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Ford Issues Recall Over Brightness of Headlights on F-150

New safety recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) affects Ford F-150s from model year 2018-2020.

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Have you noticed how many of today’s vehicles have really bright head lights? I can’t tell you how many times someone flashes their brights at me thinking I’ve got my high beams on in one of the new vehicles I review. Today’s vehicles have LEDs that just seem brighter, which is a good thing from a safety standpoint. And when you’re in a new truck, like the 2020 Ford F-150, that sits high off the ground, those LEDs can shine right in the eyes of drivers in sedans.

So it didn’t come as a surprise to me that the NHTSA has issued a compliance recall to the Ford Motor Company over the LED headlamps on new model F-150s. We now know even more about the latest F-150 recall. My colleague Marc Stern wrote about this and other recalls going on at Ford.

Safety compliance recall for select 2018-20 Ford F-150 vehicles with LED headlamps
Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall for select 2018-20 Ford F-150 vehicles with LED headlamps. When the daytime running lamps on affected vehicles are illuminated and the master lighting switch is manually rotated from the autolamp position to the headlamp-on (low-beam) position, the daytime running lamps remain activated instead of dimming to parking lamp intensity as required by federal motor vehicle safety standards.

This may reduce the visibility of other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash. What has been determined is that the daytime running lights and the regular headlights are staying on at full strength. As a result, the lights are much brighter than they are supposed to be and potentially blinding some oncoming drivers.

However, Ford is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this condition.
This action affects 166,196 vehicles in the U.S. and federal territories and 50,989 in Canada.

2019 Ford F-150 grille, LED headlightsHow To Determine If Your Ford F-150 Has a Recall
The easiest way to determine if your vehicle has any recall is to plug the VIN into the NHTSA’s website. For this specific recall, affected vehicles were built at Dearborn Truck Plant, Jan. 5, 2017, to Oct. 10, 2019, and Kansas City Assembly Plant, Jan. 25, 2017, to Oct. 10, 2019.

Dealers will update the body control module software configuration. The Ford reference number for this recall is 20C03. Local dealers are aware of the recall and will schedule your truck for the needed patch and repair.

Where To Find The Latest Ford F-150 Information
Check Torque News every day for updates on the latest information regarding the best-selling vehicle in America – Ford F-150. I will be covering the F-150 and Ford trucks regularly giving you the latest information as well as opinion pieces related to the truck. Please follow my new Twitter handle @F150writer and also my other handler @driversside. Plus follow Torque News for all the latest news on Ford and Ford F-150, including my next story on the Electric F-150 that is coming.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.

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Kevin (not verified)    May 18, 2020 - 7:25PM

Word of warning on this recall, once you complete the update your truck will ALWAYS have all its running/marker lights on when the DRLs are active and you’re in drive. I took my truck back to Ford thinking something was wrong with the update and they confirmed that this is the new behavior. I personally hate this… now my tail lights and license plate lights are on all the time. Also, the DRL intensity is always in the lower mode. This seems like a sloppy fix from Ford; they basically just forced the vehicle to go into marker mode rather than fix the intensity change issue.

Bob myers (not verified)    August 11, 2020 - 11:05AM

In reply to by Kevin (not verified)

I had the recall done on my 18 as well. I too brought it back to Ford who said this is now normal. I hate it. What makes me so mad that when I tow a trailer the trailer lights never go off either. Somebody did not think this through. Do now I turn everything off when towing but on the backroads of east Texas being hilly and curves two lane roads I would like to have running front lights. Stupid, just stupid.

B. Ward (not verified)    January 24, 2021 - 9:09PM

I agree on the F-150 super bright headlight report , also check out the CJ/Wrangler Jeep , some have very blinding lights , don’t know if they are OEM or aftermarket , I have flashed my high beams and they can’t even lower them , you can see them flicker , but they still stay bright ! I have a Toyota sedan and these lights are murder on your eyes !