Bad 10-Speed Transmissions Haven’t “Built Ford Tough”

Ford’s F-150 trucks have been the #1 top-selling vehicle in the United States for decades. Ford apparently wanted to improve the performance of these drivers and provide an “exceptional level of driver control.” To do so, Ford teamed up with General Motors to create the 10R80 automatic transmission. This 10-speed transmission was introduced in certain 2017 Ford F-150 trucks and made standard in 2021 F-150 trucks onward.

Three class action lawsuits allege that 2017–Present Ford F-150 trucks with these 10-speed transmissions show “life threatening” problems like whiplash, harsh and erratic shifting, vehicle jerking, lunging and hesitation between gears. These 10-speed transmission problems may first appear at roughly 6,000 miles, or between two and five months. Some F-150 truck drivers reported nearly being rear-ended or feeling like they’ve got hit by another vehicle.

Ford claimed the problems came from transmission software issues or the vehicle’s “adaptive transmission shift strategy.” Resetting this system supposedly allows the computer to relearn the transmission’s parameters and improve shifting. However, Ford drivers reported that these proposed repairs did not fix their transmission issues.

Ford F-150 trucks are not the only ones experiencing these transmission problems. Other Ford vehicles equipped with this 10-speed transmission may also experience harsh shifting, whiplash or other problems.


1. What are the Ford F-150 transmission lawsuits?

These three lawsuits allege that 10-speed automatic transmissions cause “life threatening” problems in 2017–Present Ford F-150 trucks.

  • Marino v. Ford: Robert Marino leased a 2019 Ford F-150 Sport with a 10-speed transmission. Two months after leasing, he noticed a loud “clunk” or “bang” noise upon starting engine. While driving, he experienced slipping or jerking when changing gears. The dealership updated the transmission software, but Marino alleged that the transmission problems persisted.
  • Orndorff v. Ford: Victor M. Orndorff purchased a 2018 Ford F-150 Super Cab with a 10R80 10-speed transmission. After driving 6,000 miles, Orndoff allegedly noticed a loud “clanking” noise from his transmission. “Rough” gear shifting and unusually long shift times made the vehicle “decelerate in an unsafe manner.” The dealership allegedly told him there was “no fix for the transmission issues” and all Ford F-150 pickup trucks with 10-speed transmissions showed the “clank” or “bang” noise and gear shifting problems.
  • O’Connor v. Ford: Justin O’Connor leased a 2018 Ford F-150 XLT 3.5 EcoBoost with 10R80 10-speed transmission. After 5 months with roughly 6,000 miles on the vehicle, O’Connor heard a loud “clunk” or “bang” upon starting the engine. O’Connor also claimed that his vehicle experienced longer gear shifting times and a loss of power while shifting. The transmission problems put O’Connor at risk of getting rear-ended. Though certain allegations about warranty claims and deceptive trade practices were dismissed, this class action lawsuit is otherwise going forward.

In short: the three lawsuits claim that Ford F-150 trucks show loud “clanking” while starting the engine, longer gear shifting times and other gear shifting problems, and the dealership could not provide a permanent fix. So far, these lawsuits have not reached settlement.

2. Which Ford vehicles have this 10-speed transmission?

Those lawsuits represent owners of 2017–Present Ford F-150 trucks with 10R80 automatic transmissions.

However, Ford 10-speed transmission problems may also affect these vehicles:

  • 2017–2022 Ford F-150
  • 2018–2022 Ford Mustang
  • 2018–2022 Lincoln Navigator
  • 2019–2022 Ford Ranger
  • 2020–2022 Ford Expedition

Even though they’re not included in the three class action lawsuits, Ford Rangers, Ford Mustangs, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators with 10-speed transmissions may also have hard shifting, delayed shifting, jerking and acceleration problems.

We’ve written about the complaints that 2017–Present Ford F-150 owners sent to NHTSA regarding their transmissions. Read some Ford F-150 transmission complaints, Ford Ranger transmission complaints and Ford Expedition transmission complaints featured on our blog.


3. Is Ford’s 10-speed transmission reliable?

No, Ford’s 10-speed transmission is simply not reliable. Ford marketed its “innovative” 10-speed transmission as having optimized power, higher power for acceleration, and improved performance and fuel efficiency.

It’s highly questionable that a 10-speed transmission with poor shifting, jerking, lunging and other problems could allow for safe driving, let alone live up to any of these marketing claims.

4. What’s wrong with Ford’s 10-speed transmission?

A potential manufacturing defect may be responsible for the 10-speed transmission problems happening in many Ford vehicles.

Based on what other drivers have reported, here are the signs that your Ford’s 10-speed transmission might be defective:

  • Wrench Light is on
  • Clunking or banging noise when starting the engine
  • Rough, harsh or erratic shifting
  • Hesitation between gears
  • Gear getting stuck while shifting
  • Jerking or lunging
  • Loss of power while driving

According to a 2021 Ford F-150 truck recall, the vehicles falsely sense that the transmission fluid pressure is too low and respond by shifting into Neutral. However, owners say the proposed fix (a transmission software update) doesn’t fix the transmission issue.

5. Has Ford fixed its 10-speed transmission problems?

No, Ford hasn’t fixed its transmission problems. Ford refuses to repair or replace the 10-speed transmissions, according to multiple lawsuits.

