2023 Ford Trucks and SUVs Could Lose 4-Wheel Drive During Operation

2023 Ford Trucks and SUVs Could Lose 4-Wheel Drive During Operation

Recalls for the 2023 year model vehicles have already begun. Ford has identified a serious powertrain defect in certain 2023 F-150, Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator vehicles that could lead to major accidents. The carmaker issued recall 23V128000 to announce the problem and mailed notices to registered owners of potentially affected vehicles in late April. 

Affected vehicles may have front axle pinions that were not properly heat-treated. This treatment is crucial to maintaining its strength and durability. Untreated pinions are prone to fracturing, preventing the front axle from working as intended. 

A broken pinion will likely cause the loss of 4-wheel drive while the vehicle is in operation. In more severe cases, it may cause the front wheels to lock up entirely. The pinion will most likely break when operating the vehicle in 4-wheel drive or while backing up. In both cases, a break can lead to serious accidents or damage to the rest of the drivetrain. 

The flaw was detected by Ford when three vehicles had their pinions fracture while they were being backed onto vehicle transporters. Currently, the manufacturer believes only a small number of pinions were improperly treated. Still, all 2023 Lincoln Navigators, Expeditions, and F-150s owners should pay attention to their vehicles to ensure they do not experience the same problem. 

When a pinion breaks, drivers may hear a loud pop or crack from the front of the vehicle. They may also hear a clang if the driveshaft hits the underside of the car after the fracture occurs. Additionally, the vehicle will lose stability and may halt entirely as the wheels lock up.

How Losing 4-Wheel Drive Affects Your Driving

If you have received a notice about this recall, do not hesitate to get your vehicle repaired. Losing 4-wheel drive while operating your car can have a serious impact on your ability to drive safely.

Most drivers rely on 4-wheel drive when they are hauling heavy loads, driving off-road, or traveling in dangerous weather. When the powertrain works correctly, 4×4 operation gives the car better traction, making it easier to navigate tough conditions. However, that also makes losing 4-wheel drive during operation particularly dangerous. 

For example, if you lose front traction when driving on wet, muddy, or icy surfaces, your Ford truck or SUV will become a rear-wheel drive vehicle. This can make steering significantly more difficult and could easily lead to an accident if you’re driving at high speed. Similarly, losing that traction when towing a load could cause you to unexpectedly slow down or even move backwards if you’re going uphill. If you lose 4-wheel drive while off-roading, you may wind up entirely stranded. 

Lock-up front wheels are even worse. They may cause your vehicle to stop even at high speeds, potentially causing occupants whiplash. If you are driving in traffic, it is also likely to cause accidents as other cars cannot stop in time and hit your vehicle.

How to Get a Recalled Vehicle Repaired

If your Ford SUV or truck has been recalled in the past few months, you should make taking it in for repair a top priority. When manufacturers issue safety recalls for their vehicles, they must agree to repair the defect for free if a repair is known. While there is no time limit on getting the repair made, the longer you drive a defective vehicle, the more likely it is that you will suffer a serious accident. 

Ford has announced that a repair is available for affected vehicles, so owners who have received notice letters can go to licensed dealerships to get the issue resolved. The manufacturer will inspect the axle to determine if the pinion is faulty. If so, it will replace the gear set. If the pinion has already cracked, it will replace the entire front axle assembly. 

To get the repair done, all you need to do is bring your vehicle to the dealership and show them your recall notice. You should not be charged for parts or labor. 

Can Recalls Lead to Lemon Claims?

A recall on its own is not grounds for a lemon claim. By issuing the recall, the manufacturer acknowledges the problem and takes steps to resolve it. However, if the carmaker fails to repair the issue in a reasonable number of attempts, you may have reason to file a claim and have your car refunded.

However, you also have to meet other criteria set by California law. For example, you need evidence that the problem first occurred within 18 months or 18,000 miles of taking ownership of the vehicle. You must also prove that you first attempted to get it repaired during that time frame. 

That’s why getting recall repairs done quickly is not just a matter of safety. It’s also a critical step toward filing a lemon claim if your vehicle has recurring defects. Taking your car into the dealership for a recall repair counts as the manufacturer’s first attempt at repair. The sooner you take your vehicle in for repairs, the more likely it is you will still be within that 18-month window. 

Start Your Ford Lemon Claim With the Lemon Law Guys

Don’t waste another minute if the powertrain problem is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for your Ford. You can discuss your options with Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys. Our experienced attorneys know California lemon laws inside and out. We can help you determine if you’re eligible for a claim and the next step for getting your vehicle repaired, refunded, or replaced under warranty. Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling a free consultation today.

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