Ford issued a small recall for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E over software safety concerns.
Why it matters
The software issue at the heart of the recall may increase the risk of a crash until it is fixed.
Ford will notify owners through the mail, and a subsequent over-the-air software update should fix the problem.
Over-the-air software updates aren't just helpful for adding features over time. This new bit of car tech can also help fix vehicles that have been recalled without ever having to approach a dealership.
And that's what we'll see with Ford's latest recall, which involves 464 examples of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. The vehicles under this recall were not produced in VIN order, so Ford recommends that concerned owners call their dealership to confirm whether or not their vehicle is included. Every Mach-E under this recall has all-wheel drive. Owners of the vehicles subject to the recall should receive a notice in the mail within a couple weeks.
The issue stems from the software in the powertrain control module, which contains the electronics that help deliver power to the wheels. According to documents filed with NHTSA, a bug can cause the car's safety software to always report a torque value of zero on the secondary axle. If that happens, the vehicle "may ignore a possible unintended acceleration, unintended deceleration, or unintended vehicle movement on the secondary axle," thereby increasing the risk of a crash, according to the NHTSA report. It may also "incorrectly detect a lateral hazard on the primary axle," which could cause the vehicle to enter a speed-limited limp mode.
Ford first learned of the issue in March when the automaker discovered a report of a vehicle improperly going into limp mode. After further researching the issue, Ford approved a recall in early May, though the automaker has not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem.
Since Ford will send remedied software to affected vehicles through over-the-air updates this month, many won't even need to leave their homes to solve the underlying issue. However, owners do still have the option of having technicians apply the update at the dealership, and both methods are free. If anyone ended up paying their dealer for a fix prior to the recall notification, Ford has a reimbursement plan in place.