Ford's Reoccurring Door Latch Problem Results in Massive F-Series Recall

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. recalled 1.3 million F-150 and Super Duty pickups to fix faulty side door latches. In the affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent actuation cable could result in a door that neither opens or closes — nullifying the only thing it’s responsible for.

However, the real risk comes from faulty doors that appear to be functional but latch improperly when shut. Points of entry that may appear to have shut as intended could still have latches that don’t engage with the striker effectively, allowing for a seemingly closed door to swing open suddenly while a vehicle is in motion.

Ford has made plans to install water shields on affected models. Dealers will also inspect the vehicles to ensure the condition of door mechanisms and replace parts if applicable. The recall involves approximately 1,344,605 vehicles in North America, including 1,101,107 in the United States, 222,408 in Canada, and another 21,090 in Mexico. Affected models include F-150s from the 2015 through 2017 model years and Super Duties from 2017.

Door latches appear to be a bit of a sore spot for Ford right now. Earlier this year, the company had to recall 211,000 late model Ford Fusions, Fiestas, and Lincoln MKZs. That issue was an expansion of another door-related recall from 2016 and affected both North America and Europe. All in, Ford’s door problem has garnered multiple investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and resulted in millions of recalled units over the last four years.

Through the first quarter of 2017, the reoccurring latch problem has cost the automaker nearly $300 million in recalls. A recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the automaker expects to lose another $267 million resulting from this most recent issue.

Our advice is to take your F-Series into your dealership as directed and always wear a seatbelt. Ford claims it is unaware of any injuries or accidents associated with the problem.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Svede Svede on Dec 18, 2018

    It's not because the body is aluminum. The issue is ice forming in the latch mechanism. Mine is currently in for the forth time. The first time was pre-recall and the dealership knew nothing about it. Once it got taken into the service bay and sat a few minutes it worked perfectly. The next two were for two different recalls. This latest one after both recalls is because the shielding didn't work on the last one. It's on day three at the dealership with Ford Customer "Care" saying they have additional steps and to have the dealer call them for instructions. Problem with that is I think it's just a dance. They've had it since 7 AM Monday. It's now Tuesday evening and Ford hasn't gotten back to the dealership with what to do. I called "Care" again and they said it could take 24-48 hours for them to respond. WTF? In the meantime there sits my $45,000 truck at the dealership I can't drive in the winter. I hope the class action lawsuit going through the courts results in a decent settlement not for the money but to kick Ford in the gonads.

  • Schurkey Schurkey on Jun 11, 2020

    When I was a Tech in the 1980s, Ford couldn't engineer a decent oil-pan drain plug. By the 1990s, Ford lost the ability to engineer a spark plug. You really think they're capable of engineering something complex? Ford sells a lot of vehicles because consumers graduate (or not) from public schools. (i.e., no experience with the real world, overly-sheltered, never had to research anything important that wasn't spoon-fed to them via "The Internet", incapable of performing due diligence.) GM has problems. They're mostly fixable by firing the top few layers of dead-weight management; and setting appropriate goals for the engineering staff. Ideally, we'd end CAFE, and roll-back emissions standards so that ten speed automatics and cylinder deactivation weren't needed; and we'd end the diversion of resources from those (and other) politically-motivated wastes of time, money, effort, and enthusiasm. Ford needs to build a car-crusher as the final process at the end of each of their assembly lines. No comment on Mopar; once the French get control over them, it'll be a moot point.

  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!
  • 3-On-The-Tree I only buy Toyota cars. But if the Chinese cars are cheap people will buy them. They don’t care about the above issues that were stated in this forum.
  • Tassos Ford models are like dumb Hollywood movies. The original is far better than their god damned sequels. This was true of the Mustang vs the II, AND the Capri vs its second gen, and their BEV PORKER atrocities many decades later
  • Jeff I would not buy a Chinese car with the current global situation with Taiwan and Ukraine but I believe eventually China will become the number 1 producer of vehicles globally. Lou brought up a valid point that much of the content of new vehicles has components made in China. Even many of the tires that are sold are made in China. Try buying a small appliance or electronics that are not made in China. Many of the electric motors that go in power reclining furniture are made in China. Many auto parts especially replacement parts are made in China.