Arguably the most popular pickup truck on the planet, the Ford F150 is America’s best selling vehicle – not just truck, but vehicle – year-end and year out. Just like any other product out there, some versions were complete success and some are less desirable.
All of the F-150 trucks made by Ford since 2013 are dramatic improvements over the previous generation, but the year 2000-2005 Ford F-150 trucks are the most reliable based on the owners’ feedback. The owners of these trucks submitted their reviews and “voted” for these years as the most reliable.
The Ford F Series of trucks was started all the way back in 1948, with the F150 being made available for the first time in 1975. A full-size pickup truck, these trucks are on their 14th generation with new models even more impressive than those that came before them.
Now, don’t get us wrong. There are definitely some years of F150 trucks that are better than others. If you’re thinking about buying one of these vehicles, it’s a good idea to zero in on those “good years” than risk buying a dud when Ford was having a tough time figuring things out on the assembly line.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the years where the F150 was more reliable than any other.
What Year is the Most Reliable F150?
Number of 4 & 5 star Reliability Ratings - Ford F-150This chart shows the number of 4 and 5 star reliability ratings by model year for Ford F-150 truck.
In the above table you see that 1995 and years 2000 through 2002 have the most amount of 4- and 5-star reviews of all the other years. This tells you a lot directly from the owners of these trucks. Let’s take a look at the Ford F-150 Consumer Reviews.
Number Of 4 to 5 Star Consumer Reports For Ford F-150 By YearThis table shows the number of consumer reports that were submitted by Ford F-150 owners with 4 and 5 star rating by model year.
|Truck Year||Stars||Number Of Reviews||Points||Rating|
The above table shows that years 2002 through 2005 had the best consumer reviews from 1,454 individual Ford F-150 owners trying to tell you that these are the best years of this truck. Remember that not every owner will take the time to leave a review. Only those that are crazy about their truck will stop what they are doing and go and leave a review.
Most Reliable: 2000 – 2005 Ford F-150
After digging through lots and lots of data and customer reviews, it is becoming clear what years of the Ford F-150 truck are the most reliable and most liked by their owners.
Years 2000 through 2005 are the ones that the owners want to share and recommend. Over 1480 people took the effort to log onto a website and leave a review. This is actually saying a lot, because only 56% of satisfied customers will take the time to leave a review if they are approached and asked to.
I was not able to find any J. D. Power ratings for these years of the truck and the Consumer Reports have 3 out of 5 reliability ratings across the board for most of the F-150 years. RepairPal gives all the Ford F-150 trucks a 3.5 out of 5 stars for reliability.
Taking a look at all the data I was able to collect, the charts above are the most accurate in terms of bringing out the most reliable years of this truck.
The Improved 2013 and 2014 F-150’s are a Class Above
All of the trucks made by Ford since 2013 (the entire F Series) are dramatic improvements over the previous generation, but the 2013 and the 2014 F150s stand apart from the rest of the pack.
These are the trucks that serious Ford connoisseurs – as well as carpenters, contractors, and people that rely on these vehicles for their day-to-day jobs – hunt for when it comes to modern generations of the F150.
The 2013/2014 F150s had a whole bunch of different engines available – everything from a 3.7 L V-6 pumping out 302 hp (the most economical of the bunch) to the 6.2 L V-8 pushing 411 hp (the most powerful of the bunch) – which makes the universal reliability of these pickups even more impressive.
When you have a bunch of different configurations available you usually have a couple of bad eggs in the bunch.
Ford smashed these years out of the park, though.
On top of that, the Single Cab, Super Cab, and Crew Cab models were all rock solid. Regardless of the cabin configuration there was always a lot of unity between the cabin and the bed of these F150s – something that can’t be said about other Ford truck years.
Usually you get at least a little bit of flex and a little bit of “wiggle”. Not in 2013 or 2014.
F150 owners were also treated to some pretty impressive crash tests and qualifications, whole host of modern engineering upgrades “under the hood”, and a cabin and interior that was totally redesigned and foolishly comfortable.
The 2013 and the 2014 F150s were the last trucks of the 12th Generation, though. Ford engineers had a ton of time (between 2009 and 2014) to figure things out and perfect this model.
2017 and Newer F-150’s are Stuffed with Modern Technology
The 2017 F150s were rolled out two years into the 13th Generation of these trucks.
That means they didn’t have to deal with a lot of the “gremlins” and minor issues that inevitably plague the first year or two of a new vehicle lineup. These trucks were a lot more refined, a lot more capable, and significantly more reliable.
2017 also saw the introduction of some new and impressive Ford enhancements to the F150.
For one thing, the 2017 was the very first update for the now legendary Ford F150 Raptor. Probably the most capable of all the “fresh from the assembly line” specialty vehicles Ford makes today, the Raptor is a game changer in the off road space.
All the suspension improvements, all the handling improvements, and a lot of the off-road capabilities from the original Raptor made it to the standard 2017 (and newer) F150s, too.
Ford shaved almost 750 pounds off of the previous generation F150s as well.
This took a lot of stress off of the frame. It improved fuel efficiency and extended the longevity of the engine and the drivetrain, too. The frame remains high-strength steel, but almost every single body panel on the F150 has been swapped out from steel to aluminum – and it’s just as strong and just as reliable (as well as a whole lot less likely to rust).
The 3.7 L V-6 engine was retired for this generation of Ford F150 pickup trucks. Replacing it was a 3.5 L V-6, with the option to get a 2.7 L Eco-Boost V-6 or a 3.5 L Eco-Boost V-6. The 6.2 L V-8 was retired as well, replaced by a 5.0 L V-8 – with six speed transmissions (automatic transmissions) standard across the board.
Not only was this a beautiful truck, but it was also a super capable truck and one that could be relied on for years to come.
In fact, this pickup truck was awarded the IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.
As we saw, there are a lot of reliable F150 pickup trucks made between the years of 1975 and 2012, these trucks seemed to hit the sweet spot between 2000 and 2005 and then took a major leap forward in 2013 and 2014 – and another leap forward in 2017 (and up).
If you are hunting for a new F-150 and have the luxury of time, look around until you can get your hands on a clean 2000-2005 truck or a lower mileage 2013 or 2014 set up and done the way you want it.
As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s not a bad idea to shy away from any of the “special edition” F-150’s made across any year. Some of these trucks are solid and capable, but many of them are plagued with all kinds of issues that the “Plain Jane” models of that same year are not.
The only exception here, of course, is the F150 Raptor.
That truck – though it is a special edition – has been tinkered and toyed with by some of the best engineers Ford has to offer. You can’t go wrong with one of them!
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.