The saga of the Ford Maverick Hybrid grabby drive-by-wire brakes has been with the new compact pickup since they began arriving into customer hands a year an a half ago. The problem with the software and electronic braking system causes intermittent grabbing or “slamming on” of the brakes at slow speeds and generally unpredictable behavior.
Coming up to stop signs, pulling into parking spaces and navigating stop and go traffic you just never know when you’re going to get the nasty little surprise of a sudden stop with a loud clunk under the hood from the electronic brake unit over reacting to the situation.
Ford has tried to fix this a number of times now with dozens of complaints filed with the NHTSA. In December of 2022, Ford finally issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 22-2493) which prescribed a software update to try and solve the issue for its thousands of Maverick Hybrid customers.
Unfortunately, the TSB combined the brake issue with a seemingly unrelated EGR issue and its own fix that caused confusion with customers and dealerships. Customers would come in and complain about their brakes and dealers didn’t know what to do. Fix the EGR system, the brakes or both? Long story short, many customers were told they could not have the fix or the fix was not done properly.
For me, I got the proper fix. At least that’s what I was told by the dealership after lots of prodding to get them to do it. I got resistance from them at first. After this the brakes seemed better at first, but within 300 miles of the service appointment I rendered the fix a C grade, only about 70% fixed. In the ensuing months however the brake behavior slowly regressed to their old behavior.
In February of 2023, Ford issued another technical service bulletin (TSB 23-2060) for the brake issue, again prescribing a software update for the ABS system and other supporting electronic modules. Interestingly, they separated the EGR issue into its own bulletin (TSB 23-2059). Theoretically now, dealerships should be able to understand one problem from the other when a customer comes in to have the fix done or complain of the issues.
For the second round of updates I chose a new dealership that I had more confidence in and had TSB 23-2060 performed. As a side note, the EGR issue also popped on my truck in the meantime and I also had TSB 23-2059 performed. Coincidence? Not sure.
The second dealership was much more adept at listening to me explain the issues, responding to my ask to do the fixes and they actually tested the truck until they verified or “duplicated” the issue before doing the work.
They kept it for two days as I also had the side-curtain airbag recall done at this visit, a lot of work. After the work they told me they put a good number of miles on the truck testing the brakes in a variety of scenarios and that they are confident it’s taken care of.
When I picked it up and during the first 100 miles, everything felt good. There was none of the sudden slamming or weirdness occurred in stopping situations when it had regularly in the past. No severe sudden grabs or clunks.
Are they 100% better? No. Past the 300 mile mark the new found behavior seems to have worn off a little. A definitive on-off sensation, though a more subtle one has returned back in when a coming stop at slow speeds under 5-6 mph. It happens sometimes and sometimes not. Inconsistent.
So far the worst of the grabs which most often happened strong and abruptly at speeds under 3 mph have not returned. These were the extremely annoying ones that made negotiating a clean stop into a parking space or rolling in gridlock traffic a near impossibility.
The last fix I gave a C grade to as it really only was a 70% fix. I render this fix at about 85%, a B grade. While much better now, the brakes on this truck are still the least refined and most difficult to modulate of any of the hybrid and electric vehicles I have driven in the last decade.
At this point I’m starting to wonder if the main problem is purely one of they got the cheapest and least dynamic electronic brake control unit available from their outside supplier for the lowest cost and combined it with the least powerful and sophisticated computer to control it.
If so, the result may be something they’re finding that no amount of programming may ever be able to make work right. Hopefully this isn’t the case because at the end of the day, this problem is still not fixed to my satisfaction as an owner let alone an automotive journalist.