In a well-made car, brakes typically last up to 50,000 miles. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for recent models of America’s top-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150. At least 25 complaints have been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alleging sudden brake failure in 2015 and 2016 Ford F-150 pickup trucks.
Last May, a recall was announced for 271,000 model year 2013 and 2014 F-150 pickups because the master cylinders could potentially leak brake fluid, which would cause the brakes to fail. Now, in light of the recent complaints, U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether the recall should be expanded to include newer model years. It should be noted that the 2015 and 2016 models use the same engine that caused problems in the earlier models.
One Florida man told NHTSA that the brakes on his truck failed while he was driving along the Florida Turnpike. As he tried to slow down, the brake pedal hit the floor and the truck continued at 70 miles per hour towards stopped traffic. Fortunately, the driver knew enough to put the truck into neutral and swerve to the side of the road. When he took the truck to the dealership, a mechanic told the owner that the master brake cylinder was failing, and that the company was aware of this common issue.
“Why is there not a recall?” he wrote in his complaint. “I could have killed somebody.”
Other owners of 2015 and 2016 F-150 models have reported similar experiences. Some drivers say that their brake failures were accompanied by warning lights and tones, while others did not get any sort of warning at all. Fortunately, there have been no accidents or injuries.
Ford has announced that they are fully cooperating with the investigation.
“We continuously evaluate our processes for potential improvements and when the data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers,” said Ford spokesperson Mike Levine in a statement.
Photo attribution: By Tuner tom (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons