Why are Fords so Unreliable? Surprising Reasons Revealed!

Why are Fords so unreliable?

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Why are Fords so unreliable? Image source: Quora


Ford, a well-known American company with a diverse range of vehicle offerings, has faced questions about its reliability.

How dependable are Ford cars, and can you trust the lineup to meet your needs?

Although the Ford lineup boasts many appealing features and is generally considered to offer good cars, exceptional reliability might not be its strong suit.

The brand typically receives average ratings and can be susceptible to significant issues.

While Ford often prices its vehicles lower than some competitors, it’s essential to keep in mind the principle that you get what you pay for.

In this guide, I delve into the areas where Ford excels, highlight those that require improvement, and evaluate models that excel, along with those you might want to avoid.


Are Fords Reliable Cars?


Although J.D. Power has positioned Ford slightly above the industry average, it still falls in the lower tier of rankings.

The reliability of Ford vehicles can vary significantly, making it challenging to assess the entire brand uniformly.

Notably, some of Ford’s modern engines have garnered acclaim as among the best in the industry.

A number of Ford vehicles have received prestigious accolades from J.D. Power.

For instance, the Ford Flex is esteemed as one of the finest midsize SUVs, alongside the Toyota 4Runner and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Furthermore, both the Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger have garnered recognition as top truck models.


Why Are Fords So Unreliable? Common Problems


Jerking Acceleration From Stop


Although not as severe as the complete transmission failure observed in earlier models, certain Ford sedans, particularly the Ford Focus, encountered transmission problems.

Many owners reported difficulties with smooth acceleration when starting their cars.

Fortunately, this issue was addressed for many owners through warranty coverage or recalls.

Nonetheless, transmission repairs can be time-consuming and highly inconvenient, even if the cost is not borne by the owner.


Defective Spark Plugs


Certain Ford vehicles have spark plugs that may require attention sooner than typical maintenance intervals.

In the case of some Ford Explorer V8 models, there were instances where spark plugs would unexpectedly eject from the engine.

This not only poses a safety risk but is also quite unusual.


Power Steering Failure


In the early to mid-2010s, Ford faced numerous challenges with their power-steering systems, particularly affecting their sedan models such as the Fusion and Focus.

These issues significantly compromised the car’s handling, posing a particular concern for drivers with disabilities who depend on power steering.

While it may still be possible to operate the vehicle without power steering, it becomes notably riskier without the assistance of hydraulic support.


Engine Fires


While it’s common for cars to experience minor engine issues over time, dealing with a car fire is a far more serious matter.

Unfortunately, several Ford models have faced such issues.

The most notable instances were observed in the 2013-2014 Ford Fusion cars.

Although the automaker issued a recall for these engines, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that all affected vehicles were successfully repaired.


Transmission Failures


Ford faced significant issues with their transmission design during the early to mid-2000s.

Multiple models, including the highly popular Explorer SUV and Taurus sedan, received hundreds of complaints each year related to transmission problems.

The transmission is one of the most complex and crucial parts of a car, responsible for converting engine power into acceleration.

Repairing it could be quite expensive, but it was often necessary if you wished to continue driving your car.

Fortunately, it appears that this issue has seen significant improvements over time.


What are Ford’s Most Unreliable Models


2006 Ford Explorer


While there are numerous complaints about many Explorer models, this particular one seems to stand out with the highest number of issues.

Despite a redesign, the problems haven’t been fully resolved.

Many owners have experienced premature transmission or cooling system failures.

Additionally, there have been reports of the vehicle unexpectedly lunging forward, which can lead to accidents.

Unfortunately, these issues can also be quite expensive to repair.


Ford Flex


The Flex existed as a station wagon in a world dominated by crossovers, placing it in a somewhat polarizing position, and it was eventually discontinued in 2019.

Some people appreciated its commitment to a more traditional design philosophy, noting that its straight lines and square angles made it exceptionally practical for cargo storage.

On the other hand, there were those who favoured the sleek and aerodynamic designs of its competitors.

Regardless of one’s opinion on its design, the reliability of the Flex was only moderately satisfactory.

While not terrible, it required more repairs than any of Ford’s other consumer vehicles, averaging around 0.41 repairs per year, which falls within the industry average.

In terms of maintenance costs, it wasn’t the most expensive, but it closely rivalled the prices of the Explorer and F-150, both of which experienced fewer unexpected issues.


2017 Ford Focus


The next list begins with its predecessor, while the previous list concluded with a Focus.

This vehicle’s performance is not only lacklustre but also plagued by numerous issues that cannot be overlooked.

In addition to engine problems, the transmission presents a significant concern.

Essentially, driving a 2017 Ford Focus on the road can be hazardous.

The potential cost savings from its low price are not worth the risks it poses.


Ford Transit-150



One of Ford’s top-selling vehicles, the Transit-150 van, ranks among its least reliable models.

Typically utilized by corporate fleets, this model is also gaining popularity among individual buyers.

This is due to the van life trend fueled by social media.

However, the Transit-150 requires an average of 0.83 repairs per year.

You can anticipate spending around $972 to maintain its operational condition.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why Is Ford Unsuccessful?


Ford did not provide cars specifically tailored for the Indian market, nor did it price its vehicles competitively.

Even when Ford did offer cars at a premium price, it did not include enough features to warrant the cost, as Hyundai consistently did.

Ford neglected to adhere to the saying: “When in India, do as the Indians do.”


Is Ford trying to compete with Tesla?

Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, is taking proactive measures to compete with Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

He plans to meet with dealers with the aim of reducing the prices of Ford’s electric vehicles to make them more competitive with Tesla’s offerings.

This move underscores Ford’s commitment to staying competitive in the fiercely contested EV market.




In conclusion, while Ford offers a diverse range of vehicles with many appealing features, exceptional reliability may not be its strong suit.

The brand typically receives average ratings and can be susceptible to significant issues, despite often pricing its vehicles lower than some competitors.

Ford has seen improvements in some areas, but it still has models with a history of reliability problems, including transmission issues and power steering failures.

These issues can be costly to repair and impact the overall ownership experience.

When considering a Ford vehicle, it’s essential to research specific models and their reliability records to make an informed decision.

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