Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA
In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive technology, manufacturers constantly strive to enhance the driving experience and improve vehicle safety. One such innovation is the Ford Trailer Hitch Assist system, a feature designed to make trailer hitching and backing up more accessible and safer for Ford consumers.
However, like any technological advancement, it can face challenges and recalls. Ford recently issued a recall affecting approximately 18,500 Ford trucks including the 2023 Ford F-250, Ford F-350 and Ford F-450.
The Evolution of Ford Trailer Hitch Assist
Ford has a long history of pioneering automotive technologies, and the Trailer Hitch Assist system is no exception. The system was introduced to simplify the daunting task of hitching a trailer to a Ford vehicle. It uses a combination of cameras and sensors to provide drivers with a clear view of the hitch and the trailer, making it easier to align the trailer coupler with the hitch receiver.
Ford’s Trailer Backup Assist, also known as Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, quickly gained popularity among truck and SUV owners. The system allows drivers to control the direction of the trailer using a knob on the dashboard. By simply turning the knob in the desired direction, the trailer responds accordingly, simplifying what was once a challenging task, even for experienced drivers.
What Causes the Trailer Hitch Assist System Defect?
As with any technology, there can be unforeseen issues that require attention. In the case of Ford’s Trailer Hitch Assist system, a recall was initiated due to safety concerns.
This recall affects various Ford models. If an affected truck is equipped with the Pro Trailer Hitch Assist feature, the backup camera image may not be displayed when using the feature. Instead, the hitch or trailer view may be displayed. The problem lies within a software coding error in the feature.
Understanding the Recall
The Ford Trailer Hitch Assist Recall was prompted by reports of intermittent malfunctions in the system. Users reported instances where the backup camera would freeze, provide distorted images, or fail to activate altogether. In some cases, these malfunctions occurred at critical moments, such as when attempting to reverse a trailer into a tight spot or align it with the hitch.
The safety implications of these malfunctions were evident, as they could potentially lead to accidents, collisions, or damage to property. Ford took these reports seriously and initiated a recall to address the issues and ensure the safety of its customers.
Recall letters were mailed to Ford owners in the middle of September 2023. Affected vehicles need to get the recall repair which consists of an update to the drive assistance module software. Ford says they are also looking into an option to update the software through a Ford Power-Up (over-the-air) update.
The Importance of Addressing Safety Concerns – The Recall Process
Safety should be paramount in the automotive industry, and automakers like Ford are expected to provide reliable and secure vehicles to their customers. When safety concerns arise, recalls are a necessary step to rectify issues promptly.
- Identifying the Problem
The first step in any recall process is identifying the problem. In this case, Ford received reports of malfunctioning Trailer Hitch Assist systems and conducted extensive testing to determine the root causes.
- Issuing a Recall Notice
Once the issues were identified, Ford issued a recall notice to its customers. The notice informed affected vehicle owners about the recall, described the problem, and provided instructions on how to rectify it.
- Repairing or Replacing the System
Ford authorized dealerships and service centers were equipped to repair or replace the faulty Trailer Hitch Assist systems. This process is typically done at no cost to the vehicle owner, as recalls are considered a manufacturer’s responsibility.
What to Do if You Experience Issues with your Ford Trailer Hitch Assist System
Vehicle owners are encouraged to schedule a recall appointment. While innovative features like Trailer Backup Assist can greatly enhance the driving experience, it’s essential to address any safety concerns promptly.
Innovation in the automotive industry will always come with challenges. Recalls like this one reminds us that safety is paramount.
If you own or lease a Ford Super Duty truck that is affected by the recall, you should inquire with your local authorized Ford dealership about getting the necessary recall repair work completed.
In the event you experience repeat issues with the Ford Trailer Hitch Assist feature, or you experience any other repeat issues or repairs with your Ford truck, you should look into your available rights and remedies under the California Lemon Law.
The California Lemon Law requires the auto manufacturer to promptly repurchase a vehicle if it is deemed a lemon. If you suspect your Ford Super Duty is a lemon, call the Lemon Law Experts today for a free case evaluation. We have been successfully helping consumers with lemon law claims against auto manufacturers like Ford since 2009.