The Ford Ranger is an extremely hot truck. It’s perfect for the person who occasionally needs a truck to move or tow something, but who 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
Many consider the 1999 Ranger to be one of the worst trucks ever produced by Ford. According to CarComplaints.com, there have been 1,070 reported problems with the 1999 model. The most common complaints involve an erratic engine gauge — $3,500 to replace — as well as 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 vehicles reached about 100,000 miles. Then, owners began to find they were spending a lot of money on repairs. Prior to the problems, drivers were impressed by the vehicle’s speediness, agility, and smooth ride.
2001 Ford Ranger
Another year that wasn’t good for the Ford Ranger was 2001. Drivers who owned this model year have lodged a collective 729 problems and defects with CarComplaints.com. Many criticisms involve rough shifting and transmission failures. There are also a significant number of reported problems with the overdrive light flashing on and off.
One big concern is that many of these problems developed long before the 2001 Ranger reached 100,000 miles. Since it was first released, there have been nine official recalls. Consumers Reports gives the 2001 Ford Ranger a one out of five for owner satisfaction and three out of five for reliability.
1986 Ford Ranger: the best Ranger
Many Ford fans believe the best Ranger Ford is the 1986 model. Only a handful of problems have been reported on CarComplaints.com. Those who are lucky enough to own an ’86 Ranger are delighted that the little truck 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 247 problems and defects were reported on CarComplaints.com. Just one died while driving. The 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 one is their favorite model, Consumers Reports only gave it a one out of five for customer satisfaction and a three out of five for reliability.
Things to consider when buying a used Ford Ranger
If you’re in need of a smaller truck, a Ford Ranger is a good choice. Just remember that buying a used vehicle comes with risks. Knowing which models of Ford Rangers have the worst reputation lets you know you should skip over any advertisements for ’99s or 2001s.
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.