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Avoid these Ford Transit Model Years They Have the Worst Problems

When you buy a work truck or work van, reliability has to be one of the main priorities. Not only can repairs come with a high cost just to fix, but they also cost you hours on the job without your van. The Ford Transit is a very popular work truck. According to Far Out Ride, the Transit makes up 32% of all large van sales. So before buying a new worker van for your fleet, you’ll want to know––what are the Ford Transit model years with the worst problems?

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van
2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van | Ford

Engine issues for the 2016 Transit

Oof. This one is always a doozy. A look at the Ford Transit page on Car Complaints gives us some insight. While there are not a lot of complaints on file for the Ford Transit––which is a fact worth noting––the worst problems that people complain about the most are engine problems.

There are reports of the Transit’s 3.7 liter V6 abruptly losing all power. One owner says the 2016 Ford Transit just stopped going while they were driving on the highway in the pouring rain. Then, to add insult to injury, Ford roadside assistance took about 4 hours to come to pick the work van up. Plus, this Ford Transit had only clocked 1,458 miles when the issues began.

white Ford fleet vans on display
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Ford range of Light Commercial Vehicles in various bod styles including the Transit Van | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Another owner of a 2016 Ford Transit had issues with a work van that had less than 5,000 miles on the odometer. This driver experienced a similar sudden loss of power in the V6 engine. This owner sounds like they had a much better experience with Ford customer service, at least. But only weeks after the incident, another 2016 Transit had the exact same issue. Ford diagnosed the issue as “body throttle failure” and did the repairs at no cost because the work vans were still under warranty.

We are starting to see a pattern. It looks like the 2016 Ford Transit has given problems to several owners. But what other problems have been reported?

2015 Ford Transit Problems

A dive into the forums finds a thread titled “Beware of Ford Transit – Major Issues.” This owner of a 2015 Ford Transit experienced massive issues with the 2015 Ford work van and had terrible experiences with Ford customer service. In fact, he even wrote out a list of all the problems he had experienced:

Ford Transit vans lined up for sale
BERLIN, GERMANY – Ford vans stand on display for sale | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

1. rear differential completely rebuilt under warranty
2. BCM replaced twice under warranty
3. Battery replaced under warranty 
4. Seat replaced under warranty
5. Multiple extended failed diagnostic sessions to solve chronic electrical issues and failure and more in its short life.  
6. We also had to replace REAR brakes at my expense, which also makes no sense. 

DFWGREG | Truck Mount Forums

Reading through the comments, many others share polarizing opinions (“don’t buy a Ford, ever”) or say they’ve had several Ford work vans with zero issues. But then we find another 2015 Ford Transit owner that has experienced problems, too. This forum user says their van caught on fire due to electrical issues and “it is a total loss.”

Avoid the 2015 and 2016 Ford work vans

It’s easy to go back a few model years in the hope that you’ll save a few bucks for your business. But if you’re looking for a reliable work truck, you may want to look beyond the 2015 and 2016 Transits. After the long post about this particular Ford Transit, many owners said they hadn’t experienced the same issues.

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But a look another look at Car Complaints––where the 2015 model is listed as the worst Ford Transit model year––and you’ll see these experiences are actually the most common issues for the Ford Transit. I think it’s safe to say you should avoid the 2015 and 2016 Ford Transit model years because they have the most problems.