Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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

Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,596.72 -59.86 -0.29%
Nasdaq 5,828.74 11.05 0.19%
S&P 500 2,343.98 -1.98 -0.08%
Treasuries 2.40 -0.02 -0.74%
Data as of 5:43am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 23.12 0.05 0.22%
Micron Technology In... 28.43 1.96 7.40%
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.70 -0.09 -0.65%
Ford Motor Co 11.62 -0.05 -0.43%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.22 0.13 2.55%
Data as of Mar 24
Sponsors

Sections

Four countries included in the U.S. electronics ban list -- the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Morocco -- are absent from the U.K. restrictions. More

The GOP effort to repeal Obamacare is on ice for now. What happens to your health care coverage? More

In a company-wide email on Friday, Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick wrote that both the SEC and the Department of Justice have closed their inquires into the company's so-called mayo-buyback scheme. More