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Ford F-350 Aluminum Wheels and Tire Under-Inflation Class Action

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2018 Ford F-350

The complaint for this class action bring suit against Ford Motor Company, alleging that 2017 and 2018 Ford F-350 vehicles equipped with aluminum alloy wheels have a problem. It has to do with corrosion from the contact of parts which results in low tire pressure, a condition which can become dangerous. 

The National Class for this action is all persons in the US who bought or leased a 2017 or 2018 Ford F-350 equipped with aluminum wheels. Alternatively, New York and Pennsylvania Classes have been proposed.

In the late 1990s, tread separation on Firestone tires caused rollovers and was linked to more than 100 deaths. Congress enacted laws requiring the use of Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) technology in all motor vehicles under 10,000 pounds. The TPMS is supposed to alert drivers to tire under-inflation.

Each wheel of the F-350 vehicles has a valve stem attached to a TPMS sensor. Unfortunately, the tire valve stems are made of a steel alloy while the wheels are made of an aluminum alloy. 

The complaint says, “The contract between the steel valve stem and the aluminum wheel causes galvanic corrosion at the point of contact which corrodes the aluminum. This corrosion causes leaks, thereby causing the tires to continuously lose air pressure…”

According to the complaint the low pressure affects “fuel economy, tire longevity, vehicle handling, and safety of the passengers and others. An instantaneous tire deflation or blowout can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.” Also, the F-350s are trucks: “Low tire pressure is particular harmful when using the [F-350s] to haul or tow heavy load, which the [F-350s] are advertised as being capable of doing.”

The plaintiffs in this class action report having to refill their tires “frequently, often daily.” Plaintiff James Collins has had the TPMS sensors, wheels, and tire valve stems replaced on his 2018 vehicle without solving the problem. Plaintiff Ken Newman has had numerous repairs done on his 2018 vehicle, paying out of pocket for them since the dealership has told him that the repairs are not covered by the warranty. Again, the repairs have not solved the problem.

The complaint quotes Ford’s own owner’s manuals and website cautions about tire under-inflation. For example: “Under-inflation is the most common cause of tire failures and may result in tread separation or blowout, with unexpected loss of vehicle control and increased risk of injury. Under-inflation increases sidewall flexing and rolling resistance, resulting in heat buildup and internal damage to the tire. It also may result in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of vehicle control and accidents.”

In addition, the complaint reproduces customer complaints about the same problem from reports to Ford, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other forums. 

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