Ford F-150 Brake Failure Incident Serves as Important Reminder

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2016 Ford F-150

Routinely checking things like fluids and tires on your F-150 can go a long way in preventing disasters from happening.

Modern vehicles like the Ford F-150 have largely spoiled us. In the old days, we had to keep a constant eye on things like oil and fluid levels, tire pressures, and the like. But today, computers monitor much of that for us. Trucks go tens (and even hundreds) of thousands of miles between maintenance intervals. But that certainly doesn’t mean we should fall into a state of complacency, as a recent incident in Knoxville, Tennessee reminds us.

According to WVLT News, Brian Wallace was driving his 2016 Ford F-150 on Interstate 40 in Knoxville when his brakes gave out. “I tried to press the brake and it went to the floor. I’m lucky I knew what to do, because a lot can happen at 70 miles per hour,” Wallace said. “I grabbed the emergency brake, got us slowed down and pulled over to the side of the interstate.”

2016 Ford F-150

Funny thing is, Wallace noticed a problem before he even got on the highway. “We drove down the road, and I noticed the brakes giving a little bit. When we were leaving the parking lot, I noticed the brakes were a little looser.”

For many of us, that would have been enough to make us pull over and take a closer look. After all, it’s better to take a minute and check your truck than to take a potentially catastrophic risk. Especially when, as it turns out, other owners of the same pickups are having similar issues.

2016 Ford F-150

Wallace’s truck doesn’t fall under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall surrounding master cylinder failures on 2013-2014 Ford F-150 models. But the NHTSA is currently investigating a similar issue with the 2015-2016 model year F-150. According to Ford, the problem is caused by the loss of brake fluid from the brake master cylinder reservoir into the brake booster. Eventually, fluid levels get too low and brake failure can occur.

So far, the NHTSA has only received 10 reports of this happening on 2015 F-150 models and 15 reports on 2016 models. But as this news story reminds us, we can’t take these kinds of things for granted. Owners of any vehicle, no matter the make or model, should stay alert to TSBs, recalls, and complaints. Which is pretty easy to do by either following this page or routinely checking the NHTSA site. And above all, we should all check our fluids, tire pressures, and tire wear once a week. At the very least!

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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