My 2020 Ford F150 is Starring in Transmission Impossible

Ford F-150 in the middle of the road - movie poster style


By Suzanne Henderson
LETTER 153 – December 2023 | Troubled in Tiburon

Dear Suzanne,

When you visualize owning your own vehicle, what comes to mind is sitting behind the wheel enjoying a smooth drive. You definitely don’t picture frequent and incessant visits to the dealership for one repair or the other. Unfortunately I’m talking from experience. Even worse is that the dealership keeps telling me nothing is wrong with my truck, but they are not the ones driving it. I’m the one driving the car and I know a faulty vehicle when I see one.

In October 2022, I purchased a certified pre-owned 2020 Ford F150 that had 7,000 miles on it at the time. Today, it hit the 27,000 mile mark so that’s 20,000 miles driven on my part and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the ride.


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Transmission Troubles

Almost immediately after I purchased the truck, it started showing different problems that all had to do with the transmission. Within the period I’ve taken it in, they have done multiple scans and reset several things that they claim should resolve the issue. But still nothing, the problem is very much there. In fact, they even replaced some internal sensors that they thought could have been the cause, but this didn’t yield any result.

I have taken it for repairs up to four times but the first two visits did not affect me as much as the third visit did. What prompted this visit was that it seemed like the transmission had gotten much worse than before – a situation I thought was impossible because it was already bad enough. So I took it in for repairs only to hear that this time they would need to replace the entire transmission.

For most people this would be a pain, but considering that I use my truck for work, it was a major dilemma. If it was a simple case of transporting myself to work, it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but I use my truck to transport building materials back and forth – I’m a construction worker. It’s not a situation that a rental truck would solve.

It Takes How Long to Replace A Transmission?

So I found myself debating between getting a permanent solution to my vehicle problems and using it for work. In the end, my need for a repair won so I gave them the vehicle. Then they told me it could take six to seven weeks to complete the replacement. What do you mean?? What would I use for work between now and then? How do I get the money to continue the payments for the vehicle if I’m not working?

All these questions were on my mind, but there was nothing I could do, so I let it go. Fortunately, by some miracle, they finished replacing the transmission in about 10 days. I was very excited, however, it still wasn’t running right. So it seemed like my sacrifice was all for nothing.

Not long after they returned the truck, the transmission began slipping. So I took it in again for the fourth time and they ran another series of tests. They said according to their diagnosis, everything was fine and they didn’t understand why the transmission was malfunctioning.

It’s shocking when I remember that it’s only been seven months that I’ve had this truck, because it feels like years. I’m so tired of these problems. Even now, the transmission is still faulty and I have decided to just leave the truck parked at home. Yes, it’s going to affect my work, but my safety and sanity is more important. If there’s any other way to go about it, I’m all ears.

Troubled in Tiburon


Your Ford F150 Sounds Like A Lemon

Dear Troubled,

Wow! That’s all I can say regarding the issues you’ve had to deal with. First of all, let me say that I’m sorry you’ve had to experience this with your vehicle. No one purchases a vehicle with the thought that they might have to take it back to the repair shop every other day.


Do you want to find out if your Ford qualifies for a Lemon Law claim?
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While a car with 7,000 miles may not be perfect, it should be in near-perfect condition, especially, considering the dealer you bought it from. Unfortunately this is a complaint many owners of this model report, so it’s more common than you think. It may not be something that happens every time, but it occurs enough to be a problem.

Lemon Law Qualifications

The good thing is that you have done most of the legwork and it sounds like you have a good case. The California Lemon Law protects consumers from defective vehicles sold by manufacturers, in your case, Ford. The vehicles are deemed defective if they have any defects that cannot be fixed after multiple repair attempts.

A vehicle purchased at 7,000 miles and has only 27,000 miles now has no business having these issues. It makes you wonder what would happen when you hit the 30k or 40,000-mile mark, how defective would the car be by then? It could be even worse than now and by then, your warranty would have expired so you’d have to pay for repairs out of pocket.

According to the law you need to give them ample opportunity to fix the issue. If they can’t, you become eligible for the lemon law. You must have at least two repairs done at the dealership for the same issue or three repairs for different issues while still under the original warranty. With regards to this, you already qualify.

Another thing is that California is a state with one of the most customer-friendly regulations in the US. This means you can hire an attorney to pursue your claim against the automakers without ever being charged. In other words, they take your case on contingency. You won’t get billed for your case, rather, the attorneys charge the manufacturers for that.

Settlement Options

Now, let’s have a look at the options available to you under the lemon law.


The first option is the buyback or repurchase offer. With this option, the manufacturers have to buy back your vehicle, and by doing so, they pay back almost everything you’ve spent on the car. This includes your down payment, monthly payments, taxes, and interest. In addition, if you also took out a loan on the car, they have to pay off the finance company for you and your credit goes up.

The only issue with this option is the mileage offset. The mileage offset is a case where the automakers bill you for the period you drove the car without any problems. It is usually based on the mileage you were at when you first took your car for repairs. Your attorney can argue for a waiver of this mileage offset in half or in full depending on the mileage and issues present.

Read more about the Ford Lemon Law buyback settlement option, how it works, eligibility criteria, affected models, common defects, and case examples.


The second option is the cash and keep. It is a situation whereby Ford offers you some cash as compensation for the issues you are having with your vehicle. With this, you’re able to keep the car and your warranty remains valid on it. Also, if you wish to later sell off your vehicle, you can do so without deeming it a lemon to the next owner.


The third option is called the replacement offer. With this the automaker allows you to exchange your car for another of the same model, mileage, and market price. While this may seem like a good offer, it means you may end up getting another lemon vehicle as a replacement. It also limits the amount your attorney can win for you in terms of compensation. This is why this option is not usually recommended.

I hope this has helped you figure out your next steps and answered all your questions regarding lemon law. If you still have a question or two, do not hesitate to reach out to your lawyer for clarification. Best of luck in your future truck!



Talk to a Ford Lemon Law Attorney today to start your claim.
We offer a FREE no-obligations consultation.
Book a call or dial (323) 553-7525 right now to find out if you have a case.

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Featured image:

  • 2020 Ford F150 ©Bull-Doser (Public Domain License)
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