You’re unlikely to find Ford 150 pickup trucks in car auctions anytime soon. If you’ve been checking out the latest car news, you might have heard that Ford is about to recall over 400,000 late-model F-150 units. This decision came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the engine block heaters of the Ford 150 can short. Among the affected vehicles are:
- 2017-19 Super Duty vehicles manufactured at the Kentucky Truck Plant from October 8, 2015 to November 17, 2018 and at the Ohio Assembly Plant from February 5, 2016, to November 17, 2018.
- 2015-19 F-150 vehicles manufactured at the Kansas City Assembly Plant from August 21, 2014 to November 17, 2018 and at the Dearborn Truck Plant from March 18, 2014 to November 17, 2018.
What’s Wrong with the Ford F-150?
The issue has something to do with the engine block heater. This component allows contaminants and water to get into the splice connector. Once there is corrosion in the connector and when you plug it to a local electrical outlet, it may trip a circuit. If worse comes to worst, it may melt, spark, and start a fire. Ford reported that they have at least three known underhood fire incidents related to this faulty design. Thankfully, in the United States, there have been no reported accidents, injuries, or fires associated with the Ford F-150’s engine block heater issue. On the other hand, in Canada, around 463,793 trucks are reportedly affected.
The root cause of the problem can be traced back to electrical grease. Before November 17, Ford did not add dielectric grease to the block heater connectors on F-150 gasoline units. The dielectric grease is a silicone lubricant that functions as an insulator that blocks moisture. According to the report from NHTSA, Ford only applied the grease on diesel models manufactured after October 24, 2017.
Ford had also made some modifications on the connectors and even rerouted the wiring. The automaker mounted the wiring in areas that were not properly shielded by the underbody, placing them too close to the ground. Moreover, the NHTSA reported that Ford angled the female connectors at a 45-degree (or greater) angle. Consequently, such a design has higher risks for an electric short.
Alternatives to the Ford F-150
At the start of the new year, dealers will begin squeezing grease onto the connectors. This is good news for drivers who prefer owning Ford pickup trucks. However, if you are one of them, you should know that the F-series has been subjected to several investigations and recalls.
Last April 2018, Ford recalled the 2018 model because of a transmission defect that can cause potential roll-aways. In June, it was reported that a small collection of 2018 models had oil and fuel leaks. Moreover, in September, the American automaker recalled over 1.6 million trucks that are at risk for fires due to issues in the B-pillars. NHTSA also announced that it will investigate F-350 and F-250 trucks for faulty tailgates.
If you are ready to take the risks, go ahead and purchase a Ford pickup truck. However, you must know that there are better alternatives to the F-150. For instance, the 2017 Nissan Titan is comparable in terms of engine power, cab space, and fuel economy. You can also opt for the 2017 Toyota Tundra if you’re after a high predicted reliability score. If you need a smaller truck, you can choose the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It might not have the same configurations and towing capacity as the Ford 150 truck, but it offers a comfortable ride and it is perfect for urban streets.
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