Ford Recalls Half a Million Trucks for Transmission Downshifts

Ford Recalls Half a Million Trucks for Transmission Downshifts

Ford is recalling over 550,000 F-150 pickups in the U.S. due to a transmission issue that can cause the vehicle to unexpectedly shift to first gear at any speed. This problem, affecting 2014 models with six-speed transmissions, can lead to sudden deceleration or loss of control.

Ford became aware of the issue in February after receiving multiple reports. The problem can trigger a malfunction indicator light. It might sometimes resolve itself, though in other cases, the truck must be restarted.

In 2019, Ford recalled about 1.2 million F-150s from model years 2011-2013 for a similar issue caused by a loss of signal between a speed sensor and a control module.

Ford will fix the current issue by updating the control module software at no cost to owners. Notification letters will be mailed soon, and the update will be available within three months.

Are Recalled Trucks Eligible for Lemon Claims?

When you hear about recalls like this, you might wonder whether your car is defective, or a “lemon.” In the case of the F-150 transmission recall, that’s unlikely. While Ford is taking responsibility for repairing these vehicles, the trucks no longer meet the criteria for a lemon claim, even under California’s consumer-friendly laws. There are two major reasons for this:

Lemon Law Time Limits

In California, vehicles made before 2020 are not eligible for lemon law claims because the law applies to new cars or those still under the manufacturer’s warranty. The California Lemon Law primarily covers new vehicles that have been purchased or leased with a manufacturer’s warranty. This ensures that buyers of new cars are protected against defects that could affect the vehicle’s safety, value, or use.

For a vehicle to be eligible for a defective warranty claim, it must still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. If a car was made before 2020, it is most likely no longer covered by the original warranty. As a result, it wouldn’t qualify for protection under state law.

It’s worth noting that some used vehicles can be covered if they are still under the original warranty or if they come with a dealer warranty. Furthermore, some manufacturer warranties last longer than the standard three-year period. However, once the warranty period expires, lemon protections no longer apply. For 2014 year-model trucks, it is highly unlikely that any warranties remain active. 

Lack of Other Defects

The other reason the recalled 2014 Ford trucks aren’t automatically considered lemons is because the state’s lemon law requires a documented history of failed repair attempts to establish that a vehicle is defective. 

California’s lemon law requires that a vehicle must have a significant defect covered by the warranty that the manufacturer or dealer cannot repair after a reasonable number of attempts. This is to prove that the vehicle has a persistent issue affecting its safety, value, or utility.

The lemon law is designed to protect consumers from vehicles that cannot be repaired despite multiple attempts. This means there must be evidence that the manufacturer or dealer has tried and failed to fix the problem. Without a history of failed repair attempts, it is not clear that the defect is unfixable, which is a core criterion for a vehicle to be considered a lemon.

A recall indicates a known issue that the manufacturer has identified and is willing to fix. A vehicle subject to recall doesn’t automatically have a persistent defect; it just means that there is a known issue that needs addressing. Recalls are proactive measures, while lemon claims are reactive, based on repeated failures to fix a problem. This distinction ensures that only vehicles with truly unfixable issues are labeled as lemons.

The requirement for a history of failed repair attempts ensures that there is a documented trail proving the defect persists despite reasonable efforts to fix it. This protects both consumers and manufacturers by providing clear evidence of a vehicle’s status.

When Can You File a Lemon Claim for a Recalled Car?

You can file a lemon claim for a car that’s been recalled by the manufacturer under California’s warranty law if certain conditions are met. Here’s when and how you can do it:

  • Defect Must Be Substantial: The issue causing the recall must be a substantial defect that impairs the vehicle’s safety, value, or use. Minor issues or cosmetic defects typically do not qualify.
  • Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts: The manufacturer or its authorized dealer must have made a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem. This generally means that the same problem persists after at least two attempts to repair it, or the vehicle has been out of service for repair for a cumulative total of 30 days or more.
  • Warranty Coverage: The defect must be covered under the vehicle’s original warranty. Even if the car has been recalled, the defect needs to fall within the warranty period for a lemon claim to be valid.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all repair attempts and communications with the manufacturer or dealer. This documentation is crucial for supporting your claim.

If the manufacturer or dealer fails to fix the defect within a reasonable number of attempts, you may have grounds to file a claim. This includes cases where the manufacturer has issued a recall but has not successfully remedied the problem.

Before filing a lawsuit, you may be required to go through arbitration, depending on your warranty or purchase agreement. If arbitration doesn’t resolve the issue, you can then file a lawsuit under the lemon law.

Learn More About Whether Your Truck Is Eligible for a Lemon Claim

Ford’s recall of 550,000 F-150s is bad news for owners, but here’s some good news: if you bought a truck that’s a lemon in California, the expert attorneys at Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys are available to help you. You can check to see if your truck is eligible under California lemon laws with our free online tool. Otherwise, you can contact us to discuss your case. 

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