2021 Ford Expedition Transmission Problems

Class Action Investigation

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Lemberg Law is investigating multiple consumer reports of major transmission issues in the 2021 Ford Expedition. Owners are complaining to the NHTSA about rough shifting that causes vehicles to lurch, transmission constantly going out of gear, loud, grinding noises from the transmission, deceleration, and a loss of power. There are also allegations that Ford is aware of these problems but refuses to address them.     

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Transmission Issue Explained

There are major, widespread problems with 2021 Ford Expedition malfunctions. Owners have been lodging complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since August 2021. And by late 2023, complaints were still being filed.

Typical complaints state that the SUV makes loud noises when downshifting and fails to accelerate. Some owners say that the powertrain sometimes disengages and the Expedition loses power completely. Even when owners have had the transmission replaced or “rebuilt” this doesn’t necessarily resolve the problem.

Many consumers state that this is “a dangerous condition that Ford needs to remedy.”

Here are a few samples of NHTSA complaints that describe transmission issues in more detail.

What are Owners Experiencing?

A typical complaint states that the transmission is a major issue that Ford refuses to address. “I have had it in the shop 3 or 4 times now and (am) still experiencing issues. The vehicle goes in and out of gear, doesn’t always accelerate when giving it gas, jerks when slowing down/downshifting. Makes a loud noise during downshifting at times, and the list goes on. Ford knows there are problems and refuses to address the issue, applies a computer update to band-aid the issue, and sends customers on their way only to be faced with the issue a short time later.”

An owner from Texas reports having issues from day one with shifting gears. “The vehicle makes a loud ‘thunking’ noise and practically stops in the middle of the road.”

Another Texas owner states, “Transmission is slipping and hard shifting or fails to shift. I noticed it at hot temperatures, but (it) does it now constantly.”

An owner whose 2021 Expedition was awaiting diagnosis and repair when he filed the complaint, states that the 10-Speed transmission often shifts hard. Sometimes it “misses a shift entirely, resulting in no power for a few seconds while the transmission tries to ‘find’ the right gear. This has occurred in busy intersections, which obviously presents a major safety risk. Awkward shifting started about 2 months ago. Complete loss of power has occurred 3 times in that time period.”

An owner from California states, “Severe transmission slippage/failure at all speeds.” The gear disengages randomly during acceleration, but Ford dealers don’t want to “take the responsibility to repair or fix it.” This owner was told that “the computer doesn’t log the occurrences. Hard to believe that, and hard to believe there is a major class action lawsuit in CA regarding this.”

Sample Dealership Responses

An owner who reports that the automatic transmission erratically and forcefully downshifts at highway speed every day, was told he didn’t “understand how a 10-speed transmission works.” His complaint states that the “transmission downshifts with such great force” that it led to two injuries. “After sitting for more than a few hours, the transmission will not go into reverse at first, but will then violently shift into reverse after several minutes.”

Another dealership reportedly maintained they could do nothing to help because “they did not believe the issue was replicable.” The owner reports that while accelerating on a busy tollway, the car started slowing down “and the gear display went blank. This put my safety and the safety of others at risk.” It happened again on a lower-speed roadway. The “transmission became stuck in one gear, the gear display on the dashboard went blank, and the car began to decelerate.”

An owner from Alabama experiences “a weird grinding sound” when the transmission “routinely” goes out of gear, loses power, and decelerates. Stating that this is a “very dangerous situation,” the owner approached the dealer after it had happened five times. The dealer’s response was that “the vehicle computer time stamped the issue, but they could determine the issues.”

Another owner was told that the problem “has been documented on recent earlier models of the car but not in my newer 2021 year.” Yet, the problem he reports is the same as many others. “The car sort of stalls and a loss of control happens where everything feels locked up for a few seconds and a big thump is heard. It feels like the transmission has completely dropped out or that I have been hit, but I have not been hit, it’s just the jerking motion I was feeling.”

Are Faulty Expedition Transmission Unfixable?

This is the question some unfortunate owners are asking.

An owner from California had the transmission replaced after experiencing “rough shifting” and “violent lurching” when shifting the gears. This was after the dealership had reset the adaptive learning component for the transmission — which didn’t help. In fact, the complaint states that the problem got worse with the SUV now losing acceleration on the freeway. It would also lose the 10th gear when he tried to pass another car. The dealer reset the adaptive driving module this time. “It then lost acceleration and wouldn’t engage 10th and started smoking.” This led the dealership to claim the problems were “due to over-full transmission fluid.” To add insult to injury, the original problems of rough shifting, lurching, clunking hadn’t gone away.

After filing a report with Ford, the rear end of the vehicle was replaced. But, the Expedition “still has transmission issues, with all the above mentioned issues, and now delayed acceleration in the lower gears. Enough is enough — fighting about fixing it for a year, it has been in for repairs 7 times, and over 49 days of rental cars.” Whilst there was still no solution at the time of the complaint (August 24, 2023), the owner states that all the issues reported had “been experienced at various times by the dealership.”

An owner from Indiana states that the transmission “continues to shift in unexpected ways (hard shifts, not picking the right gear, hesitation under acceleration)” after being “rebuilt” by the dealership. The dealership examined the vehicle “and states that it is operating normally, but we were unable to duplicate the problem at that time. The next day, it happened again while driving on the highway when merging into traffic.”

What Should You Do if Your Expedition Has Powertrain Issues?

If your 2021 Ford Expedition is experiencing issues with the transmission, Lemberg Law would like to hear about them. We will evaluate your problems free of charge, and possibly invite you to join our current class action investigation.

To see if you qualify, just fill out a contact form or call our Helpline. It’s not going to cost you anything because the law says Ford must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.

See more posts from Sergei Lemberg
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