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Ford Recalls 400K Pickups, Trucks, SUVs To Fix Trailer Brake Problem

In another major recall, Ford has recalled nearly 400,000 pickups, medium-duty trucks, and SUVs to repair a trailer-brake problem. The software problem can increase braking distances when you are towing also increasing the risk of crashes.

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If you have been into trailering any vehicle with your pickup or SUV, you have probably run into one of those vagueries of trailering, the trailer brake.

Through the years, three types of trailer brakes have been developed, the electric trailer brake, the hydraulic trailer brake, and the air trailer brake. As the name implies, the electric trailer brake works off the electrical system of your SUV or truck. They are hooked into the electrical system through connectors and are activated when you hit your vehicle's brakes.

In action, they rely on the electrical system to deploy and help to stop the trailer and whatever is on it. They rely on the electrical system to kick out the brake shoes built into your trailer, bringing the towed device to a stop.

Trailer brakes are essential to controlling any trailered device you are towing.

The other two types of trailer brakes rely on either activation through a closed hydraulic system (much like the hydraulic brakes of the days of brake shoes and drums on cars and trucks. The third type of brake is the air-activated system like the air brake on a heavy truck. Indeed, you can tell the heavy has air brakes when the operator lets off the brake pedal in the cab, and you hear the tell-tale rush of air.

In this story, though, we are dealing with a recall by Ford of nearly 400,000 SUVs, light and heavy-duty trucks. The automaker has recalled the following vehicles because of problems with trailer brakes:

  • 2021-2011 F-150 light pickups
  • 2022 Ford F-250 heavy-duty pickups
  • 2022 Ford F-350 heavy-duty pickups
  • 2022 Ford F-450 trucks
  • 2022 Ford F-550 trucks
  • 2022 Ford Expedition SUVs
  • 2022 Ford Maverick compact pickups
  • 2022 Lincoln Navigator SUVs

Because of this problem, there could be a loss of trailer brake functioning, resulting in extended stopping distances, increasing the risk of crashes.

According to the paperwork filed with the recall notice, there is a problem with the vehicle software. There is an error in the software on vehicles equipped with electric or electric-over hydraulic trailer brakes. The result is that the brake system may not work at all.

Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles beginning the week of April 18. Once owners have received their notifications, they can contact their dealers to fix the problem. The fix is simple: dealers will update the integrated trailer brake module software free.

For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. Ford's identification number is 22S17. Or, owners can contact the NHTSA via its Vehicles Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Owners can also contact the agency via its website at www.nhtsa.gov. The NHTSA identification number is 22V193.

Photo Courtesy Ford Motor Co.

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 that 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.

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