The Ford Motor Company has faced a series of safety inquiries this year. First, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated brake failures that occurred during training exercises with the Ford Explorer police Interceptor Utility Vehicle. Then, the NHTSA opened an inquiry into the Ford F-150 truck, which was reported to have brake problems of its own.
This trend is continuing. Now, the NHTSA says it is stepping up its initial inquiry of the F-150 after identifying at least seven crashes and 1,851 warranty claims.
On the F-150 models from 2011 and 2012 that use a twin-turbocharged V6 engine with EcoBoost, an electric vacuum assist pump failure reportedly requires drivers to use significantly more effort to pump the brakes. Specifically, tests showed that a 0.3g deceleration required double or even triple the amount of pedal force to compensate for an electric vacuum pump failure.
This failure is not reported by the truck's onboard diagnostic system. However, Ford alleges that the failure does not happen instantly, and warns drivers by creating additional noise and vibration. Going forward, the NHTSA plans to conduct another engineering analysis to determine which conditions could cause the electric vacuum assist pump to fail.