Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford has announced a major recall on roughly 271,000 F-150 pickup trucks in North America from the 2013 and 2014 model years equipped with 3.5-liter engines over concerns a fluid leak could reduce braking power.
As we reported in March, the NHTSA received 33 complaints alleging brake failures in 2013-2014 F-150s. Nine crashes with no injuries have been reported to be caused by the issue. The final recall figure dropped significantly as the NHTSA was initially investigating 420,000 F-150s—approximately 36 percent of the company’s total F-150 sales for the 2013-2014 model years.
According to the NHTSA’s investigation document, the complaints alleged “symptoms of brake pedal going to the floor with complete loss of brake effectiveness, brake warning lamp illumination, and/or low or empty master cylinder reservoir fluid level with no visible leakage.” Meanwhile, several complaints alleged “repair facilities diagnosed the problem as brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder to the brake booster.”
Indeed, Ford diagnosed the issue as brake fluid at times leaking from the master cylinder, reducing the stopping ability of the front brakes. To remedy the defect, Ford dealers will replace the master cylinder and will also replace the brake booster if leaks are found from the master cylinder.
Takata airbag recalls worsen
In other truck recall news, a U.S. Senate report released today states that an airbag component shortage, brought about by the record-sized Takata airbag recalls, still has some automakers installing defective airbag devices.
Today’s Senate report states that a shortage of replacement parts has led car manufacturers, with the approval of federal regulators, to ‘upgrade’ older airbags in 2.1 million recalled vehicles with the problematic Takata inflators, NBC News reports. The report further states that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen are continuing to install defective airbag devices in new vehicles owed to a shortage of replacement parts.
Though the Takata devices still being installed have not actually been recalled, they do not contain the moisture absorbing desiccants included in newer and safer airbag designs, NBC News reports. Moisture has been blamed for causing Takata airbag propellants to destabilize and rupture their canisters like grenades in the event of an accident. So far, 10 deaths in the U.S. and over 100 injuries have been blamed on the defect.
Concerns over defective Takata airbags have led the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history. Over 50 million vehicles have been impacted so far.
Chrysler and Ford have announced Takata-related truck recalls in the last week.
Chrysler is recalling 2004-2008 Ram 1500, 2005-2009 Ram 2500, 2006-2009 Ram 3500, 2007-2010 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis and 2008-2010 Ram 4500 and 5500 Cab Chassis over concerns the airbag may rupture.
Chrysler also recalled 2008-2009 Sterling 4500 and 5500 Cab Chassis.
These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. These inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling. An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Ford’s most recent announcement recalled several vehicle models, including the Ford Ranger. Ford reports in its press release that it’s “not aware of any injuries associated with these passenger side frontal inflators in any Ford vehicles related to this safety recall.”
Ford states that its recall announcement does not include driver side airbag inflators.
Ford vehicles effected by the airbag recall include the 2007-2011 Ford Ranger, the 2007-2010 Ford Edge, 2006-2011 Ford Fusion, 2005-2011 Ford Mustang, 2007-2010 Lincoln MKX, 2006-2011 Lincoln MKZ and Zephyr and Mercury Milan vehicles built in North America.
Ford reports that 1,898,728 of its vehicles are affected by this latest recall, including 1,896,443 in the U.S. and federalized territories, 1,304 in Canada and one in Mexico. Dealers will replace the passenger-side frontal airbag inflator at no cost to the customer.
“Ford is committed to providing our customers with top quality vehicles. We are equally committed to addressing potential issues and responding quickly,” a spokesperson states in the press release.
“Customers who want to know if their vehicle is included in this recall can visit www.ford.com and click on safety recalls at the bottom of the page and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).”
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), said none of the new vehicles with Takata parts should be sold until the older airbag components have been replaced. It’s unclear if any pickups or vans are effected. Only Mitsubishi and Volkswagen has provided information on new vehicles that are still being equipped with the controversial canisters: the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 2016 Volkswagen CC, 2016 Audi TT and 2017 Audi R8.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans on recalling all of the defective airbags by 2018. Some vehicles use more than one Takata propellant canister.