Ford Automatic Transmission Recall May Need to Be Expanded to Include 1.4M Navigators, Expeditions, F-150s

Federal highway traffic safety officials have opened an investigation into automatic transmission problems with certain Ford F-150s, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, which may result in a recall expansion involving up to 1.4 million vehicles that may unexpectedly downshift into first gear, posing a crash and injury hazard. 

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into potentially defective Ford transmissions on December 25, following at least 123 consumer complaints indicating the transmission had unexpectedly downshifted to first gear, resulting in at least two recorded accidents.

The investigation was opened by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) to determine whether Ford Motor Company failed to address issues that may impact an estimated 1.4 million vehicles at the time a prior Ford transmission recall was issued in 2016, due to similar issues.

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According to the NHTSA, Ford Motor Co. recalled an estimated 155,000 Ford F-150, Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Mustang vehicles in March 2016, due to certain models of transmission being able to unexpectedly downshift into first gear while in motion, posing a crash and injury risk to vehicle occupants.

In the event the transmission downshifts suddenly, it could cause the vehicle to slow down abruptly without warning and cause the rear tires to skid or lock up, increasing the risk of an auto accident.

According to ODI, 123 reports concerning the automatic transmission unexpectedly downshifting into a lower gear had been received involving vehicles not included in the original recall. Several reports submitted to ODI have indicated that many more Ford vehicles with similar style transmissions that could accidentally slip into first gear without warning were not included in the recall, leaving drivers and occupants at risk.

The NHTSA and ODI have opened an investigation into whether an estimated 1.4 million 2011 through 2013 Ford F-150, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles should be recalled to have the accidental transmission gear shift repaired.

Officials included in the investigation plan to further analyze the scope, frequency and consequence of the alleged incidents and determine whether a recall expansion is necessary.


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