Ford Auto Safety Recall Investigation: Power Loss Reports Spark NHTSA Probe

Investigation Launched into Ford Focus Recall for Power Loss Issues

The U.S. auto safety regulators are currently investigating the previously-recalled almost 1.3 million Ford Focus sedans due to new reports of power loss. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation has received 98 consumer complaints, claiming failure of the canister purge valve in 2012-2018 Focus cars that have either been previously recalled and repaired or were not recalled but experienced the same issue.

The Original Recall

In October 2018, Ford recalled more than 1.2 million 2012-2018 Focus vehicles equipped with either 2.0-liter gasoline direct injection engines built before April 13, 2017, or with 2.0-liter gasoline turbocharged direct injection engines built before February 2, 2018. This recall aimed to address a malfunctioning canister purge valve and powertrain control module software, which were not adequately detecting the problem.

Signs of the Issue

A faulty canister purge valve can disrupt the engine’s fuel-to-air ratio, resulting in a loss of motive power. Additionally, it can cause a malfunction indicator light (MIL), erratic fuel gauge readings, and excessive vacuum in the fuel vapor management system, potentially deforming the fuel tank. A NHTSA document providing details of the investigation highlighted these symptoms.

Fixing the Problem

To resolve the issue, dealers reprogrammed the powertrain control module and replaced the canister purge valve as required. However, Ford later issued another recall in July 2019, covering approximately 57,000 2012-2014 and 2017 Focus sedans that were included in the 2018 recall but did not receive the intended powertrain control module update.

The Investigation

The NHTSA has launched an investigation, referred to as a “recall query,” to evaluate the extent of Ford’s 2018 recall and its corrective actions. Ford spokesperson Maria Buczkowski stated that the company is cooperating with the NHTSA to support their investigation, as reported by Automotive News.

Previous Ford Probes

This recent investigation follows NHTSA’s scrutiny of Ford’s handling of a June 2022 recall of nearly 50,000 Ford Mustang Mach-Es due to power loss reports. According to NHTSA data, Ford has issued the highest number of recalls among all automakers this year, with 44 recalls affecting over 4.6 million vehicles.

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