Trucks & SUVs

Recall Headache: Ford F-Series Power Tailgates Are Still a Super Pain

The Ford F-Series offers the top-selling trucks. Even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its severe impact on the national economy, the F-Series, including the Super Duty models, remained the best-selling vehicle line of 2020. 

But even the most popular truck series has hiccups. Case in point: There’s a problem with the power tailgates on some Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 models that a 2019 recall might’ve failed to fix. So, what’s the status of this ongoing headache?

Ford F-Series trucks’ faulty power tailgates

According to consumer site CarComplaints.com, the power tailgates on some Ford Super Duty F-250, F-350, and F-450 models sporadically fall open even though they were supposed to have been repaired in an earlier recall. 

Around 300,000 affected trucks from model years 2017 to 2020 are now included in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation, CarComplaints.com reports. The government agency is conducting a probe into the recall issue after receiving numerous complaints from truck owners about tailgates falling open when their trucks were in motion.

The NHTSA received one comment from a truck owner who maintained they were driving at 45 mph when the tailgate unexpectedly opened, damaging the taillights, CarComplaints.com reported. Another owner explained the tailgated opened on its own. The same owner took the truck in for the recall, but the behavior persisted.

According to the December 2019 recall, the electric tailgate latch-release switches inside the power tailgates’ handles on the affected trucks could get wet and subsequently short-circuit. The switches could then activate, and the tailgate latches would release when the driver wasn’t ready or even aware. 

Key fobs can open the electronic tailgates in question. The recall included 2017 to 2019 Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 Super Duty trucks.

The Ford F-Series tailgate recall

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The NHTSA opened the original investigation into the issue in October 2018. That probe centered on malfunctioning power tailgates on 2017 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks.

For instance, one truck owner reported his F-Series truck’s tailgate spontaneously opened on 17 occasions, damaging the vehicle. Tailgate malfunctions could also allow cargo to fly from the truck and potentially damage other vehicles and harm their occupants.

As a response, Ford issued a recall for the Super Duty power tailgates for the reported model years. To fix the problem, dealerships added jumper pigtails to isolate the tailgate release control circuits. They also replaced the handle release switches. The recall included over 232,000 trucks in the United States and 30,000 in Canada.

After Ford announced the recall, the NHTSA canceled its investigation because it appeared the automaker would resolve the issue.

An ongoing problem

Given the evidence that the issue continues, safety regulators are now questioning if the recall action was the correct one, CarComplaints.com reports. The NHTSA has reported receiving an unspecified number of complaints about the tailgate issue persisting despite receiving the repair prescribed by the 2019 Ford recall.

The NHTSA has begun a “recall query” to determine why the power tailgates on the specified Ford F-Series models are still experiencing the problem when the recall should’ve addressed it. 

According to ABC News, the NHTSA has received 11 complaints about persisting issues after recall repairs. The agency also says Ford has sent it many reports regarding the same problem. 

Therefore, the NHTSA plans to look at the tailgate malfunction frequency and subsequent safety hazards, ABC News reports. The new investigation’s results could prompt an additional recall.