Ford is issuing a recall for several thousand Ford F-150 Lightning models produced during the 2022 and 2023 model years in the United States. The recall is prompted by a software glitch that could potentially cause the vehicle to become stuck in Off-Road Mode, leading to limitations in the effectiveness of the electronic stability control (ESC).
As one of the pioneering electric pickup trucks in the market, the F-150 Lightning has faced scrutiny since its launch. Previous recalls include issues such as a rear lightbar malfunction, problems with the cabin coolant heater system, fire risks, and complications with the tire pressure monitoring system. The current recall affects a total of 5,118 units manufactured between October 14, 2021, and April 18, 2023.
According to Ford's recall notice, the software issue may arise following an over-the-air software update to version 6.3.0. This update can potentially cause the vehicle to persist in Off-Road Mode with reduced ESC, even after restarting the ignition. While the instrument cluster will display a warning light indicating that the ESC is off, there is concern that some drivers may overlook this, unknowingly increasing the risk of a crash due to the relaxed ESC system.
The discovery of the issue was made by Ford's Critical Concern Review Group on November 9, noting that the last selected drive mode carried over between ignition cycles. Despite the convenience of limited ESC in Off-Road mode, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards mandate that a vehicle's ESC system returns to the default mode with each ignition cycle.
Owners will be notified of the recall between December 18 and December 22, 2023. Ford plans to address the issue through an over-the-air software update, allowing owners to install it at home. Alternatively, owners have the option to visit a Ford or Lincoln dealership for the update installation. The neutral tone of the announcement reflects the standard procedure in addressing technical concerns to ensure vehicle safety and compliance with regulatory standards.