2019 Ford Ranger already facing first recall

The Blue Oval's new midsize pickup is just hitting dealers now, but there's a potential problem with its shifter interlock.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read

The 2019 Ford Ranger is undoubtedly one of the new model year's most hotly anticipated new trucks. But just as the first wave of these new midsize pickups are arriving at dealers, the model is already finding itself under recall for a potential shifter interlock problem.

Ford announced Wednesday that the wiring from the truck's PRNDL shifter bezel (which displays what gear the transmission is in) could prevent the shifter interlock override from operating properly. As a result, it may be able to shift the automatic transmission "out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal." While Ford doesn't spell it out, that means the vehicle could be inadvertently left in neutral, creating a rollaway risk.

The recall campaign covers around 3,500 Ranger pickups in North America, including around 3,000 units in the US and a further 500 in Canada.

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Beyond the fact that Ford says it's unaware of any accidents or injuries as a result of this potential issue, the good news is that most of these new 2019 Rangers are likely still in transit or sitting on dealer lots. The company recently moved to a quarterly earnings report cycle, so it's hard to know exactly how many Rangers have been sold so far. Company officials recently disclosed that they were expecting to sell 1,200 trucks in January, however. 

The word came amid news that Ford is already swamped with early demand for its new truck, and is responding by ratcheting up overtime shifts at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.

According to Ford, dealer techs will inspect the shifter interlock and see if it's capable of moving the lever out of park with the engine turned off and a foot on the brake. If that condition is observed, service techs will determine if there's any wiring interference. If so, they'll relocate the wires and retest, all at no cost to the customer.

Affected models were built between June 4, 2018 and Jan. 9, 2019.

Having a recall this early into a production run isn't unprecedented, but it is a black eye for an important new model for the Blue Oval. Fortunately, it sounds like it was caught early.

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