A Halifax man is battling the car company Ford, claiming that his truck is unsafe.
Stephen O'Brien says his vehicle accelerated unexpectedly and that has him worried about his family's safety.
“I pulled out to pass a car, and when I pulled out, I accelerated. I took my foot off the gas and the truck continued to accelerate up Magazine Hill,” he said.
It was a scary experience for O'Brien, who said his leased 2013 Ford F-150 truck reached speeds of between 140 and 150 km/h before he managed to regain control.
When he did, O’Brien said he drove it directly to the dealership where it remains.
A number of car manufacturers have had problems with unexpected acceleration. In fact, Ford is facing a lawsuit in the U.S. for the same problem. However, the lawsuit doesn't include 2013 models like the one O’Brien was driving.
“I've held up my part of the lease,” said O’Brien.
“I've made the monthly payments. I've kept up on maintenance of the truck. In return for that, my expectation was a truck that worked — a fully functioning truck and I haven't received that.”
O’Brien, who has been given a free rental car in the meantime, also experienced transmission problems and what he calls “a ghost” in the vehicle’s electrical system.
“The window would go up and down without command. My radio would turn off and on for no reason,” he said.
But it's the unexpected acceleration that is the real concern.
The dealership has told O’Brien the acceleration problem was caused by the two floor mats on the driver’s side that were provided by Ford, saying they got stuck under the gas pedal and were to blame.
“I don't accept that,” said O’Brien. “I pumped the gas pedal. I looked at the floor mats once I got stopped. It wasn't a floor mat caught on my gas pedal.”
To complicate matters, the lease is not with the dealership but with Ford Canada.
The company has offered O’Brien a new vehicle with a new lease, but it would cost him an additional $80 per month. He doesn't feel he should pay for a problem he didn't create.
“My confidence in Ford is gone and I want out of that truck [lease]. I will never again put my family into that truck, so it will be no good to me,” said O’Brien.
The general manager of the dealership said it can only correct problems they see. The GM said a number of people who have looked at the truck have been unable to identify any acceleration issue other than floor mats.
Ford Canada said a customer service representative will be in touch with O‘Brien to discuss his lease.
O’Brien said he plans to file a formal complaint with Transport Canada.