Ford sold more units of its iconic F-150 than any other truck last year. This truck is also offered in a few super-duty versions, including the F-350. Its 6.2-liter V8 can easily tow up to 18,000 pounds when fully loaded.
The F-350 is also a favorite among consumers because it doesn’t have as many reported issues as its lighter counterpart. However, according to a new lawsuit filed against Ford, the truck has one major flaw that is a huge detriment to safety and a big drain on customers’ wallets. Ford is no stranger to class-action lawsuits, but how is it dealing with this latest case?
The lawsuit against Ford
According to the two truck drivers who filed the lawsuit, some versions of the F-350 are prone to perpetually low tire pressure due to a faulty valve stem. All trims of the F-350 from the 2017 and 2018 model years with aluminum wheels are potentially affected by this issue. The first plaintiff, James Collins, first noted the issue on his 2018 F-350 Lariat DRW.
He has reported that he needs to fill up his tires as much as once a day to keep them fully inflated. He has had the valve stems replaced multiple times on his truck, but still experiences daily leaks. The other main plaintiff in the case, Ken Newman, had a similar problem with his 2018 DRW XL.
Both of the drivers suspect that the leaking valve stem is due to corrosion. The wheels on these trucks are made with an aluminum alloy, but the valve stems attached to them are made with a steel alloy. This could potentially cause the wheel to become corroded at the point of contact, which has already happened to Collins’s truck.
Why is this so dangerous?
While the corrosion is more of a cosmetic issue, low tire pressure poses some very real dangers to drivers. It would be a hassle to take your truck out for a long trip or a big towing job when you would constantly have to refill the tires or change flats.
In the worst-case scenario, your tire could potentially blow out when you’re driving, endangering yourself and other drivers in the vicinity.
Any cargo you happened to be towing at the time would also become a safety hazard to other drivers or become damaged. Driving on tires with low air pressure also makes handling more difficult and causes the tire to wear down faster. It also worsens the car’s fuel economy rating.
What has Ford done about it?
So far, Ford has not responded to the lawsuit or issued any recalls over the issue. When Collins took his truck to a Ford dealership, he was informed that the problem was not covered by the truck’s warranty. Newman was also told that he wouldn’t be compensated for his repairs.
Both of the affected trucks were previously recalled due to a corrosion risk with the splice cable in the engine. If its block heater cable was plugged in, there was a chance of a resistive short which could have caused a fire. The 2018 model was also recalled for a backup camera malfunction.
The extent of the damages so far
Collins reported that he has had to pay for multiple replacements out of pocket, including new valve stems, new wheels, and new tire pressure monitoring sensors.
These repairs were made at both Ford and third-party dealerships. The wheels only remained consistently inflated after a mechanic replaced the regular valve stems with rubber ones. However, both plaintiffs insist that it would be impossible for most consumers to have this issue repaired because Ford won’t provide a permanent fix.