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Ford recalls 668,000 F-150 pickup trucks due to unexpected downshift issue

Ford said Tuesday it is issuing a recall for 2014 model year F-150 pickup trucks because they can unexpectedly downshift into first gear and cause the driver to lose control or lock the rear wheels.

A loss of signal can cause the transmission to downshift regardless of vehicle speed, the company told the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall covers 668,000 Ford F-150 trucks worldwide, including 552,000 in the United States. Ford said it is aware of 300 warranty reports, 96 field reports and 124 customer complaints covering 482 vehicles related to the 2014 F-150’s unexpected downshift.

These include two reports of injuries and one accident that may be linked to the problem. NHTSA said one owner reported “experiencing an unexpected downshift causing his vehicle to collide with a concrete barrier and another vehicle, injuring him and the driver of the other vehicle.”

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Ford says it expects the repair, which will take the form of a dealer-performed software update to the powertrain control module software, to be available in the third quarter of 2024. Once the automaker has prepared the repairs, customers will be able to carry out the repair using the mobile service. and pickup and delivery from participating dealers.

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The company said that before drivers downshift to first gear, the malfunction indicator light (MIL) may illuminate.

In some cases, the output shaft signal may recover while driving and the vehicle will resume normal operation; in other cases, the vehicle may need to be stopped and restarted to return the transmission to normal operation.

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NHTSA and Ford met several times since March to discuss the issue before Ford agreed to the latest recall.

The company expects the number of vehicles affected by the issue to be less than 1% of the total recalled population. Ford also said the rate of downgrades for 2014 model year F-150s remains lower than previously recalled 2011-2013 F-150 vehicles.

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In 2016, Ford recalled 153,000 2011-2012 Ford F-150 vehicles equipped with six-speed automatic transmissions to address the downshifting issue.

NHTSA opened an investigation into the problem in December 2017, and in February 2019, Ford expanded its recall to cover 1.48 million F-150 trucks in North America, including 2013 models. Later in 2019, Ford issued a recall for 107,000 2013 F-150 trucks due to a problem with the fix.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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