Feds consider expansion of Ford F-150 brake recall

Keith Laing
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The U.S. government is weighing an expansion of a brake recall that has already affected 271,000 of Ford Motor Company’s F-150 pickups, which are the best-selling vehicles in the nation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is considering expanding the recall to include vehicles from model years 2015 and 2016 after receiving complaints from drivers who reported experiencing “complete” brake failures, even with pedals floored.

The F-150 recall was initially limited to the 2013 and 2014 model years. But NHTSA said it has received 10 complaints about the 2015 version of the popular pickup and 15 complaints about the 2016 edition.

Complaints for the 2015 trucks say the brake pedal went to the floor with complete loss of braking; the brake warning light and/or brake fluid level light illuminated in those trucks, the agency said. In the 2016 models, neither warning light was present.

NHTSA initially launched an investigation of the Ford F-150 brake problems in March, before the 2013 and 2014 model years were called back in May. The agency said then about 420,000 pickups with 3.5-liter, six-cylinder engines from the 2013 and 2014 model years could be prone to brake failures, citing complaints it received at the time from 33 drivers.

One driver in Brentwood, California, complained of brakes failing “without warning” while driving at about 5 miles per hour.

“The contact depressed the brake pedal all the way to the floor and had to place the vehicle in park to stop,” the complaint said. “The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the master cylinder and booster pump needed to be replaced.”

Ford’s F-Series pickup is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S, and the F-150 accounts for a majority of those sales. Ford sold 780,354 of the F-series trucks last year and the company has already moved 595,656 additional pickups in the opening three quarters of this year, according to sales figures that have been released by the company on Monday.

NHTSA announced on Monday that is separately investigating complaints about Ford’s Fusion and Edge that have been linked to five injuries.

The agency said it has received 1,560 reports of problems with the “door ajar” light of 2011-13 Ford Edge vehicles, and 547 complaints of electric power steering failures on model-year 2010 Ford Fusions.

The door light problem has resulted in one injury, while the power steering complaint followed four injuries.

Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said the company is cooperating with NHTSA.


Nissan Versa air bags under probe

The government is investigating complaints that side air bags on some Nissan Versa cars can inflate if the driver or passenger doors are slammed too hard.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the probe covers about 155,000 cars from the 2012 model year.

The agency says it has three complaints that the side curtain and seat-mounted thorax air bags can inflate when the doors are shut, possibly when they’re slammed too hard. NHTSA will determine how often the problem happens and decide if a recall is needed.

Associated Press