Ford Motor Company is recalling more than 2.9 million 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2021 Transit Connect, and 2015-2018 Edge vehicles. The Hilex-supplied bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission may degrade or detach causing unexpected rollaways. This is an expansion of previous recalls that were based on customer complaints – VOQs – to NHTSA.* (AutoInformed: Ford Recalls 2013-21 Transit Connect Vans for Rollaways)
In the required new NHTSA filing Ford said “the root cause is unknown. Based on Ford’s root cause investigation, heat and humidity have the potential to contribute to the hydrological breakdown of the bushing material.” Ford said there are 6 reports alleging property damage and 4 reports alleging an injury potentially related to this safety recall from the population of vehicles included.
“A damaged or missing bushing could prevent the shifter from moving the transmission to the intended gear position. The transmission may not be in the park position, even though the shifter position indicates that the vehicle was shifted to park. The driver does not receive a warning message or audible chime. Exiting a vehicle without the transmission in the park position and without application of the parking brake may allow the vehicle to roll, increasing the risk of injury or crash,” Ford said.
If the vehicle ignition is on, the instrument panel display position on the cluster will show the correct transmission gear state. However this could be a false indication, which may not match the gear shift lever position. “The driver may also notice the defect if they attempt to shift to an intended gear and the vehicle responds differently than intended based on the transmission gear state. Additionally, if a vehicle is turned off in a transmission gear state other than Park, regardless of the gear shift lever position, the engine will not restart,” Ford said.
Dealers will replace the under-hood shift bushing and add a protective cap over the shift cable bushing, free of charge as required by law. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 27, 2022. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 22S43. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov.
*Chronology: Previous Actions on Hilex (Hytrel 4556) Shift Bushings
- Working with NHTSA to investigate and understand shift bushing field performance, Ford has previously recalled the Hilex (Hytrel 4556) shift bushing component in targeted vehicle populations due to elevated failure rates. These actions include recalls: 18S20, 19S16, 21S24, and 22S25.
- After 22S25 was approved by Ford’s Field Review Committee on April 7, 2022, Ford continued to review field reports with NHTSA over the course of several discussions (April 18, 2022 – May 20, 2022). These discussions focused on vehicles equipped with the Hilex, Hytrel 4556 shift bushing that were not included in previous recalls.
- On April 28, 2022, Ford received updated VOQs associated with this condition from NHTSA including VOQs that Ford was not previously aware of. Ford reviewed and analyzed the new VOQs by powerpack and model year.
- Ford met with NHTSA on May 12, 2022, to review the new VOQs, and continued their analysis after the May 12 meeting. Based on the updated VOQs and subsequent analysis, Ford identified a change in the customer complaint data filed with NHTSA.
- Although claim rates and projected failures remained low, Ford recommended a safety recall for the remaining vehicles in North America with a Hilex, Hytrel 4556 shift bushing. This recommendation was reviewed with NHTSA on May 20, 2022.
- On June 3, 2022, Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved a field action.
From April 29, 2015, through March 31, 2022, Ford has identified 1,630 warranty reports and 233 VOQs attributed to this safety defect.