Many owners of the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid have been experiencing slow speed braking issues of abrupt jerking and locking up that are at best annoying and at worst potentially dangerous. In the 15,000 miles of testing our own long term Maverick Hybrid, we have the problem too and have talked about it in our reviews and updates.
Since the truck arrived on the scene, owners have been complaining online in various forums and on social media about the problem where the brakes fail to adequately engage at slow speeds of less than 5-6 mph, then suddenly and unexpectedly lock up.
This happens in circumstances such as coming up to a stop sign, pulling into a parking space, navigating gridlock stop and go traffic or pulling up to the exit from a parking lot to wait for an opening in traffic – all situations where pedal effort is light to moderate.
The brakes feel like they are not grabbing hard enough and as you gradually increase effort they sometimes suddenly and unpredictably slam on or lock up with a loud clunk from under the hood. It’s very inconsistent and difficult to predict how and when it will behave like this. It doesn’t always do it.
The internet is full of reports about this. I myself posted a thread on MaverickClub.com early this year which garnered much discussion from several other owners having the same issues. As it turns out Ford Motor Company monitors web forums and social media and reached out to me directly, asking me to document the problems which I did in detail.
They acknowledged receipt of my complaint and then never again responded. Months later this summer I reached out to them to follow up and see if they were planning to do anything to which they said the case was still open. And again no follow up since.
Many other people have had the exact same experience. They complained to Ford. Ford took their information. Ford did nothing to help address the matter by setting up any kind of inspection or arranging further investigation.
Dealerships have proven useless to address the matter for those who have wasted their time there, many being told, “this is normal hybrid brake behavior”, or “we could not duplicate the problem”, yada yada blah blah. We have all heard this before from dealerships who generally treat customers like they are stupid and imagining things.
Mine service advisor would not even let me finish describing the braking issue before he interrupted me saying I needed to leave it there for 12-13 days before they would have time to look into anything requiring diagnosis. They effectively told me to to buzz off and don’t bother them with this silly nonsense.
As of the making of this video there are 23 complaints filed with the NHTSA about the braking issue. If you read through each complaint you will find a consistent and highly descriptive drum beat from customers around the country all echoing the exact same issue. My complaint is there too.
So what is the problem and why haven’t dealerships or Ford yet been able to deal with it?
The braking system on the 2022 Ford Maverick as well as many other hybrid cars is a form of an electronic brake-by-wire system. Instead of a conventional master cylinder hydraulic brake system it has and electronic brake control unit entirely managed by the computer.
Using a brake pedal feel simulator, it reads your pedal pressure and then decides whether to use regenerative braking by the hybrid transmission or hydraulic brakes or a combination of both. Regenerative braking can provide a low G-Force of braking power up to a certain threshold. Beyond that the hydraulic brakes are then actuated by the computer via the electric motor pump unit and phased in on top of regenerative braking.
The problem with the Ford Maverick Hybrid is that when applying light or moderate brake pressure which first triggers the regenerative braking, the electronic braking unit is not handling the transition from regenerative braking to hydraulic braking in a way that is smooth and predictable. The hand-off isn’t working that well.
It’s sometimes abrupt, it’s unpredictable, and it can be potentially dangerous if a driver doesn’t know what to expect from their vehicle from one moment to the next. Sudden jerky or slamming brakes can cause loss of control on surfaces like ice or even cause you to be rear-ended. The list goes on. It’s annoying at best, dangerous at worst. And what kind of premature wear and tear is this causing on bushings, ball joints and braking components over time?
In spite of what many dealerships and naysayers have been telling Maverick Hybrid owners, this is not normal. I have tested hundreds of hybrid cars in my career, they don’t all do this. I have tested other contemporary Ford Hybrid models with the same hardware under the hood such as the current Escape Hybrids. They don’t do this.
No, this problem that seems to be specifically with the Ford Maverick Hybrid. Because the Maverick Hybrid uses the same hardware as many other hybrid vehicles, the problem I have long believed is most likely in Maverick’s specific software that controls the brake system.
Thus it’s a problem that cannot be diagnosed and corrected at the dealership level. It needs to be dealt with at the Ford engineering level and handled with a recall or a TSB with new software at the least – maybe even corrected hardware if there is a mechanical problem determined
Low and behold, today a broadcast message went out to Ford dealerships known as SSM that says this:
“2022 Maverick – 2.5L FHEV – Brakes Grab During Light Braking When Applied At Or Below 6.2 Mph (10 Km/h)
Some 2022 Maverick vehicles equipped with a 2.5L full hybrid electric vehicle (FHEV) powertrain may exhibit a condition where the brakes may grab during light braking at or below 6.2 mph (10 km/h). This may be due to the software in the anti-lock brake system module (ABS). This condition does not affect vehicle safety/performance and no additional diagnosis or service is required for this condition at this time. Inform customers that they can continue to safely drive the vehicle, and engineering is currently developing a software update that is expected the last week of November 2022. Once the software update is available, contact the customer and schedule a follow-up appointment for repair in December 2022. Monitor OASIS for updates”
What this means is that Ford has now acknowledged the problem. It means that all of the customers who have been complaining about the issue to their dealers and shown the hand, complaining online and told they are idiots, and to the NHTSA are not crazy.
Most importantly this means that Ford is on record admitting there is a problem stating they are working on a solution with a time frame and end point.
So if you have this issue with your Ford Maverick Hybrid, know that there is now hope that Ford can and will fix the matter with at least a software update – which I believe should address the matter if they do it right.
There may not actually be a formal recall where Ford notifies customers of the fix and invites them to come to the dealership and have it addressed. Here more than likely it will be up to the customer to contact their dealership and tell them they need the software update once it becomes available. Don’t depend on Ford or dealerships to just do it on their own.