Whoops! Ford Recalls Millions of F-150s in 5 Years

Whoops! Ford Recalls Millions of F-150s in 5 Years

America’s Car Manufacturer


Since its founding in 1903, Ford has easily been thought of as “America’s car manufacturer.” Within its first year of existence, Ford had already turned a profit of $37,000, which was a substantial amount at the beginning of the 20th Century. By 1956, the Ford Company began to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.  In 2017, Ford produced over 6.5 million vehicles – selling them across the globe.


Ford’s F-150 has long been America’s best-selling truck. With a full-sized cab and a variety of engine options, the F-150 has been a favorite of truck enthusiasts who use it for work, outdoor activities, or even shuttling the kids to school.

Transmission Challenges

Image of a 2017 Ford F-150 10-speed transmission
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That said, the Ford F-150 has had its share of bumps along the road. One large, and far-reaching issue has been with its transmission. As recently as February, 2019 Ford recalled almost 1.5 million F-150s because of a transmission downshift issue that could increase the risk of a crash. The 2019 recall affected F-150 models that were built between 2011 – 2013 and had a six-speed automatic transmission. Ford said that there was potential for the transmission to lose the electronic signal from the transmission output speed sensor to the powertrain control module. This interruption would cause the transmission to unintendedly downshift into first gear without warning, which could result in loss of control of the vehicle. At the time the recall was issued, Ford was aware of five accidents that had occurred as a result of the problem, along with one report of whiplash that was potentially related.

To make matters more complicated, in June, 2019, Ford recalled over 100,000 of its 2013 F-150s again to fix faulty software that was installed after the February recall.

Not Quite Parked

This wasn’t the first time the F-150 had been recalled as a result of a transmission issue. In 2018, Ford recalled approximately 350,000 vehicles, including 2018 F-150s and 2018 Expedition SUVs with a 10-speed automatic transmission. That recall occurred because of a transmission issue that had the potential to result in the car moving after the driver had put the gear shift in “Park” and removed the keys. The issue at hand involved the clip that locks the gear shift cable to the transmission in automobiles. In some of the affected cars, the clip wasn’t firmly seated, which had the potential to result in the car shifting into a different gear than the one the driver had placed it in.

Additionally, Ford recalled a smaller number of F-150s in 2018 for a similar issue to the one above, but slightly different. This recall stemmed from vehicles that may have been missing a roll pin that attaches to the pawl rod guide cup to the transmission case. It had the potential to cause the transmission to eventually lose the park function even when the gear shift was in the “Park” position.

Automatic Transmission Woes


Image of 2016 Ford F-150
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In March, 2016, Ford recalled over 150,000 2011-2012 F-150s for a downshift issue similar to the 2019 recall. For that recall, once again the automatic transmission could unexpectedly shift into first gear, thus causing loss of control of the vehicle.

Ford Finding Its Way

As with all of its recalls, Ford has been responsive to these issues and has been on top of finding a solution and implementing it in potentially affected vehicles. Overall, the Ford F-150 remains a safe, inviting truck to drive. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Ford F-150 five stars for its overall safety rating. And U.S News & World Report gave the 2019 Ford F-150 a safety rating of 9.4.

As with any vehicle, old or new, it’s important to pay attention to how the car drives, feels, reacts to the road, as well as keeping abreast of any recalls affecting your vehicle that may have issued.

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