Trucks & SUVs

The Worst Model Year of Ford F-350s You Should Avoid

The Ford F-150 is currently the top-selling full-size pickup truck in the United States. It can tow up to 700 pounds more than its rivals and boasts an impressive lineup of engines. This truck is more than capable of handling most jobs, but even stronger options are available, too.

An F-350, the strongest F-series truck, can tow up to 18,000 pounds and comes with a powerful turbodiesel engine. A new one costs around $35,000, but you can find cheaper F-350s on the used market. However, many consumers have reported problems with the truck in earlier model years. Here are some of the biggest issues with the F-350.

The Ford F-350’s worst model year

The 2008 edition of the F-350 got the most complaints. The most common issue reported involves steering problems. There were many reports of accidents caused by the steering wheel seizing up with no prior notice from warning indicators. Others said they experienced very bumpy, erratic driving in general.

There were also issues with the F-350’s engine. Many reported their truck’s engine would smoke after attempting to accelerate, and some even shut down while the car was in motion. In one case, the engine caught fire. Despite the number of incidents, Ford never issued a recall for this specific problem, but the truck had nine other recalls for unrelated issues.

The Ford F-350’s transmission problems

Users also reported that the F-350 is prone to transmission problems. This issue was most common in the 2001 Lariat trims equipped with the 7.2-liter diesel engine. In most cases, the transmission seal was completely burnt up and had to be replaced. The cost to repair the transmission is up to $5,000, and many drivers had to replace it multiple times.

Engine problems and suspension issues were also prevalent in this model year. Ford issued a recall for the former issues, citing that the camshaft in the diesel engine was misplaced, which could lead to engine stalling.

Blown head gasket

Another potential issue for F-350 owners is a blown head gasket. There were many reports of this in 2004 models with the 6.0-liter diesel engine. The average cost to fix a blown head gasket is around $4,500. However, because of the extensive damage caused by the engine overheating, some drivers had to replace other parts as well.

Engine failure

Among all F-350s, engine failure is the most common trouble. It occurred in many 2008 models, but the issue continued to progress up to 2011. In most cases, the truck’s engine gave out with no warning, forcing drivers to pay as much as $10,000 out of pocket to replace it.

Additionally, the 2011 F-350s had suspension problems and the steering issues from earlier years. When driving at speeds of over 60 miles per hour, drivers experienced a jarring death wobble. No recalls were issued for this problem.

The Ford F-350’s best years

In 2013, Ford finally issued a recall for recurring engine issues. According to the report, the reason for the 6.7-liter engine’s failure was due to an exhaust sensor problem, which resulted in frequent losses of power. After this issue was addressed, complaints were much less common.

If you’re looking to buy a used F-350, anything from 2013 and beyond is usually a safe bet. The only exception is the 2017 model year because of a surge of steering problems. An almost-new 2018 F-350 has almost no complaints reported, aside from a few suspension issues and body structure inconsistencies.