Preliminary Determination – Ford F-150 Brake Vacuum Assist Failures

Notice

The Minister of Transport has made a preliminary determination that it is in the interest of safety to order Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited (Ford) to issue a notice of safety defect to the Minister of Transport and to notify owners of certain 2011-2012 Ford F-150 trucks that their vehicle contains a defect in the brake vacuum assist system which may result in an unexpected extended stopping distance.

This notice explains events leading to today’s action and Transport Canada’s authority to make this order.

Background

Ford has identified a problem with the electric vacuum pump (EVP) which provides assist to the power brake system on some trucks. Specifically, Ford identified a design issue which can lead to a buildup of moisture which may cause internal corrosion and result in a failure of the pump. Although Ford released a Customer Satisfaction Program in February 2016 to provide customers with an extended warranty on the electric vacuum pump, Ford will replace the part only after it fails. This problem affects all 2011-2012 Ford F-150 trucks equipped with a 3.5L EcoBoost engine, a population of approximately 53,986 trucks sold in Canada.

Transport Canada has received and documented over 100 complaints involving electric vacuum pump failures on the vehicles described above. Within these complaints, we have become aware of 66 reports involving a sudden unexpected increase in stopping distance. Although we are not aware of any serious injuries or deaths which have occurred as a result of this problem, we have received seven complaints which allege a minor collision and many reports of ‘near miss’ events.

Transport Canada has concluded that this problem is a safety defect that can cause a temporary reduction of power assist to the brake system. Our testing and analysis has demonstrated that, while the problem does not result in a complete brake failure, the brake pedal effort required to stop the vehicle increases. If a driver does not quickly detect the problem and react to it by pushing harder on the brake pedal, an extended stopping distance may occur.

Ford’s current Customer Satisfaction Program does not provide for proactive replacement of the electric vacuum pump and more importantly does not warn owners of the potential for an increased stopping distance.

Subsection 10 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) requires that a company shall, as provided for in the regulations, give notice of any defect in the design, manufacture or functioning of the vehicle or equipment that affects or is likely to affect the safety of any person.

The authority to order a company to issue a notice of safety defect, where the Minister considers it to be in the interest of safety, is provided in subsection 10(4) of the MVSA. Pursuant to this order power, the Minister may, in the interest of safety, order Ford to issue a notice of safety defect, and may specify the manner in which the notice is to be given.

Why this is important

Transport Canada has determined that an unexpected extended stopping distance may result in a hazardous situation, with the potential of a crash causing injury and/or damage to property.

Transport Canada and other motor vehicle manufacturers have regularly arrived at the determination that a problem which causes a loss of power assist to the braking system that may result in an unexpected extended stopping distance constitutes a safety defect. An analysis of complaint data reviewed has confirmed that this failure, while temporary, has resulted in multiple occurrences of an unexpected extended stopping distance.

The Minister of Transport has made a preliminary determination that:

  • The electric vacuum pump (EVP) failures on the vehicles described pose a risk to the safety of a person; and
  • It is in the interest of safety for Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited to notify owners of certain 2011-2012 Ford F-150 trucks that the failure of the electric vacuum pump is a safety defect and may cause an unexpected extended stopping distance.

Next steps

We invite public comments or additional information the Minister should take into account in making a final decision.

Based on all of the information the Minister has, including public comments, the Minister may decide that it is in the interest of safety to issue an order under subsection 10 (4) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Dates

Please submit your comments by November 18, 2016.

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