The defect has been traced to an output speed sensor on the vehicle's transmission lead frame.
"Under certain conditions, the transmission controls could force a temporary downshift into first gear," Ford said in a statement. "Depending on the speed of the vehicle at the time of the downshift, the driver could experience an abrupt speed reduction that could cause the rear tires to slide or lock up.
"This condition could result in loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash."
Ford said it is aware of three accidents, but no reports of injuries, linked to the recall.
Affected vehicles are equipped with a 6R80 transmission.
Ford dealers and Lincoln dealers will inspect the powertrain control module for diagnostic trouble codes tied to the problem. If no related diagnostic trouble codes are present, dealers will update the powertrain control module software.
As part of a customer satisfaction program, Ford will provide a one-time replacement of the lead frame at no charge within 10 years or 150,000 miles from the warranty start date.
"If related diagnostic trouble codes are present, dealers will update the powertrain control module software and replace the lead frame at no cost to the customer," Ford said.
No information about the recall has been posted on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees vehicle safety in the U.S.
Edmunds says: Owners of these vehicles should be prepared to make a service appointment in late May with their dealers. If you have an immediate concern, it's best to contact your dealer now.