The Ford F-150 is a highly sought-after pickup truck known for its strong performance and durability. As a part of the Ford F-Series, which has been a best-seller in the United States for more than four decades, the F-150 has been a top choice for truck enthusiasts nationwide. But while the F-150 has certainly earned its reputation over the years, it’s important to note that not all models are created equal. Some years, due to various problems and recalls, may not be the best purchase choice.
Here are the model years it’s best to avoid. The Ford F-150 years 2004-2006, 2010, and the 2015-2017. The 2004 model had a staggering 16 recalls, flagging it as a potentially risky purchase. The 2005 model showed problems with spark plugs and window regulators. In 2010, owners faced issues with oil leaks and tech glitches in the infotainment system. And the 2015 and 2016 years have been reported to have their own set of problems, leading to a recommendation against these years. Thus, picking the correct model year is essential for a long-lasting, stress-free experience with your F-150.
Avoid these years:
- 2004-2006 Ford F-150
- 2010 Ford F-150
- 2015 and 2016 Ford F-150
Some F-150 Years Are Bad And Others Are Good
Like any machine, a truck’s quality can vary depending on several factors during its production year. These fluctuations can result from changes in design, introduction of new technology, manufacturing issues, or supply chain glitches. At other times, the car company might be trying to cut costs, which can lead to the use of cheaper parts and an overall decrease in the quality. For instance, Ford’s, F-150 models from 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010 had different problems ranging from recalls due to safety concerns to mechanical issues like faulty spark plugs and oil leaks, indicating lesser reliability.
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On the other hand, some years stand out as particularly good models based on their performance, fewer complaints, and less significant issues. The factors that contribute to this are the refinement over previous designs, ironing out initial glitches from introducing new tech, better quality control, or simply a switch to better quality parts. For example, models from 2013 and 2014 and those from 2018 onwards brought in higher reliability, customization options, modern technological features, and power to the Ford F-150 lineup. These features, coupled with less significant problems, made these years a better choice for potential owners.
Avoid The 2005 and 2006 Ford F-150 Years
Here are the reasons to avoid the 2005 and 2006 years of the Ford F-150. Some of the reasons are not very important but the engine issues are pretty significant.
2005-2006 F-150 Problems in Short:
- Corroded gas tanks leading to tanks detaching from the chassis
- Unexpected deployment of airbags causing safety hazards
- Widespread issue due to high sales numbers in these years
- Defected power window controls and failure of windows to release from doors
- Faulty aluminum cylinder head design leading to breakdown of spark plugs
- Spark plugs breaking causing routine engine problems
- Specifically high engine damage rates reported in 5.4L V8, 6L V8, and 6.8L V10 engines
- Lingering spark plug issues in Triton 5.4-liter and 6.8 liter engines
- Faulty window regulators in the 2004 model causing windows to crash into doors
- Continuous recalls with a total of 14 for the 2005 model year
- Ongoing engine knocking sounds in the 2005 model 5.4-liter V8 engine, attributable to the cam phaser or faulty cylinder heads.
The Ford F-150 from 2005 to 2006 had a series of issues that caused widespread consumer dissatisfaction. One prominent concern was the problem of corroded gas tanks which resulted in tank straps detaching, causing the fuel tank to sag below the chassis. This design flaw led to dangerous situations with the tank scraping on the ground. These issues were especially prominent in the 2004 and 2005 models, and since both these model years sold close to a million vehicles, it was a widespread problem. On top of this, the 2005 model had an added defect with airbags that would inadvertently deploy, causing another substantial safety hazard.
Aside from these significant issues, these model years also had common but frustrating problems with power windows and spark plugs. There were frequent reports of power window controls failing to register, or even windows failing to release from the door itself, leading to safety concerns and potential financial implications. The spark plug issues stemmed from a faulty aluminum cylinder head design. These design defects led to frequent breaks and subsequent engine problems, particularly during repair jobs. Notably, the impact was even higher for specific engine types – 5.4L V8, 6L V8, and 6.8L V10 – than in previous years.
More specifically, the 2004 and 2005 models had their unique issues primarily with their available engines, Tritons 5.4-liter and 6.8 liter. The 2004 model was notorious for spark plug problems that included breakage during removal and sudden ejection. In addition, the faulty window regulators, causing windows to crash into doors, were common in the 2004 model year. Meanwhile, the 2005 model, despite being the successor, did not fare much better and had a total of 14 recalls. Faulty window regulators persisted, and spark plug issues lingered. The Triton 5.4-liter V8 engine in the 2005 model also had continuous knocking sounds, often tied to the cam phaser or defective cylinder heads.
Avoid The 2010 Ford F-150 Year
Here are the reasons to avoid the 2010 Ford F-150. The return of past issues is concerning as well as the number of customer complaints.
2010 F-150 Problems in Short:
- Return of spark plug problems leading to engine misfires or non-start situations
- Issues with the “My Ford Touch Screen” including sudden unresponsiveness and failure of the backup camera
- Recurring recognition issues with smartphone connections
- Early onset of transmission failure, reported as early as 35,000 miles
- Recurrence of past issues as well as the introduction of new problems
- Three times the number of complaints compared to the 2009 model
- Shattering rear windows especially in cold conditions, leading to around $800 replacement costs
- Engine stalling while driving at around 67,000 miles, often due to a bad evaporative canister purge valve
- A single recall issue concerning the interior door handle spring that could cause the door to open unexpectedly.
