Ford issues recalls for F-150 block heaters, Super Duty and E-Series rear ends

Low differential oil and faulty EcoBoost engine block heaters are causing problems for some Ford owners.

Sure, the Super Duty is a pretty tough rig, but even it has to have proper lubrication for everything to work.
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

If you're the proud owner of a 2020 Ford Super Duty truck or E-Series van, your vehicle might be the subject of a real bummer of a recall announced Tuesday by Ford.

See, Ford has discovered that some of these vehicles may have left the factory without enough gear oil in their rear ends, which, in a worst-case scenario, could cause the diff to seize and parts to break.

Now, it should be relatively obvious, but having your differential seize or its internal components fail catastrophically would be bad, because it could cause rear-wheel lockup. Or, in a slightly less terrifying scenario, it would render the axle unable to transmit drive force from the driveshaft to the wheels.

Thankfully, the test to find out if a vehicle is affected by the recall is simple -- your Ford tech will check the oil level in your rear end. If it's full, then the vehicle is A-OK, but if it's found to be low, then Ford will swap out the whole rear end -- differential, axles, housing -- for a brand-new one. The good news is that this recall only affects 320 vehicles, so it's relatively limited in scope.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum 4x4 Supercrew

If you ordered your 2015 or 2016 EcoBoost F-150 with the optional engine block heater, you might be getting a recall notice in the mail.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Oh, but that's not all that the Blue Oval has on its recall plate. Owners of 2015 and 2016 F-150s with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and the optional engine block heater are at an elevated risk of fire due to the wiring on the block heater being the wrong length and lacking sufficient heat protection.

If this goes bad, the block heater could short out and trip your house's circuit breakers, stop the block heater from working, or worse, it could cause the block heater wires to overheat and catch fire. Ford hasn't received any reports of fire yet, so that's good, and the temporary fix is just not to use the block heater.

If yours is faulty, Ford will either fix it or replace it for free. This recall is rather more extensive, affecting around 33,000 vehicles in the US and Canada.

Owners of affected vehicles for both recalls should expect a notice in your mailbox in the relatively near future.