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The Ford F-150 Is the Most Recalled Ford Vehicle in History

Ford has been known for its best-selling vehicles for years. Alongside Chevrolet, it’s one of the most iconic American brands. The automaker sells millions of vehicles each year but also issues tons of recalls, too. Ford’s most popular vehicle, the F-150, may be involved in the most recalls of all.

The F-150 is Ford’s most recalled vehicle

Experts at Ford Problems gathered data from CarComplaints.com and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find out which Ford vehicle has had the most recalls. Since recalls can involve multiple model years, Ford Problems only counted each time a model was “involved in a specific campaign.”

When compared to Ford’s smaller cars and crossovers, the data shows the automaker’s truck lineup has had more recalls. According to Ford Problems, the Ranger has racked up 67 total recalls, while the F-350 has had 68. The F-250 has a less-impressive 98 recalls. But Ford’s most popular pickup, the F-150, has the highest recall total of them all at 136.

When The Drive compared the number of recalls in pickups across the truck market as a whole in 2018-19, the F-150 didn’t rank the best either. Not only is the F-150 Ford’s most-recalled vehicle, but it’s also the most recalled pickup of 2018 and the third-most-recalled of 2019 (so far).

Since 1990, the Ford F-150 has been involved in more recalls than any other vehicle but it has also sold more. Does this mean these high recall numbers are proportionate?

The Ford F-150’s history of recalls

What is arguably more interesting about the data is the breakdown of recall-involvements per model year. Some F-150 model years have only been involved in one or two specific recalls, like 2010, 1986, 2013, and 2008 model years.

But other Ford F-150 model years have not fared so well, being involved in a myriad of recalls. According to the F-150 recall research done by Ford Problems, these are the F-150 models with the most recalls:

  • 1997: 26 recalls
  • 2001: 20 recalls
  • 2000: 18 recalls
  • 1999: 18 recalls
  • 1998: 18 recalls

With the highest amount of recalls, the 1997 Ford F-150 has been involved in 26, issued from the NHTSA. These recalls involve a variety of problems with the F-150’s lights, as well as the fuel system, electrical system, engine, steering, and wheels.

According to Ford Problems, some of these recalls affected millions of 1997 models. But the 1997 F-150 obviously isn’t the only model year to be involved in a recall. It seems most recalls revolve around the fuel system, transmission, lights, and electrical. But there are also recalls involving visibility, airbags/seat belts, and brakes.

Is there a positive side to recalls?

Some recalls are forced by the NHTSA, while others are voluntarily issued by the automaker, according to Cars.com. While a multitude of recalls on a specific model year certainly speak to a vehicle’s reliability and dependability, recalls can help automakers maintain brand loyalty and consumer satisfaction.

After all, when an automaker issues a recall, especially voluntarily, it means the brand is willing to take responsibility for the problem and fix it. It is in an automaker’s best interest to keep consumers satisfied with purchases, in order to ensure they stay brand-specific customers.

It’s important to remember that recalls, in general, are at an astronomical high. According to Consumer Reports, a “harsh spotlight” has been placed on safety expectations for vehicles in recent decades. It’s also become easier than ever in today’s world, for consumers to complain or report a problem.

Although there have been more recalls issued in recent years than ever before, today’s vehicles are also safer than ever.