Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding recall problems relating to the high voltage batteries in the 2021 and 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Vehicle owners are reporting that the software fix specified in the recall doesn’t work. They say the problem is that parts need to be replaced and want these to be included in the recall.
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Is There a Battery Recall for the Mustang Mach-E?
Ford Motor Company’s recall of 48,924 Ford Mach-E 2021 and 2022 models estimates that 100% of the vehicles have defective batteries. The solution, they say, is for dealers to update the on-board software. While this is a free service, unfortunately, Mach-E owners are finding that it doesn’t work.
As required by law, information about the recall is on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.
Why is there a Recall?
Ford recalled more than 48,000 Mach-E SUVs on June 10, 2022, NHTSA Campaign Number 22V412000. This was because they discovered that the high voltage battery main contactors could overheat. When and if this happens, it can cause the vehicle to lose drive power. This, in turn, will increase the risk of a crash.
According to the Safety Recall Report issued on the same day, the recalled secondary on-board diagnostic control module and battery energy control module software was produced between May 27, 2020 and May 24, 2022.
The report describes the defect in some detail.
It states that direct current (DC) is fast-charging and that “repeated wide open pedal events can cause the high voltage battery main contactors to overheat. Overheating may lead to arcing and deformation of the electrical contact surfaces, which can result in a contactor that remains open or a contactor that welds closed.”
The cause of this, it states, is that the “design and part-to-part variation of the high voltage battery main contactor is not robust to the heat generated during DC fast charging and multiple wide open pedal events.”
If the contactor opens while the vehicle is on the road, the driver will see a powertrain malfunction light. A “stop safely now” message will also manifest as the vehicle loses motive power. If the contactor’s weld closes while driving, the powertrain malfunction light will show on the next drive cycle together with a “no start” condition.
What are Owners Experiencing with the Battery Recall?
A simple software update is supposed to monitor the contactor temperature and reduce power if it detects overheating. Some owners are finding that their vehicles fail after the update. There are also many claims that the high voltage battery junction box (HVBJB) is known to be defective.
There are numerous complaints, all of which say more or less the same thing. Typically, the HVBJB fails and no software update can fix it.
Of all the complaints on record for both models (2021 and 2022), only one confirms that the dealership replaced the HVBJB. The owner, from Nevada, complied with the recall notification and a day later was faced with the “stop safely now” message. The Mach-E wouldn’t power up and it was towed to the dealership. The HVBJB failure was verified via the Ford Diagnostic & Repair System and the dealership replaced the HVBJB.
A much more common scenario is that owners find that dealerships don’t have the necessary HVBJBs in stock. This leads to long waits for repairs. There are also complaints that the dealerships don’t have staff with the equipment and training needed to remove and replace the faulty HVBJBs.
This is what some of the affected owners have to say in their complaints to the NHTSA. Members of the Mach-E Forum have similar complaints.
An Owner from California States:
“My vehicle had the NHTSA Recall Number 22V412 performed 2 weeks ago via an OTA update. Today while driving the vehicle I had (a) critical failure while the vehicle was in motion, rendering the vehicle unsafe. It was determined that the part which failed was the part addressed in the recall campaign. The recall should not be considered satisfactory remediation of the issue as it did nothing to prevent this safety concern with my vehicle. Software cannot fix an improperly designed piece of hardware.”
An Owner from Connecticut States:
“My vehicle has 13,000 miles on it and I have been driving it without any problems until August 12, 2022.” When he turned the vehicle on, there were “service now” and “battery service” messages.
“I was aware of this problem because it was posted online and Ford has sent me mail about this problem. But I thought it could be fixed by an over the air update, which I performed already. So, I contacted the nearest dealer to book an appointment to remedy this issue. But the next available appointment was on August 31st – 2 weeks from then.”
The owner was only able to drive about 40 miles before the car shut down. The “propulsion did not work” and there were “a series of multiple error messages on all systems.”
Not being able to restart, he called a towing service and the nearest Ford dealership. But when he stepped out of the Mach-E, he found he was locked out. The towing service was eventually able to get the vehicle on a tow truck and deliver it to the dealership. “Now they are trying to repair it. I was aware of this issue beforehand but Ford stated that this issue can be resolved with a simple software update.”
An Owner from Georgia States:
The HVBJB in ALL Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles has known defects with faulty main contactors. These “are known to fail under normal charging and driving conditions.”
“Unfortunately, the internal damage to contactors is not visible externally.” Also, warning notices only display after damage has occurred.
This, the complaint states, “can result in sudden loss of propulsion power at highway speed, loss of power steering, and power brakes…” It can also cause the “failure of other 12v systems due to failure to charge the 12v battery properly after (the) contactors are damaged.”
The complaint also cites “less catastrophic results.” These include:
- A failure to start that can strand drivers and passengers in remote areas or in bad weather conditions.
- A loss of use for weeks due to delays in getting replacement parts plus dealerships needing the right equipment and training to remove and replace faulty HVBJBs
Ultimately, the complaint draws attention to the fact that this “is a software-only attempt to prevent future damage.” It “does not require removal of the part(s) which are known to fail to be replaced with the re-designed components which are available, and have been used to repair failures under warranty.
“I have no way of inspecting the original equipment to evaluate current condition; and failure can result in sudden and unexpected loss of power, steering, and braking as well as potentially stranding me in unsafe conditions unable to restart my vehicle.”
LIke several complainants, he says: “I would like to see NHTSA strengthen the Ford recall to include both improved software AND removal/replacement of the High Voltage Battery Junction Box (HVBJB) with a new one.”
What to Do If Ford Cannot Complete the Recall Repair for your Mach-E?
Lemberg Law is investigating the implications of complaints that the recall solution for faulty Mach-E batteries is invalid. In many instances, it appears to exacerbate the problem. If so, there’s a possibility that you have a lemon.
Do you own a 2021 or 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E listed in the recall? If you experience failures after complying with it, call us or fill out our contact form. Our services are free because in lemon law, Ford must pay any legal fees if we claim on your behalf.