It’s fast, it’s iconic, and it’s sharp-looking. It’s the Ford Mustang, and it’s beloved by many car enthusiasts. If you’re a Mustang fan on a budget or if you want a project car that you can show off, you might consider buying a secondhand one.
Several model years are relatively trouble-free and would be well worth considering. But you should do everything you can to steer clear of the 2006 Ford Mustang. It has the most owner-submitted complaints of all model years according to CarComplaints.com.
A model year with a record number of problems
The 2006 Ford Mustang holds the dubious distinction of having 715 complaints, the most overall for the model. The automotive complaints website identified 67 of the 243 problems for this model year as body and paint issues.
These issues also happen to be the worst problem category overall for all years of the Ford Mustang. The 2010 Mustang, which Car Complaints deems to be the worst model year, had these problems. And the 2007 model year had the most-reported problems of paint blistering.
Breaking down the body and paint problems for the 2006 Mustang, 25 were about the car’s paint bubbling and 18 concerned paint peeling. 18 more problems involved water leaking into the car’s interior, and six were related to rusting.
Generally, these problems were rated in severity as “pretty bad.” In the cases of paint bubbling and water leaking into the interior, owners typically spent close to $1,000 for repairs. Most body and paint problems on this car occurred on average between 50,000 and 65,000 miles except for rusting, which occurred around 30,000 miles on average.
Other types of problems reported on the 2006 Mustang included 40 electrical problems, with continual battery drain being the most common subproblem. Engine and transmission problems rang in at 32 each, 25 problems involved the fuel system, and 24 were focused on interior accessories. The remaining problem categories had much smaller numbers and were spread across a number of components and systems in the car.
What did owners say about this Ford Mustang’s problems?
Paint bubbling and peeling as well as rusting occurred mostly on the Mustang’s hood, according to owners’ comments in all three problem areas. A few owners wondered early on if the cause of the trouble was corrosion on the car’s aluminum hood.
Their suspicion was confirmed in 2015 when Ford released a technical service bulletin. It described corrosion problems on the aluminum panels of not only the Mustang but also other Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models.
Until Ford released this information, dealerships had no solid explanation for the issues and were unwilling to repair them if they were no longer under warranty. Owners were frustrated that the automaker and the dealerships offered no real recourse. Some hoped for a class action lawsuit.
Mustang owners with interior leaks were also fed up. And this problem caused by a body design flaw didn’t seem to be limited to one area of the car. Instead, owners wrote about leaks under the hood cowl, around the window seals, in the trunk, and in the passenger footwell. A few described finding puddles of liquid two or three inches deep on the floor.
Two owners worried about the mold and mildew that resulted from water pooling up inside the Mustang and whether that was unsafe. The dealerships told them that leaks weren’t considered to be a safety issue and also that clean up of the problem wasn’t covered under warranty. As with the paint problems, buyers had to pay for repairs themselves.
Other model years with fewer problems
By now you understand the reasons why the 2006 Ford Mustang is a car you should never buy. But you do have other options if you still want a used version of the original pony car. Most model years before 2004 have far fewer problems since that is the year that owners started to report serious corrosion trouble with Ford’s aluminum panels.
If you’re looking for a more recent model Mustang, the 2013 models and later are worth looking into. This model year seems to be when Ford was able to get its paint and body design issues under control. You still will want to do research on these model years, but at least you can feel more confident about buying a fantastic used Ford Mustang without paint or body problems.