Having the ability to turn off your vehicle is absolutely a given when buying a new car. However, it seems that over 400,000 new Ford models may be lacking such a mandatory feature. Over the weekend, Ford Motor Company announced that they are recalling 433,000 of the 2015 model year Focus, C-MAX, and Escape vehicles because of an issue with the body control module. Ford has noted that the issue is caused by the engine continuing to run even after turning the ignition key to the “off” position and removing the key or after pressing the engine start/stop button located on the dash.
As of this report, Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the recalled vehicles. So far, Ford has recalled 374,781 vehicles in the United States, 52,180 in Canada, and 5,135 in Mexico. The company is set to contact current owners and dealers in order to have the vehicle module software updated to correct the issue. It seems that the problem isn’t mechanical; it is actually related to the body control module software. The software governs the ignition control either using a key or an engine stop/start button. The problem is apparent when some owners remove the key from the ignition or push the button to turn the engine off, and nothing happens. The engine continues to run without any way of shutting it down. If you’ve got a full tank of gas when this happens, then it’s going to be a long day/night of watching your car doesn’t get stolen (in a well-ventilated area).
Despite the dip in Ford’s stock and shares, updating software on all of those cars is both a necessary and expensive process for Ford. In the future of connected cars, it might be possible to correct such an issue with a remotely downloaded software update/patch (much like most things connected to the internet do). However, since that technology is still new, Ford likely hasn’t settled on a secure system to do that just yet. That’s in stark contrast to the system Tesla has, which sees its cars regularly updated and upgraded without any hassle for the owner.
This makes the second recall in less than a month for the Ford Escape, which was recalled in June due to a faulty instrument cluster that might have been installed in certain vehicles.
If you are unsure whether you own a Ford vehicle with this software bug, search out your paperwork and give your local dealer a call. They’ll give you a definite answer and schedule a visit if necessary.
Currently, on the Ford website, they have detailed which models are affected, which involves certain vehicles made over the past year in Michigan and Kentucky: “Affected vehicles include certain 2015 Focus vehicles built at Michigan Assembly Plant from June 17, 2014, through June 12, 2015; certain 2015 C-MAX vehicles built at Michigan Assembly Plant from April 22, 2014, through June 12, 2015; and certain 2015 Escape vehicles built at Louisville Assembly Plant from April 1, 2014, through June 12, 2015.”
Ford will notify owners of the software update and perform them at dealerships at no cost.