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You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a used Ford car or truck that will just break down on you in a year. Most buyers judge a car is by its mileage, but you know that evaluating wear isn’t always as simple as looking at the odometer. You also need to factor in the model’s reputation and how well it has been maintained. But here are some general guidelines for when a Ford is considered “high mileage.”

How long do Ford vehicles typically last?

There was once a time when a vehicle’s engine wouldn’t last 100k miles before needing a rebuild, and automatic transmissions were money pits. But most modern vehicles’ powertrains are engineered to last 200k miles, and Fords are no exception. But by 200k miles, you’ll have fixed or replaced every other aspect of your vehicle (brakes, suspension components, etc.) multiple times.

Ford logos on the grilles of two pickup trucks
Ford pickup trucks | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Note that full-frame trucks and SUVs will typically last longer than cars and crossovers that use “unibody” construction. But when you must repair these large, heavy-duty vehicles, you’re looking at a higher bill.

A Ford Expedition can easily surpass 200,000 miles, and a Ford F-150 could blow past the 200,000-mile mark. Other full-frame Fords include the Ranger and the Bronco. Note that the Maverick and Bronco Sport are not full-frame vehicles. Obviously, the use the vehicle has been subjected to will affect its longevity. But more on that later.

There is no official definition of “high mileage.” Most sellers refer to a 150,000+ mile vehicle built within the past year as “high mileage.” An older vehicle with the same mileage may not be labeled “high mileage,” it might just be labeled as an antique. Obviously, it will need as much or more repair than the newer model year vehicle.

How many miles will a Ford go before malfunctioning?

Even though a new Ford’s powertrain is engineered to last 100k+ miles, there are a ton of maintenance intervals before then. If you start skipping maintenance, you’ll have problems soon. If you are plowing or towing with a Ford truck or SUV, you want to maintain it as if it has twice the mileage shown on its odometer.

This is Henry Cesari's black 1988 Ford F-150 in a parking lot with its hood up for repairs it's an example of an 80s and 90s truck.
1988 Ford F-150 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

Not every F-150 is going strong at 250,000 miles–or even 100,000 miles. Steer clear if a vehicle has been used for heavy towing or plowing, spent a decade on salt-covered northern roads, or even done a ton of stop-and-go driving, because it will wear out much more quickly. But even a gently-driven vehicle will almost certainly become more expensive to maintain each year after 150,000 miles.

One handy piece of knowledge is how many miles your Ford’s original factory warranty lasted. If the automaker offered a complimentary 150k warranty, they were pretty confident this Ford powertrain would last into this high mileage. Even if you are years out of warranty, it can be a helpful data point. So go Google your Ford.

Though a Ford vehicle can last a long time, the brand doesn’t have the longest-lasting vehicles out there. For example, Toyota vehicles typically last well past 200,000 miles, and some even reach 300,000. Honda is another brand that makes long-lasting vehicles, with the Pilot surpassing 200,000 miles and sometimes even 300,000.

Are Ford vehicles costly to fix?

The bad news is that Fords tend to cost more to fix than their competitors. The good news is that they break down less often.

A 1988 Ford F-150 sitting on a lift in a garage.
1988 Ford F-150 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

It’s difficult to generalize how durable a brand’s entire lineup is. But here we go: the RepairPal website collects vehicle owner repair data. It ranks repairs by the severity of the malfunction, amount of downtime, and total bill. The Ford Motor Company ranked 21st out of 32 car brands for the reliability of its entire lineup. It earned 3.5/5 stars, which puts it above average.

Most problems Fords experience won’t leave you stranded. The average Ford vehicle is in the shop 0.3 times in a given year. The average Ford repair bill is $775. Again, these numbers are going to vary wildly between a heavy-duty F-350 and a Ford Fiesta.

A word about the Ford F-150/Expedition drivetrain. This chassis needs fewer repairs than almost any other full-size SUV/truck. But when it does break down, you’re looking at a higher average repair bill than almost any other truck.

Whether you buy an Expedition or a Mustang, the most important factor in how long your Ford vehicle will last is regular maintenance. All vehicles need it, and if you never change the oil or service the suspension, don’t expect your vehicle to last very long. If you take care of your Ford, it could surpass 200,000 miles. Alternatively, if you don’t drive many miles on it, you may still have a 1968 Shelby Mustang that still runs like a dream. If so, I’m jealous.

Next, find out what is considered high mileage for a Ford F-250 or see for yourself whether a naturally-aspirated or turbocharged Ford engine is more reliable in the video below:

Find out the best way to get your Ford truck to 300,000 miles in this final video:

Editor’s note: Victoria Brase contributed to this article.