What Ford tells consumers contradicts what Ford tells its dealerships. Drivers have reported that Ford told them the unusual gear shifting is “normal” for their vehicle models. However, dealerships were told that 2017–2018 Ford F-150 trucks show harsh, bumpy shifting and other gear engagement problems. This could be found in “technical service bulletins,” or internal documents that auto manufacturers send to their dealerships regarding different vehicle problems.

The technical service bulletins told dealers to reprogram the powertrain control module. These documents claimed that the “adaptive transmission shift strategy” could cause “firmer than normal shifting” when it was relearning the 10-speed transmission’s parameters. However, these suggested “fixes” allegedly do not fix the 10-speed transmission problems.

Ford recalled more than 47,000 model year 2021 Ford F-150 trucks with 10R80 (10-speed automatic) transmissions. According to the recall, problems with the transmission’s software could cause the transmission to go suddenly into Neutral. However, the recall does not included all vehicles with the faulty 10R80 transmissions and its fix does not solve the 10-speed transmission problems.


Ford Expedition Nearly Rear-Ended

At least 5 different times while driving, I go to push the accelerator and the gear seems to slip and an awful sound like gears grinding is heard. I always feel like my transmission is going to fall out from under the car. It prohibits the car from moving and I have almost been hit from behind because I cannot accelerate at the time. It has happened on the freeway, in town driving, and even accelerating up my driveway. I have taken it to a Ford dealership but no answers.

–2020 Ford Expedition

Lincoln Navigator Has Hard-Shifting

Starting at 20,000 miles, I started asking the dealer to check the transmission on my vehicle. Very often the transmission shifts very hard to the point you hear and you feel like someone hit your car (usually from 1st to 3rd gear) and also when you shift it to reverse, it slips. Dealer keeps saying there’s no codes coming out on their computer. This always happens in motion on a city street.

–2018 Lincoln Navigator

Ford Ranger Driver Told Unusual Gear Shifting “Normal”

The 10R80 10-speed transmission will slip, shutter, stall, jump in and out of gear, slam into gear, and often times will wait till you are at a complete stop to downshift into 1st gear, which makes the entire truck lunge forward almost like you’ve been rear ended. I’ve been to 2 different Ford dealerships, had my truck in the shop multiple times and all I hear is them telling me that it’s normal and they get these complaints a lot. [The dealership] will play dumb and hold my truck in their parking lot for a few days, then say they found nothing wrong. [The dealership] told me over the phone that the symptoms I’m experiencing are normal and they will not touch my truck unless it has a wrench light on. A $36,000 truck should not have these issues and be deemed ‘normal’ or even ‘acceptable.’

–2019 Ford Ranger

Ford Expedition Software Update Failed Fix

At 70+ MPH, the automatic transmission tried to drop into 1st gear while on the interstate in a passing lane with heavy traffic all around. It had a loud and physical clunk, then began to lose power. It was erratic, disorienting and distracting. The sudden change in behavior of the vehicle could have caused me to lose control of the vehicle at speed on a federal interstate and could easily resulted in an accident, causing major injury and damage. The dealer says the car has no fault codes and they have downloaded ‘updates’ to the software. To date, they have no explanation for why the vehicle behaved in this manner. This is the second time I have taken the vehicle in for odd transmission behavior. I have a video of the dashboard during the event showing the speed, RPM, mileage and the gear selector gauge when the transmission attempted several times to shift from higher gears to the 1st gear. I shared the video with the dealer. […] This is dangerous with no answers!

–2020 Ford Expedition

Ford Mustang Driver Gets No Transmission Warnings

10-speed EcoBoost transmission doesn’t stay in gear and delayed shifts, causing acceleration problems. Hard shifts, jerking, and hard lunge forward when shifted into Drive. The forward lunge is unstoppable even with the brake fully engaged. Transmission slips when changing gears while driving. Yes, it’s available for inspection. Yes, mine and others’ safety are at risk. Yes, the problem has been reproduced and confirmed by a dealer. Inspected by an authorized dealer/manufacturer. NO other warning lamps or messages.

–2018 Ford Mustang

Ford 10-Speed Transmission Lemon Law Claim?
Let Our Lemon Law Attorneys Help You Return Your Vehicle and Get You a Full Refund.

If you own or lease a defective Ford, the California Lemon Law allows you to recover cash compensation, a replacement vehicle or a lemon law buyback (a full refund of your vehicle). Knight Law Group can help you get that full refund for your Ford lemon, and then some.

If you’re included in a class action lawsuit, you might receive a notice in the mail. This notice should include the claims against Ford and instructions on how to opt out before the opt-out deadline. Make sure to opt out before the deadline, or you waive your individual right to pursue a lemon law claim. Class members may only get a piecemeal cut of the final settlement, and that’s if they even qualify.

Knight Law Group’s lemon law attorneys have gotten record verdicts for clients with faulty vehicles. With a 99% success rate, you can rest assured that your lemon law claim will be in good hands. The best part? You pay nothing out of pocket for our lemon law services.

The first step to any lemon law claim is an initial consultation. To get your free consultation today, call us at 877-222-2222. The consultation can take as little as five minutes. If we find that you are part of at least one class action lawsuit, we can help you opt out. If you are not, or if you already opted out, we can help you begin the California lemon law process.

Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our California Lemon Law Guide for more information.