Transport Canada is looking into a technical problem with the braking system on certain Ford F-150 pickup trucks built between 2011 and 2012, and is asking the public to contact the agency if any defect is detected.
In a news release issued November 4, Transport Canada said it’d identified an issue with the brake vacuum assist system in the affected models wherein a failed electric vacuum pump could result in “an unexpected, longer stopping distance.” The agency says it has received more than 100 consumer complaints related to the issue.
The brake issue is said to affect 3.5-litre EcoBoost-powered F-150s only; 3.7-litre V6- and V8-powered F-150s have not had any reported brake system problems and are not included in the government investigation.
“Having reviewed the evidence, I’ve made a preliminary determination that there is a safety defect with the brake vacuum assist system on certain F-150 trucks,” said Marc Garneau, Canadian Minister of Transport.
Ford spokesperson Michelle Lee-Gracey responded to Transport Canada’s probe November 10, saying the company is “co-operating with Transport Canada, as we always do.”
Lee-Gracy added the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “investigated reports in the U.S. associated with this condition and after thorough analysis, including purchasing and testing a vehicle, concluded that the vehicle remained controllable.”
When it comes to stopping distances, there is a distinction between “remaining controllable” and achieving optimal stopping distances, and Transport Canada is not satisfied with Ford Canada’s response thus far.
“I am disappointed that Ford disagrees with our assessment, and that is why I’m inviting Canadians who have experienced these issues to provide feedback that will help me make my final decision on ordering a notice of safety defect,” said Garneau.
“I expect all manufacturers to live up to the high standards we have set for Canadian vehicles in order to make our roads the safest in the world.”
A notice of defect is the strongest measure Transport Canada can take related to vehicle safety defects and it requires an automaker to send letters to all affected owners stating their vehicle could be dangerous, having the potential to cause injury or death. Current legislation does not grant the agency powers to force a recall, however.
In an effort to increase its powers, Transport Canada introduced such legislation in the Senate in May of this year.
According to Transport Canada spokesperson Daniel Savoie, the new legislation would give the agency the authority to order an automaker to issue a recall and make repairs at no cost to the consumer, while blockading defective new vehicles from being sold in Canada until they are repaired.
Ford has provided an extended warranty program that covers the electric vacuum pump in all affected F-150s sold in the U.S. and Canada for 10 years or 240,000 kilometres.
Transport Canada invites Canadians to submit their feedback to the agency by November 18, 2016 via firstname.lastname@example.org.