A flaw so precise, Ford caused it twice?
Ford is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a Mach-E recall repair apparently failed to fix serious battery problems. The affected electric vehicles (EVs) had faulty battery contacts, leading to dangerous loss of control issues for drivers. While Ford issued an initial recall in June 2022 for the problem, the repair doesn’t seem to have fixed the issue.
That’s bad news for the safety of your year model 2021 or 2022 Mach-E, but it may mean you have the right to file a lemon claim. Here’s what you should know about the problem and what you can do to hold Ford accountable for this dangerous flaw.
Ford’s Initial Recall Didn’t Solve Mach-E Battery Issues
In June 2022, Ford recalled approximately 49,000 2021-2022 Ford Mach-E due to a flaw in the high-voltage battery. The battery’s contactors were vulnerable to heat damage during direct current high-voltage fast charging, a fundamental part of the model’s appeal. If the contactors heated up too much, they could fail and prevent the battery from powering the electric vehicle correctly.
There were two potential failure modes. The first led to the contactor to warp open, preventing the battery from powering the vehicle. According to the initial NHTSA report, this could happen while the EV was in operation. Damaged, open contactors cause an immediate loss of power and no ability to turn the car back on. If a driver loses power like this while driving on a busy road, they are at significant risk of an accident.
The other, more dangerous failure mode occurred because the extreme heat could cause the contactors to weld closed. This would cause the battery to constantly provide power to the vehicle, leading to so-called “wide open pedal events.” In other words, the cars would accelerate out of control. Drivers could be forced to use the emergency brake and risk damage to the engine to regain control of the vehicle long enough to pull over and turn it off. Uncontrolled acceleration poses an even greater risk of deadly accidents than loss of power since high speeds are directly correlated with crash severity.
By the end of 2022, Ford reportedly fixed most affected vehicles by updating the onboard diagnostic control module software to monitor battery temperature. It also issued a technical service bulletin to replace the affected vehicles’ junction boxes to reduce the overheating risk. However, that wasn’t the end of the issue. Despite the software updates and junction box replacement, more than a dozen Mach-E owners have reported a loss of motive power this year.
New Investigation Into Mach-E Battery Contactors
Due to the ongoing reports of problems, the NHTSA has chosen to investigate Ford and the Mach-E repairs. A primary focus of the investigation is Ford’s handling of the recall. Among other issues, the agency is reviewing whether the carmaker recalled enough vehicles – a total of 64,727 vehicles are subject to the current investigation. Furthermore, it intends to determine whether Ford’s initial repairs constituted an “effective remedy,” meaning one that actually resolved the defect.
An NHTSA investigation is a serious matter for manufacturers. Depending on the outcome, the agency may order the company to issue another recall, pay fines, or even refund owners for their faulty cars. While it is not yet clear what the eventual outcome of the investigation will be, it is a clear sign that owners of 2021-2022 Mach-Es should prepare for further issues with their vehicles.
Could Your Mach-E Be Eligible for a Lemon Claim?
If you own an affected Mach-E, you do not need to wait for the NHTSA to finish investigating the battery issues. Instead, you may be able to file a lemon claim with Ford yourself.
Under California state law, carmakers are subject to strict warranty requirements. They must repair vehicles with manufacturing defects that affect their value, utility, or safety. If they cannot fix a defective car in a reasonable number of attempts, they must either replace it or refund the owner its purchase price less reasonable depreciation.
2021 and 2022 Mach-Es are most likely still eligible for lemon claims because they are still under warranty, and the initial recall occurred before the vehicles were 18 months old. The biggest issue is whether the manufacturer has failed to repair any defects within a “reasonable number of attempts.”
The definition of a reasonable number of repairs depends on the defect. If a problem does not pose a serious safety risk, manufacturers typically have four chances to repair the issue before the car is considered defective. However, that drops to just two attempts for a serious safety issue. If the safety issue returns after two tries, the owner has grounds to request a refund for the vehicle’s value.
The ongoing reports of power loss demonstrate that Ford has failed at least once to satisfactorily repair a known safety issue in the affected Mach-Es. If your car has repeatedly faced loss of power or wide open pedal events, you likely have grounds to file a lemon claim against Ford.
Talk to the Experts About Your Mach-E Lemon Claim
You shouldn’t have to worry that your car could lose power at any moment or accelerate out of control. If you own a Mach-E with a defective battery, you should talk to the experienced California lemon law attorneys at Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys.
We’ve spent years fighting back against negligent carmakers to help consumers get compensation for defective vehicles. Schedule your consultation today to learn whether your Mach-E might be eligible for a lemon claim and discover how we can help you hold Ford accountable for putting your life at risk.