Its boast of being "Built Ford Tough" is about to be tested.
The Associated Press is reporting that the United States government is investigating a series of complaints about Ford's F-150 pickup trucks' brakes. According to the AP, the investigation covers close to 420,000 F-150 3.5-liter, V6 models from 2013 and 2014, as confirmed by documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Numbers from Autodata Corp. show that Ford sold 763,402 F-series pickups in 2013 and 753,851 more the next year.
The NHTSA says it has received 33 complaints about the F-150s brakes, triggering the government's investigation of the 2013 and 2014 F-150 models. The exact problems reported range from drivers saying that their brake pedals suddenly got floored, leaving them unable to apply the brakes at all, with four drivers even saying their brakes triggered accidents. Fortunately, no injuries were associated with this alleged brake issue.
But the NHTSA added that all but two of the 33 complaints from F-150 owners came within the past year, and 20 of those in the last seven months, only heightening the chance that there really is a legitimate issue with the vehicle's brakes. Some of the owners who took their pickup trucks to the mechanic reported that they were told that leaking brake fluid was coming from the master cylinder, affecting the brake booster and thus triggering the brake issue.
The issue merely being brought up is concerning, considering Ford's F-Series of pickup trucks are the top-selling vehicle across the U.S. and that the F-150, in particular, drums up two-thirds of those sales. Needless to say, Ford is in full cooperation with the investigation, desperate to pinpoint the root of the possible problem, pending on what the government's probe reveals.
"I am surprised that there has been no action on this issue yet — the complete failure of the most important safety system of a 2.5-ton-plus vehicle," one affected F-150 driver wrote to the NHTSA.
Ironically enough, the NHTSA awarded the 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew with its five-star overall vehicle score in its New Car Assessment Program last April, marking the highest-possible rating and the safest F-150 ever.
If the investigation deems that there is indeed a brake issue, Ford's going to have to live up to its adage.