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Troubleshooters: Brand new car stops while driving, stumps family

The Wilsons' 2022 plug-in hybrid Lincoln Aviator shut off twice on the interstate.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 11:17 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of the most recent complaints received by the WAVE Troubleshooter hotline involves a brand-new car that died on the highway and cannot be repaired.

The Wilsons bought a brand-new Lincoln Aviator plug-in hybrid in Alabama, but after driving it home, it started shutting off randomly in the middle of traffic.

One of Kristal Wilson’s daughters asked earlier this year while they were driving on the Gene Snyder Freeway, “Are we almost there?”

“No, my car won’t go, it won’t accelerate,” Kristal Wilson said as she used her cell phone to record her car losing power and then coasting to the shoulder.

She said that was the last time she drove her new 2022 Lincoln Aviator hybrid car.

“Are we almost out of gas?” her daughter asked.

“No,” Kristal Wilson said.

“Is it almost?” asked her daughter again.

“No,” Kristal Wilson repeated.

“But, why is it going slowly?”

Wilson was peppered with questions from the girls as she coasted to a stop.

“Once again, audible stop in the car, it started decelerating, but unfortunately this time there was nowhere to get off,” Kristal Wilson told WAVE.

It was the second time her new car died on the interstate. It warned her to stop safely before cutting out. She said it did the same thing on the Gene Snyder a few weeks before.

“She called me in a panic saying the car turned off on her on the interstate, and she was just coasting down the Gene Snyder,” her husband, Alex Wilson, said.

He said they called Lincoln, who said to tow it to a dealer. The dealer agreed to replace the hybrid battery and returned the car to the Wilsons while parts were being purchased.

“They claimed nothing was wrong with the car, couldn’t find anything wrong with it,” Alex Wilson said. “‘Sir, there’s nothing wrong with the car.’”

The Wilsons are stumped.

“The car’s registered 14 separate times,” Alex Wilson said. “It has disabled the motor and it has registered 358 registered diagnostic faults.”

They have a copy of Ford’s internal diagnostic system for their car.

“Hybrid powertrain control module engine disabled,” Alex Wilson read aloud.

But every time a dealer has taken the car in, “they get it in and said nothing was wrong with it,” he said.

Despite the fact the Wilson said they are attempting to work out a deal with Lincoln, they feel this is a far bigger issue.

Lincoln Aviators have been the subject of two previous complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There have been complaints from buyers of other Ford electric vehicle products about the stop safely now warning flashing up and the engine shutting down.

In a voicemail from a Ford engineer, the Wilsons were asked whether they would be willing to test drive the vehicle with a recorder, similar to the black box on aircrafts. The employee stated that “Engineering is basically working on this because there are several out there and they don’t know.”

Ford has not yet issued a recall because of this issue, and the company did not provide a response to WAVE.

“(The car is) an $80,000 lawn ornament,” Alex Wilson said.

Since then, the Wilsons have been driving a rented car and attempting to figure out how to get rid of the Aviator that is still sitting at the showroom.

“It looks like Ford has a major problem,” Alex Wilson said.

Alex told WAVE that Ford has agreed to buy the car back. He has an appointment to sign the paperwork later this week.

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