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Ford Recalls Over 550,000 F-150s Because They Can Shift Into First Gear At Speed

Photo: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

Ford is recalling over 550,000 2014 model-year F-150 pickup trucks for a major fault. The pickup’s transmission can unexpectedly downshift into first gear at any speed. Drivers are unsurprisingly losing control of their F-150s when the sudden downshift strikes. The recall resulted from an investigation launched by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in March. The agency is also looking into whether other model years should be included in the recall.

This is how the NHTSA Safety Recall Report describes the defect:

Some vehicles may experience an intermittent loss of the transmission Output Shaft Speed (OSS) sensor signal to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), potentially resulting in a temporary, unintended downshift into first gear.

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The defect’s cause could be corrosion or connector pin problems. Impacted owners will be notified early next month on how get the necessary software update from dealers.

Ford told the Associated Press that drivers could see a malfunction indicator light on the dashboard before the downshift. There have been cases when the defect was temporarily remedied while the F-150 was still moving. Drivers could even get the pickup’s transmission back to normal operations by stopping and restarting the engine.

With the downshifts causing the rear wheel to lock up, there have also been reports of incidents on the road. One notable incident reported to the NHTSA involved a driver losing control and the F-150 hitting a concrete barrier before striking another vehicle. Both drivers were injured.

Ford claims that less than one percent of recalled vehicles have the defect. Recent model-year F-150s faced significant recalls for the parking brake activating while at speed and the windshield wiper motors failing.

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