WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into an estimated 420,000 2013-'14 Ford F-150 pickup trucks equipped with the 3.5-liter V6 engine after consumer complaints about loss of brake effectiveness.
"Consumers report incidents of brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder into the brake booster, resulting in loss of brake effectiveness," NHTSA said in its problem description.
Federal safety regulators have received 33 reports alleging master-cylinder failures in the trucks, with four reports of collisions.
"The complaints allege symptoms of the brake pedal going to the floor with complete loss of brake effectiveness, brake warning-lamp illumination, and/or low or empty master cylinder reservoir fluid level with no visible leakage," NHTSA said. "Several complaints allege repair facilities diagnosed the problem as brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder to the brake booster."
Thirty-one of the reports were received in the last 12 months, including 20 in the last seven months.
"We take the safety of our customers very seriously and we are cooperating with the agency on the issue," wrote Ford spokesman John Cangany in response to a query from Edmunds on Friday.
NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation into the 2013-'14 F-150 with the 3.5-liter engine. Such an action sometimes precedes a vehicle recall. The trucks have not been recalled at this point.
Edmunds says: Owners of these vehicles will have to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their work before taking any action. Those with an immediate concern should contact their Ford dealer.