Owners of 2021 Ford F-150 pickup trucks have taken to social media and online forums, posting images of rust on underbody parts on their brand-new trucks.
Car and Driver asked Ford about this issue and received a statement saying, "While some F-150 underbody steel components may show signs of surface rust, this will have no impact on part performance or life."
It's currently unclear how this problem happened or how many of the extremely popular pickup trucks are affected.
Some new 2021 F-150 owners are taking to the internet to complain that their brand-new trucks were shipped from the factory with heavily rusted parts, including the exhaust, differential, and wheel hubs. Ford has not explained how this could have happened, and it's unclear how many of the popular pickups are affected by the problem. A story by the Detroit Free Press highlighted the stories of some of the customers who had eagerly awaited the first 2021 F-150 pickups, only to discover rust all over their truck's axles, exhaust, wheel hubs, and other underbody parts.
Owners speaking to the Freep from across the country—many living outside of the traditional "salt belt" where vehicle corrosion is most prevalent—and more owners we found on forums claimed Ford dealers took delivery of their trucks in this rusty condition.
A video posted by truck blogger Tim Esterdahl, who lives in Nebraska, said he discovered the rust after a few thousand miles. His video shows a rear differential caked in corrosion, along with the driveshaft's U-joint and the exhaust, while other parts like the differential's drain plug were entirely rust-free. A thread from January 31 on F150Gen14.com features an owner in Texas who reports thick surface rust on his differential, wheel hubs, and various bolts.
So far it's impossible to estimate how many trucks might be affected—or to understand how Ford apparently allowed so many of these parts to pass visual inspection during production.
"We are committed to delivering high-quality products and services for our Ford customers," Ford told Car and Driver. "As with all customer feedback, we take these concerns seriously. While some F-150 underbody steel components may show signs of surface rust, this will have no impact on part performance or life."
The first batch of 2021 F-150 pickups arrived at dealers in November. While it retains the aluminum body of its predecessor—a revolutionary design for pickup trucks that cost Ford billions—the frame and most key parts under the vehicle are steel or high-strength steel. Surface rust on vehicle undercarriages isn't uncommon in aged vehicles, especially in our home state of Michigan where road crews aren't exactly light on the salt, and it's not necessarily a safety defect unless that corrosion prematurely eats away thinner-gauge metal parts like bolts. But for any new vehicle to arrive with parts that look prematurely aged is especially alarming given the strict quality control processes in place at modern assembly plants.
Part shortages from axle suppliers caused production delays in December for certain F-150 models. We will continue to monitor's Ford's response to complaints of rusty parts on the F-150.
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