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As is true of any vehicle, the Ford F-150 has been known to suffer from maintenance issues, but some model years have more problems than others. If you’re in the market for an F-150, you’ll want to keep things like reliability and repair costs in mind. What model years of the Ford F-150 should you particularly watch out for when you hit the car dealer?

2004 Ford F-150

A red 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck at a press conference during the North American International Auto Show
2004 Ford F-150 | Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images

CarComplaints has compiled maintenance and repair complaints about the Ford F-150 going back to 1977. The model year that comes out on top (or at the bottom, depending on how you look at it) is the 2004 truck, which significantly outpaces other years in terms of complaints received. The company counted well over 1,000 complaints about that model year.

The most common category of concern for the 2004 F-150 is window problems. The vast majority of these complaints involve a window that won’t roll up. 

Engine problems also rank highly on the list of maintenance and repair challenges with the 2004 model year (although at 245 complaints, this category is dwarfed by the over 600 complaints about windows). The most significant areas of concern here involve the spark plugs, which were reported to break off, as well as knocking in the engine and even engine failure.  

2005 Ford F-150

The 2005 Ford F-150 model year comes in second regarding problems and complaints submitted by consumers. CarComplaints counted over 600 complaints about the truck. 

Once again, unsurprisingly, window problems ranked high for the 2005 F-150. Many of these carryover problems were attributed to the failure of the power window regulator, an issue that was reported nearly 200 times. There were also dozens of reports of the window falling into the door. 

Engine problems were also a leading concern, with the knocking problem that ranked second in 2004 overtaking the spark plug issue for the number one spot for the 2005 model. The typical repair cost for these issues was a whopping $4,390, meaning consumers should certainly beware of the potential additional costs before purchasing one of these 2005 trucks. CarComplaints, in fact, rates the severity of these concerns as “pretty bad.” 

2018 Ford F-150

Finally, CarComplaints singles the 2018 model year out for mention as problematic not because of the number of complaints received but because of the potential cost of the issues and the fact that the problems occur at relatively low mileage. 

The worst complaint about the 2018 Ford F-150 is “shifting hard,” which can cost a whopping $7,000 to fix and tends to occur at around only 15,000 miles. No one wants to spring for a newer pickup only to face such a repair bill so quickly. Weak suspension is also reported as a problem that appears early in the truck’s life. The issue can arise at just 5,000 miles and cost the truck owner in the neighborhood of $700 to repair. 

Rounding out the top three in the worst 2018 Ford F-150 problems is a soft brake pedal, which, like the weak suspension, can show up at around 5,000 miles and cost about $800 to address. 

All in all, if you’re shopping for a used Ford F-150, you’ll want to keep the potential need for repairs in mind as you consider different model years. It’s always best to steer clear of potential lemons.

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