Ford F-150 Transmission Problems Result in Recall For 550K Pickup Trucks from 2014 Model Year

Transmission problems have plagued several different models of Ford F-150 vehicles in recent years, leading to recalls and class action lawsuits

More than half a million Ford F-150 pickup trucks from the 2014 model year are being recalled, due to an automatic transmission malfunction that may cause the vehicles to abruptly downshift into first gear, resulting in a loss of control and increased risk of accidents.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Ford F-150 recall on June 24, indicating that the transmission problems appear to be caused by a loss of communication between the transmission output shaft speed sensor and the powertrain control module, which can cause the transmission to unexpectedly shift into first gear, regardless of the vehicle’s speed.

Unexpectedly downshifting into first gear can lead to a sudden and significant change in vehicle speed and handling, which may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. This loss of control can increase the likelihood of a crash, as the driver may be unable to properly steer or stop the vehicle in time to avoid obstacles or collisions.

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The recall affects at least 552,188 model year 2014 Ford F-150 pickup trucks. According to the recall notice, owners can take their impacted trucks to a certified dealer, where they will update the powertrain control software free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to go out July 1, 2024.

Owners can reach Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. The recall number for this issue is 24S37. Owners can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or visit www.nhtsa.gov.

Previous Transmission Problems with Ford F-150 Pickup Trucks

This is not the first issue Ford had with F-150 pickup truck transmissions. In 2019, Ford recalled 1.3 million 2011-2013 F-150 pickup trucks due to similar issues, which involved intermittent signal loss from the speed sensor.  At that time, Ford was aware of at least five accidents and one injury that appeared to stem from this transmission failure.

A few months later, Ford issued another recall impacting 107,850 F-150 pickup trucks from the 2013 model year, to fix similar software problems that may cause an abrupt shift into first gear without warning. At that time, the auto maker indicated that this issue impacted only 2013 model year vehicles with a 5.0-liter or 6.2-liter engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The earlier recall’s software lacked necessary updates to prevent unintended shifts and to ensure a warning light would illuminate if there was a problem.

Last year, a Ford transmission class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all owners of vehicles equipped with allegedly defective 10R80 10-speed transmissions, which were prone to harsh and erratic gear shifts, as well as sudden loss of power.

The complaint highlighted various transmission issues reported by Ford F-150 owners, such as power loss during acceleration, posing risks while merging onto freeways or crossing intersections. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that these transmission problems can lead to whiplash, discomfort from harsh shifting, distracting noises, and a general feeling of insecurity among occupants.

Plaintiffs maintained that Ford was aware of transmission issues, but allegedly refused to replace them, instead informing vehicle owners that the reported abrupt and harsh shifting was considered “normal.”

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