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Ford Recalls Hybrids over Unexpected Shifts into Neutral

Hybrid badge on the 2023 Ford Maverick | Photo: D.Heyman
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Daniel Rufiange
The problem affecting Ford’s Escape and Maverick and Lincoln Corsair hybrid models arose from a software update carried out in January.

Ford is recalling several hybrid models because their transmissions could shift into neutral without warning while the vehicle is in motion.

The models affected are the Ford Maverick, Ford Escape PHEV and Lincoln Corsair. A total of 8,727 units are affected, including 8369 Mavericks (2022 to 2024), 277 Escape PHEVs (2020 to 2022), and 81 Corsairs (2021 and 2022).

The problems apparently started after the affected vehicles received a Hybrid Powertrain Control Module update in January. This targeted the HTIPM (Hybrid Transmission Internal Park Module).

The effect of the update was to make the transmission overly sensitive to "noise" from the Park Motor Position Sensor, which can trigger a diagnostic error code causing the vehicle to shift into neutral.

If a driver releases the gas pedal when coming to a stop, or when the vehicle is just gaining forward momentum, the transmission could try to shift into Park, even though the gear selector is in Drive, leading it to shift into Neutral.

Needless to say, this can be dangerous for users, because if the driver presses the gas pedal again, nothing happens. The gear selector is in D, but on the dashboard, the letter N (neutral) appears. If the driver tries to switch back to D mode by manipulating the selector, the vehicle may shift into a mode where the speed limit is 48 km/h.

If this happens on a highway, it represents an obvious danger.

2022 Lincoln Corsair
2022 Lincoln Corsair | Photo: D.Rufiange

Ford is not yet aware of any accidents or injuries related to the defect, but the company has received 315 warranty claims in North America related to the issue.

Ford will be contacting owners starting May 23, so in the coming days. At the shop, a safer software update concerning the noise of the parking motor position sensor will be carried out.

At the time of writing, this recall does not appear on the Transport Canada website.

As an aside, the Maverick pickup targeted here was the subject of three separate recall campaigns in April alone.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists