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It doesn’t exactly come as a surprise when the Ford F-150 faces trouble. Like other trucks, the F-150 has its fair share of defects and recalls that sometimes go to court. This time, the Ford F-150 is facing a lawsuit for defective brakes, but the plaintiffs are starting to struggle. 

Ford F-150 defective brake lawsuit update 

The 2019 For dF-150 Raptor off-roading in sand
2019 Ford F-150 Raptor | Ford

In April 2023, a lawsuit known as Terry Klepac v. Ford Motor Company was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. You could say it hit close to home, as a majority of F-150s are assembled in Detroit. 

The F-150 lawsuit alleges that 2015 – 2019 Ford F-150 models were equipped with a defective brake master cylinder that impairs the vehicle’s ability to stop, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. 

Ford is adamant that it has no wrongdoing or liability for the allegations and denies that any class vehicle is defective. 

After making its case, Ford got a sigh of relief as the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals decided to undo the certification of five statewide classes of Ford Pickup truck owners who claimed their truck’s braking systems had a defective design. 

With a class action ligation, each question is closely examined as it may relate to thousands of people instead of only one plaintiff. 

This ruling came after Judge Drain certified five statewide classes in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas to determine if the cylinder was defective. But sufficient evidence wasn’t provided. 

What is the potential F-150 brake problem? 

The case is related to the Hitachi step-bore master cylinders used in Ford F-150, Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator models are defective due to the rear seal failing prematurely. 

As a result, brake fluid may leak into the brake booster. Also a middle seal could also fail, causing fluid leak internally. Both issues lead to a loss of braking power and may increase the risk of accidents. 

Allegedly, Ford knew about this defect and continued to sell vehicles without sharing this information with buyers. 

Ford argues against this case and claims that the Hitcahi mater cylinder in question received multiple design revisions during the years involved in the lawsuit. 

Plus, in 2020, Ford issued a recall for 2014 – 2017 F-150 models equipped with 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines because the master brake cylinder could leak. Owners of the affected trucks had their brake cylinders evaluated and replaced as necessary. 

The lawsuit doesn’t include Ford F-150 models equipped with the 3.5-liter engine if they weigh below 6,600 lbs. Would the weight of a truck and different engines impact the master cylinder to such a varying degree?

Is Ford in trouble? 

The 2018 Ford F-150 parked at dusk
2018 Ford F-150 | Ford

Currently, Ford is still battling this case. The Ford F-150 and other vehicles involved aren’t out of the woods yet. The plaintiff’s lawyers are confident that the class action lawsuit will be recertified. 

The previous statewide classes are all related to the same alleged defect, and a jury could determine that the defect is related to the Hitachi master cylinder. 

Even if Ford made changes to the brakes and updated the manufacturing process, the adjustments to the part in question could have been too minor to make a difference. 

We will keep tracking this case for updates. Ford may have to end up compensating the plaintiffs but might be able to sue each class member individually. 

The amount of brake-related complaints has rapidly declined since 2015, indicating that the issue may have been solved. But on the other hand, the Ford F-150’s reliability rating has been tanking. Do you think Ford is in trouble?