When I worked at a local used-car dealership a few years ago, I noticed something interesting. On a number of models, specifically imports, a small screen was starting to show up. For some models, the screen had a combined function. When you shifted into reverse, an image to the rear of the vehicle opened up; when you went back to normal driving mode, the image was a map image as the image doubled as a navigational map for the vehicle's NAV display.
Earlier Cameras Limited To High-End Vehicles
At the time, though, the images were usually reserved for high-end products of the Lexus/Infiniti variety. However, I did note that one or two lower-end products, Toyota Corollas and Corolla Hybrids, had the same style image, though much smaller.
Since that time – roughly a decade-and-a-half ago – NAV displays have become more significant. Take our daily driver – a dead center screen in the dash flips over to a display highlighting the vehicle's rear. The display remains there whenever you are in reverse, and it is a real help in backing up.
Since that time, the function of the simple backup/NAV camera combo has expanded. Indeed, the number of screens has also expanded to the point where there may be more than six in a vehicle's passenger cabin ranging from the screens that keep kids happy and quiet with their games and internet activities (depending on whether your vehicle has a WiFi connection which many do) to screens that also provide you with your infotainment to your vehicle's various systems such as the speedometer/odometer or some other control system.
In light of the importance of this now-almost-mandatory device, Ford has launched a recall of certain Transit vans whose rearview camera image fails to operate. A missing rearview camera image reduces the driver's visibility of what is behind the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash, according to information filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In reality, only a small number of Transits involved directly with this recall – about 50 – however it also points to other camera-related recalls that have happened in the last couple of years. A couple of years ago, for instance, another recall occurred involving Mustangs whose cameras showed poor-quality or no images.
Recalled Vehicles Equipped With Backup Cameras
More specifically, the vehicles involved in this recall are equipped with rearview cameras. The problem is that the vehicles may have missing audio control modules, resulting in no rearview camera image while in reverse.
The fix is simple. Dealers will install audio control modules in the Transits that need them, and they will program the computer gear free of charge. Owner notification letters will be sent to owners around Sept. 26, 2022.
For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. The Ford recall identifier for this is 22S54. Or, owners can contact the NHTSA's Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Owners can also find the safety agency's website at www.nhtsa.gov. The NHTSA identifier is 22V621.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.