Regulators Investigating 420,000 Ford Trucks For Brake Failure Issue

Image courtesy of Van Swearington

After receiving dozens of complaints from consumers about brake failure, federal regulators have opened a probe into 420,000 of Ford’s most popular truck brand, the F-150. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigations recently opened an investigation into model year 2013 and 2014 F-150 trucks with 3.5-liter, six-cylinder engines.

According to a notice [PDF] from NHTSA, the agency has received 33 consumer complaints about brake failure in the vehicles, including some drivers reporting that pedals can suddenly go to the floor with a complete loss of braking.

Of the reports received by NHTSA, 31 came in the last 12 months, including 20 in the last seven months. Four of the complaints resulted in crashes.

“Whenever at a stop in traffic, the brake pedal drifted to the floor causing loss of brakes resulting in striking the car in front of me,” one F-150 owner tells NHTSA. “The truck [has] been at Ford to replace multiple pieces of the brake system with absolutely no better result.”

In other instances, the drivers reported that the brake light or low fluid level illuminated while driving.

“Brake light came on while driving at 65 MPH,” one consumer writes in a complaint. “Immediately tested brakes and felt normal application. Three miles later approaching a four-way intersection, initiated second pedal application and brake pedal went to floor with no associated braking action.”

Some of the owners say that when they took their vehicles to a dealership for repair, they were told the issue was a result of brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder to the brake booster.

“Service inspection found master cylinder had leaked all fluid from reservoir into brake booster and into vacuum line,” another consumer reported. “Replaced brake booster, master cylinder, vacuum check valve, and vacuum line.”

NHTSA says it will investigate how often the issue happens and how large it might be before deciding on whether or not a recall is needed.

A spokesperson for Ford tells the Associated Press that it takes customer safety seriously, and will cooperate with the investigation.

[via The Associated Press]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.