Avoid Ford F-150 Pickups From These Years: Here’s Why

There are certain years of Ford F-150 truck production that are better than others. They’re all pre-2018 models, partly due to Ford getting its F-150 act together, and partially because they’re newer, so there are fewer miles accrued. Recently, the newer F-150s have come under the microscope over reliability issues, but not enough information is available yet to determine where they stand. Right now, the newer F-150s look to be more reliable than the ones we present here.

2004 to 2006 F-150 issues

These used pickup trucks under $10,000 include the Ford F-150
A 2006 Ford F-150 | Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The reasons for these years of F-150 trucks, especially the 2004 and 2005 years, fall under four categories, gas tank straps, airbags, spark plugs, and power windows. Gas tank straps were a common problem, as they quickly rusted causing the gas tanks to detach. 

Spark plug failures were a result of bad cylinder head designs. It was especially prevalent in the 5.4-liter V8, 6.0-liter V8, and 6.8-liter V10. And the window issues were that the window control malfunctioned, or the window wouldn’t work at all. 

The problem with these issues is that these trucks are long out of warranty. So while something like a window operation issue is minor, all of this costs money or a DIYer’s time. So the best suggestion is to just pass on these three years of F-150.

2010 F-150 issues

Blue 2009 Ford F-150
Blue 2010 Ford F-150 | Ford

The 2010 F-150 was plagued with more spark plug issues, touchscreen failure, and transmission issues. Failures and misfires partially due to inferior coils being too much for spark plugs. The May Ford Touch Screen technology was in its infancy, with lots of bugs including slow response, and numerous backup camera issues.

Transmissions failed regularly, even low mileage ones. Ford was having issues with its automatic transmission throughout this era, but 2010 was when the real issues coalesced. Pass on 2010 F-150.

2015 to 2017 F-150 issues

2015 Ford F-150
2015 Ford F-150 pickup | Ford

Why You Should Avoid This Used Ford F-150

These years of F-150s sold well, with plenty of happy owners. But there was a myriad of problems for these three years. Brake issues are the big one, with sudden failure experienced by numerous drivers.

Owners said that master cylinders had to be replaced after the brakes stopped working, according to copilotsearch. Within minutes of a “Low Brake Fluid” dash warning, the trucks had no brakes.  

There were also serious issues with both the engine and transmission failures. The shifting problems, in many instances, happened while towing 5,000 lbs or more. But the towing capacity is 10,000 lbs, so shifting problems occurred way below the maximum load. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received many complaints of fairly new F-150s with engine stalls. 

RepairPal gives the F-150  reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. It ranks the F-150 seventh out of 17 full-size trucks. Though better than average ratings of 3.0, it points out that when repairs are needed, they tend to be “severe.” That means a major repair is necessary, though it says most of these incidents are infrequent. 

Again, the Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., and there are millions of owners happy with their purchases. But reliability seems to ebb and flow when it comes to the F-150.