The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently began an investigation into how the Ford Motor Company handled a recall involving 200,000 F-Series
heavy duty Super Duty pickup trucks over sudden loss of power and engine shutdown. NHTSA officials will determine the root cause of the issue and determine if Ford went far enough to address the problems.
The issue involves the exhaust-gas sensor in Super Duty F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks equipped with the 6.7-liter turbo-diesel Power Stroke engine. The sensor can fail while the truck is being driven, prompting the driver to “Stop Safely Now.” After the message is displayed, the truck will lose all throttle response, possibly leading to the shut down of the engine. The truck remains inoperable until after that sensor is replaced. Owner concerns are two-fold regarding the issue.
First involves the sudden nature of the warning light, loss of power and/or stopping of the engine. Customers worry about dangerous situations according to the NHTSA’s document.
“It was not even an engine component,” the vehicle owner told NHTSA. “It is programming alone that prevented moving the truck to a safe location. What if this was a railroad grade crossing?”
Another concern is the inability of the truck to operate without a new sensor. The NHTSA document points to several F-Series vehicles outfitted as ambulances, which emit an audible chime five times before shutting down, and can’t be immediately restarted.
Lastly, some consumers have said that even after the sensor has been replaced multiple times, the problem still occurs.
NHTSA officials will investigate vehicles involved in the recall as well as other models, and determine if Ford has done properly handled the recall. This is the second NHTSA investigation into the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks in a year, as a February 2014 investigation focused on steering issues.