The 2010 model of the Ford F-150 seemed to revive some of the issues from the past, most notably, spark plug failure. Common coil failures during this period resulted in engine misfires or even full non-start situations. Aside from engine issues, the 2010 model also faced numerous challenges with its sensory system. The introduction of the “My Ford Touch Screen” brought with it a new set of problems. Drivers reported sudden unresponsiveness, and situations where the backup camera failed to activate during reverse driving. The model which was an early adopter of smartphone compatibility, failed to reliably recognize phone connections, presenting difficulties for modern drivers who heavily rely on phone connectivity for calls and navigation.
Additionally, the transmission performance of the 2010 F-150 was poor, with complaints about transmission failure manifesting as early as 35,000 miles. Another significant problem was that of shattering rear windows, which typically occurred in cold conditions when the rear defroster was activated. This required window replacement, costing around $800. Engine stalling while driving was also reported by owners, typically around the 67,000 miles mark, often attributed to a faulty evaporative canister purge valve. On top of everything, this model has garnered nearly three times the number of complaints than its predecessor, the seemingly more reliable 2009 F-150. With transmission repair costs potentially going up to $4,000, persistent sensory system issues, and a litany of other problems, the 2010 Ford F-150 is a model year to avoid.
Avoid The 2015 and 2016 Ford F-150 Years
Here are the reasons to avoid the 2015 and 2016 Ford F-150 years. The engine stalling issue is the most concerning in these years that keeps continuing through the 3 years mentioned.
2015-2016 F-150 Problems in Short:
- High selling model years but significant performance issues
- Problems with gear shifting especially when carrying weights around 5,000 pounds
- Engine failure across various models, including engine stalls and sudden loss of power
- The 2015 model had 13 recalls, three investigations, and over 1000 complaints
- Issues with engine’s exhaust manifold design causing warping
- Issues related to brake fluid leakage, causing compromised braking and potential fire risks
- Faulty door mechanics leading to doors opening while in motion
- Various issues with rear windows shattering, backup camera failure, and loss of steering in the 2015 model
- The 2016 model’s engine is notorious for stalling while driving
- The 2016 model was affected by unexplained activations of the check engine light
- Occurrence of engine shudders in the 2016 model with no apparent cause
The Ford F-150, 2015 and 2016 models faced a number of issues that can potentially impact their performance and safety. This period saw about a million trucks sold and most of these faced various problems often without any clear explanation. Aside from general safety concerns, prominent issues included faulty door mechanics, struggles with gear shifting particularly when transporting weights around 5,000 pounds, and complaints around engine failure. The 2015 model came with 13 recalls, three investigations, and over 1,000 complaints as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Concerns ranged from warped exhaust manifolds within the engine leading to power loss and engine stalls to more urgent issues like brake fluid leakage, diminished brake effectiveness, and risks of fire due to electrical shorts.
A unique issue with the 2015 model was doors opening while the vehicle was in motion. Other reported problems included shattering rear windows, failure of the backup camera, and loss of steering. Specifically, the 3.5L EcoBoost engine had its series of problems. These included a faulty design leading to warping of the exhaust manifold, sudden power loss, and engine stalls. A major issue with the 2015 model that recurred despite a recall was brake fluid leaks. Additionally, the model faced issues such as electrical shorts, faulty adaptive cruise control, and glitchy electronic door locks.
The 2016 F-150 model was primarily notorious for its engine stalling while driving, requiring throttle body replacement costing around $60. Further, unexplained activations of the check engine light and occasional engine shudders added to the concerns without any apparent or conclusive causes found upon diagnostic checks. Brake fluid leakage, seen as a dangerous issue, led to a significant recall–though some Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) weren’t covered in this. Issues such as a fire hazard due to a block heater cable led to several recalls and warped exhaust manifolds led to numerous engine problems, ranging from the smell of something burning to excessive fuel consumption.
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Reliable Ford F-150 Years
The Ford F-150 models from 2003, 2004, and 2017 are recognized as distinctively reliable compared to other model years. Both the 2003 and the 2004 models earned impressive JD Power reliability ratings of 4.7 stars, reflecting their excellent power and all-around performance. The 2003 version earned this lofty score based on 223 consumer reviews, excelling particularly in power and performance. The 2004 model, despite dealing with some performance and engine hitches, mirrored this robust reliability rating. It garnered this commendation from a much larger sample size with 684 reviews, resulting in a durable reputation for these years that surpasses many others in the Ford F-150 series.
The 2017 model similarly stands tall as one of the most reliable years for the Ford F-150. This model year initiated a significant leap in reliability, particularly in its engine performance. With an average annual maintenance cost ranging from $450 to $567, it proves to be a cost-effective choice in terms of upkeep. Its high regard among owners is documented in exceptional reliability scores of 9-10 out of 10. In addition, high marks were given for driver visibility and the sound system quality. The model also received high scores in crash tests, ranging from 4.25 to 4.8 out of 10, further reinforcing its reliability credentials. The confidence in the 2017 model’s long life span is especially prominent, with a common expectation of it reaching 200,000 miles. This longevity prediction reaffirms users’ trust in its durability and endurance.
The Last Thoughts
While Ford’s F-150 series is well-known and celebrated for its power and performance, some model years should be approached with caution. The models from 2004, 2005, and 2006 necessitate careful consideration due to their diverse array of issues ranging from corroded gas tanks, defective airbags, and coil failures. The 2010 model, despite newer technology and features, also had a host of persistent problems, including harmful engine stalls and faulty sensory systems. The 2015 and 2016 models bring to light issues with engine stalling and a myriad of other problems despite their high sales figures. Therefore, knowing the risks and prevalent issues of these particular model years can lead to informed decisions, helping prospective buyers tune into better options for their needs when investing in a Ford F-150.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.