Back in December of 2019, Ford issued a recall for select 2017-2020 Ford Super Duty trucks after it was discovered that models produced in that date range had an issue where the tailgate could open unintentionally. To rectify the issue, Ford dealers modified the tailgate frame wiring harness by adding jumper pigtails to isolate the tailgate release control circuits and installed a new tailgate handle release switch – a solution that many claimed was inadequate, which prompted an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A few months later, a lawsuit was filed over this same issue, but now, the NHTSA has officially closed its investigation.
The NHTSA notes that after it received 11 complaints of Ford Super Duty tailgates opening unintentionally while the vehicle was in motion, FoMoCo not only issued a recall, but also implemented a production update to rectify the issue. Since then, the number of claims have dropped, and after conducting its own testing, the automaker also issued a customer satisfaction program to further address unintended tailgate openings in late 2021.
As such, NHTSA wound up receiving only 39 total complaints over the past couple of years pertaining to this problem, all of which were not treated to the fix outlined in Ford’s customer satisfaction program. The agency did not receive any complaints from owners who have received the proposed fix, and as such, decided to close its investigation after determining that Ford acted appropriately.
Regardless, there are undoubtedly still some Ford Super Duty pickups out there that have not received these propose repairs, and as such, NHTSA urges owners to take their trucks in for the update, if it hasn’t yet been implemented. Ford began incorporating an updated tailgate release switch and wiring harness jumper effective with the 2020 model year beginning on November 4th, 2019.