WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into Ford's handling of a recall of an estimated 200,000 2011'-12 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks linked to a faulty exhaust gas temperature sensor.
The "recall query" covers the 2011-'12 Ford F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel engine. The trucks were recalled in October 2013. NHTSA announced the new action on Saturday.
A recall query evaluates the scope and adequacy of a vehicle safety recall.
An exhaust-gas sensor located behind the diesel particulate filter in the truck's exhaust system may malfunction.
This results in "power reduction (limp) model and a vehicle-commanded engine shutdown (engine stall) with no immediate restart capability," NHTSA said in its problem description.
NHTSA said it is aware of 30 consumer complaints linked to the problem.
"These complaints cover vehicles both outside and within the scope of the subject recall," NHTSA said. "Some complaints allege multiple (exhaust gas temperature) sensor malfunctions, with some sensors having been replaced more than once. Some complaints allege the recall remedy is not long lasting or that other sensor locations subsequently malfunctioned, resulting in the shutdown condition.
"Multiple complainants report their vehicle becoming disabled in the roadway as a result of the subject condition."
One owner of a 2011 Ford F-250 told federal safety regulators that a warning light indicating "Stop Safely Now" appeared while the truck was being driven. After turning off the truck, it would not start and had to be towed to a dealership.
"The dealership said it was a faulty sensor," the unnamed consumer wrote. "I have spent more than $300 fixing sensors that should not fail."
Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker told Edmunds that the company will cooperate with NHTSA on the investigation.
Edmunds says: Owners of these trucks will have to wait until federal safety regulators finish their investigation before taking action. But if you are experiencing a problem in the meantime, it's best to contact your Ford dealer now.