Never Buy a Used Ford Ranger From These Model Years

The Ford Ranger is an extremely hot truck. It’s perfect for someone who occasionally needs a truck to move or tow something but doesn’t want to deal with the headaches of driving a full-sized truck. Highly evolved concepts, advanced technology, and special features make newer models of the Ford Ranger even better than the classics.

While Ford Rangers are nice trucks, some model years are noticeably better than others. If you’re considering a smaller used truck, never buy a used Ford Ranger from the following model years.

1999 Ford Ranger problems

The badging on a Ford Ranger XLT model at the Serramonte Ford dealership in Colma, California
Ford Ranger badging | David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Like Edmunds, many consider the 1999 Ford Ranger to be one of the worst trucks ever produced by Ford. According to CarComplaints, there have been over 1,000 reported problems with the 1999 model. The most common complaints involve an erratic engine gauge — $3,500 to replace — windshield wipers that spontaneously turn on and problems shifting gears.

Most of the problems with the 1999 Ford Ranger didn’t become apparent until the truck reached about 100,000 miles. Then, owners began to find they were spending a lot of money on repairs. Before the problems, drivers were impressed by the vehicle’s speediness, agility, and smooth ride.

2001 Ford Ranger issues

Another year that wasn’t good for the Ford Ranger was the 2001 model year. Drivers who owned this model year have lodged a collective 724 problems and defects with CarComplaints. Many criticisms involve rough shifting and transmission failures. There are also a significant number of reported issues with the overdrive light flashing on and off.

One big concern is that many of these problems developed long before the 2001 Ford Ranger reached 100,000 miles. Since it was first released, there have been nine official recalls. Consumers Reports gives the 2001 Ford Ranger a terrible owner satisfaction score and a better but still poor score for reliability.

The 1986 model year is the best Ford Ranger

Many Ford fans believe the best Ford Ranger is the 1986 model year, such as Ranker. Only a handful of problems have been reported on CarComplaints. Those lucky enough to own a 1986 Ranger are delighted that the little truck still runs, as reported by It Still Runs.

Compared to today’s vehicles, it’s a fairly bare-bones truck, but it does have a reputation for being hard-working and reliable. The only problem is there simply aren’t many left in the world. 

The 2011 Ford Ranger is another model widely considered one of Ford’s best. Only 265 problems and defects were reported on CarComplaints. Only one passenger died while driving. Other common complaints are the occasional gear change issues when the vehicle is cold and timing chain tensioner failure. Three official recalls have involved the 2011 Ford Ranger.

It is worth noting that while Ranger fans report that the 2011 model year is one of their favorites, Consumers Reports only gave it a terrible customer satisfaction score and only an average score for reliability.

Problems with the modern 2019 Ford Ranger

Since the 2011 Ford Ranger, most modern Ranger model years have had few problems. The only mild exception is the 2019 Ford Ranger, which has more than its 2010 counterparts. Still, the 2019 model year only has 117 reported problems on CarComplaints, with most of its maintenance issues being cheap and easy to fix.

Things to consider when buying a used Ford Ranger

If you need a smaller truck, a Ford Ranger is a good choice. Just remember that buying a used vehicle comes with risks. Knowing which models of the Ford Ranger have the worst reputation lets you know that you should skip over any advertisements for 1999 and 2001 Rangers.

Take time to review problems connected to the model you’re interested in and ask to see maintenance records. It’s always a good idea to have a trusted mechanic look over the vehicle before you officially purchase it.

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