Federal safety regulators are investigating 33 complaints of brake failure on previous-generation Ford F-150 pickups.
The investigation, opened on Monday, covers 420,000 F-150s with 3.5-liter V-6 engines from the 2013 and 2014 model years. The complaints include a complete loss of braking ability and four crashes. No injuries have been reported.
Some of the owners who filed reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a dealership inspection determined that all of the brake fluid inside the master cylinder reservoir had emptied into the brake booster.
“Applied brakes to slow down getting off Interstate I-85 and the pedal went to the floor with no warning other than the check brake fluid level afterwards,” an owner from Georgia wrote. A Texas driver said the fluid repeatedly disappeared almost immediately after refilling the reservoir.
“The next morning the brake pedal went straight to the floor,” the owner wrote. “No brakes at all. No sign of leak anywhere. No fluid on driveway. Vanishing fluid?”
A number of the complaints said Ford replaced the master cylinder and brake booster for free under the factory warranty, but the investigation could determine that some or all of the pickups need to be recalled to proactively make repairs.
“We take the safety of our customers very seriously, and we will cooperate with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do,” a Ford spokesman said in an email.
The investigation was reported earlier today by The New York Times and the Associated Press.