The decision to grant the 2021 Ford F-150 our Best of 2021 award was a unanimous one among our editors — one that can’t be reversed, and shouldn’t. But we admit we had a few doubts when, just nine days and 242.2 miles into our customary year of ownership and real-world testing, it started … acting up. We’re not strangers to replaced engines and foul odors in our Best Of award winners during our ownership, but having trouble this soon definitely isn’t typical for a new vehicle.
Coincidentally, it was after I’d been sitting in our F-150 Limited Hybrid for an hourlong teleconference — brainstorming all the great coverage we could publish over the coming year — that the truck itself decided to throw some more content in our laps.
Related: Owning the 2021 Ford F-150
Nine Days In, Three Malfunction Warnings
With the meeting over, I shifted the transmission into Drive, and instantly my phone lit up with multiple alerts from the FordPass app: “Malfunction Indicator Lamp — Regulatory,” each said. The screens include headings that can be expanded to show What Is Happening details, and the first (grammatical error included) read, “The Powertrain Control Module has detected that the modules internal central processing unit (CPU) has encountered an error when running its self-checks.”
The second alert merely read, “The Engine system has detected a fault.”
The third alert explained, “The software in the powertrain control module is corrupted.”