— Ford F-150 brake failures might be caused by brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder into the brake booster, at least that is what safety regulators think might be happening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened the preliminary investigation after receiving at least 33 complaints about brake failures in 2013-2014 Ford F-150 trucks.
The investigation involves F-150 trucks equipped with 3.5-liter engines, which includes about 420,000 trucks in the U.S.
A typical complaint talks about the brake pedal falling to the floor with a corresponding loss of braking ability. Owners report brake lights illuminating and finding an empty master cylinder reservoir, but no apparent brake fluid leaks.
The no-leak symptom is what makes NHTSA believe the fluid is moving from the master cylinder to the brake booster. In addition to that, some owners told NHTSA that Ford dealers have said the same thing.
Owners of the 2013-2014 Ford F-150 with 3.5L engines say the master cylinder problem is not only extremely dangerous, but extremely expensive.
"2013 F150 with just over 36,000 miles (out of warranty), brake pedal goes right to the floor. Checked for leaks.. there were none. Brake fluid reservoir was empty. Towed to Ford dealership, they said the brake booster and master cylinder were bad. $800 fix! Oh, and the parts were on a Nationwide backorder. It would be 5 weeks before the parts come in. Are you kidding me!" - 2013 Ford F-150 owner / Hemet, USA
"I purchased a 2013 Ford F150 May 1, 2014, brand new. I only have 9000 on the vehicle. On Sunday August 9, 2015 I went to leave my house and discovered I had no brakes coming up to a major intersection. If a car had been coming it would have hit me or could have killed me." - 2013 Ford F-150 owner / LaGrange, Georgia
The government says four complaints allege the brake failures caused collisions. The problem got the attention of NHTSA because 31 of the complaints have been received in the last 12 months, with 20 of those complaints arriving in the past seven months.
The investigation will determine if 420,000 model year 2013-2014 Ford F-150 trucks should be recalled.