010 to November 18, 2013. Of the 1.48 million F-150s recall, 1.26 million reside in the United States while 221,000 are in Canada.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation in December 2017 into whether an additional 1.4 million 2011-2013 vehicles should be recalled following 123 complaints and two reported crashes. The outcome of the investigation is still pending, but the NHTSA reports that the unexpected downshift can cause the rear tires to lock up and the vehicle skid.
Towards the end of December 2018, Ford announced that it was recalling 874,000 F-150 and F-Series Super Duty trucks in the United States and Canada due to issues with the engine block heater. The automaker asserted that water and contaminants could intrude into the block heater cable’s splice connector and cause corrosion and other damages that could lead to a fire.