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DETROIT  —  Ford is recalling about 1.5 million F-150 pickup trucks because the transmission could downshift into first gear without warning.

The recall covers 2011 – 2013 model year trucks with six-speed, automatic transmissions.

Ford said the trucks could experience an “unintended, temporary downshift into first gear,” which could cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle and crash.

Five accidents have been reported so far, including one report of whiplash.

The company will send recall notices to owners in early March.

Dealers will upgrade the power train control software in the affected vehicles at no cost to the owner.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty.)