Ford rolls out software fix for hybrid brakes

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday that it will ask owners of its Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrids sedan to bring their car into their Ford dealer to replace software that operates the car's braking system.

While the cars maintain full braking ability, Ford said, drivers may occasionally experience a strange feeling in the brakes under certain circumstances.

Brakes in hybrid cars, such as the Fusion Hybrid, operate differently from brakes in most cars. In addition to standard brakes, which use friction from pads pressed against drums or rotors, the electric motors in hybrids also help slow the car. The process also generates electricity to recharge the batteries.

In some cases, the Fusion Hybrid may bypass the initial "regenerative braking" phase -- when electric motors are slowing the car -- and may rely only on conventional hydraulic braking using pads.

In those cases, the driver feels the pedal going farther toward the floor than usual, according to an engineer for Consumer Reports magazine who experienced the problem in one of the magazine's test vehicles.

"While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes," Ford said in a statement.

No injuries related to the issue have been reported, Ford said.

Ford will send letters to customers, asking them to bring their cars in to get the patch, whether they've experience problems or not.

Following recent revelations of braking problems with Toyota's Prius hybrid car, Ford may be getting more aggressive with this problem in order prevent a wave of similar-sounding complaints, suggested David Champion, head of auto testing at Consumer Reports. The Fusion's braking issue seemed less serious than in the Prius, though, Champion said. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,982.59 22.02 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,444.91 0.00 0.00%
S&P 500 1,978.91 0.57 0.03%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.89%
Data as of 2:50am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.02 1.35 1.38%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.27 -0.36%
Bank of America Corp... 15.50 -0.09 -0.58%
Dollar Tree Inc 54.87 -0.08 -0.15%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.74 15.08 24.86%
Data as of Jul 28

Sections

Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.