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Which Years Of Used Ford F-150s Are Most Reliable?

in Reliability
Red Ford F-150 in a field

Source: Pixabay

The Ford F-150 is not just America’s most popular pickup truck, but it’s been the best-selling vehicle year after year for quite some time now. The venerable F-150 has been available in the market for decades. Thanks to Ford’s dedication to updating and upgrading the F-150 for the modern automotive market, it shows no signs of slowing down. However, like all long-running vehicle models, not all Ford F-150s are created equal, as some model years are more reliable than others.

So which is the most reliable F-150 year?

If you talk to F-150 owners, many will tell you how their trucks will last forever. While that may have some truth to it, some model years were more problematic than others, thanks to many mechanical woes and recalls. Today, we take a look at the recent F-150 generations and determine which model years are worth considering buying used.

The Most Reliable Ford F-150 Years

Below are the recent F-150 generations over the years, starting with the 1998 model to the current generation.

1997-2003 Ford F-150

The 1997 model year marks a substantial change to the F-Series range of trucks and brought the tenth generation of this all-American pickup truck. This generation was also a significant departure in styling and a new chassis design underneath. In addition, the 10th generation brought the modern “F-Series” lineup that we all know and love, as Ford split the series into two vehicle families.

With that said, the 10th F-150 generation had some of the most reliable model years. Most notably, the 2003 F-150 is one of the most legendary model years, thanks to its top-notch power and performance. Up to this day, the 2003 model year remains one of the highest-rated trucks by KBB and received a “Seal of Pretty Good” award from


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Another noteworthy model year from this generation is the 2001 Ford F-150. Despite being two decades old, this model features timeless designs that still look good up to this day. Consumer Reports rated the 2001 F-150 with a reliability score of 3.0 out of 5.0 and an owner satisfaction rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. It also received the Pretty Good seal of approval from

2004-2008 Ford F-150

While the previous generation was excellent, the same can’t be said with the F-150’s eleventh generation.

This is because the 11th-gen had the 2004 F-150, which was a redesign year. Widely considered the worst F-150 model year, the 2004 version was quite the stinker. For starters, it had inconsistent performance across the board. Plus, it had significant engine woes like knocking and outright failure. CarComplaints gave it the “Avoid Like the Plague” award with over 3,000 complaints and 16 recalls – we highly recommend avoiding this one.

The 2005 Ford F-150 was a bit better, but it also had its share of severe mechanical issues. One of the most common complaints was the loud ticking noise from the motor. In addition, the 2005 F-150 had some serious transmission woes, with many reports of transmission failures. Although it’s not as much of an engineering nightmare as the previous year, the 2005 model year should be avoided.

Thankfully, the 2008 model is somewhat of a saving grace for this generation. CarComplaints gave it a “Pretty Good” rating with only 500+ complaints and one recall.


Let’s explore this vehicle’s benefits and drawbacks to understand which Ford F-150 years to avoid.

2009-2014 Ford F-150

Thankfully, the twelfth generation of the F-150 was much better with the solid addition of the 2009 year, which was a redesigned model. The 2009 version also marked the year when Ford decided to ditch the V6 option for its trucks and instead provided two more powerful V8 powertrains: 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter engines. This was also a year when Ford introduced the new Platinum trim with upscale interiors and more luxurious features.

Unfortunately, the following year was slightly problematic for Ford’s pickup. The 2010 Ford F-150 had numerous complaints about its body integrity, such as shattered rear windows and water leaks into the interior. CarComplaints gave it the “Beware of the Clunker” rating with over 1,000 complaints but only one recall.

Both the 2013 and 2014 models are also popular candidates for the most reliable F-150 year. It was made available with various engine choices like the 411 hp 6.2-liter V8 engine and a 365 hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. The 2014 F-150, in particular, received a “Pretty Good” rating from CarComplaints, with over 1,000 complaints and six recalls.


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2015-2020 Ford F-150

The 2015 F-150 is another redesign year, particularly with its aluminum body that saved 700 lbs of weight for better fuel economy with an owner-reported mileage of 18 mph—regarding reliability, the 2015 model year received a 3.0 out of 5.0 for Predicted Reliability and Owner Satisfaction as per Consumer Reports. However, keep in mind that this model had 16 recalls, which is hard to overlook.

After 2017 and later, the rest of the models for this generation are widely considered reliable and great to buy as used. Specifically, the 2018 F-150 is easily one of the best and most reliable models of pickup trucks, thanks to its high durability ratings and great mileage. The 2019 model is also a standout with excellent critics and user reviews. It’s a newer truck but received high reliability scores, so it’s worth spending a bit more on a more recent vehicle.

The 2020 is another worthy consideration with its six available engine options paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

2021-Present Ford F-150

With the current generation of the F-150, the classic pickup truck has been updated to meet the needs of modern consumers. Ford added more infotainment features, advanced safety tech, and even a new hybrid version introduced with the 2021 model year. The cabin is also noticeably more upscale than the previous generations. 

Common Ford F-150 Reliability Problems

Below are some of the most common reliability woes to watch out for when buying a used Ford F-150:

  • Transmission issues: Some Ford F-150 models have reported issues with the transmission, including hard shifts, slipping, and even complete failure. These problems can often be costly to repair and may require a full transmission replacement. A full transmission replacement may cost you up to $7,000.
  • Engine problems: The Ford F-150 has had reports of engine problems, including loss of power, stalling, and in some cases, complete engine failure. These issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including faulty sensors, defective high pressure fuel pumps, or internal engine damage.
  • Window/windshield visibility issues: The Ford F-150, particularly the 2005 model, has had numerous complaints regarding its windshield and power window devices, which significantly impact the vehicle’s visibility. Many users have reported that the power window regulator fails, causing the window to drop into the door and obstructing the driver’s view. 
  • Service brake problems: A few Ford F-150 models are notorious for their brake-related issues, posing significant safety concerns for drivers. There have been multiple instances of complete brake failure, with the pedal hitting the floor and the braking system not engaging. This loss of braking power is a massive safety risk at high speeds or in dense traffic.

FAQ: Most Reliable Used Ford F-150 Years?

Q: What years of Ford F-150 should you consider for reliability?

A: The most reliable Ford F-150 years highlighted the 2003 model from the tenth generation, and the 2001 model, which has also received positive reliability ratings. The 2008 model year is noted for its fewer complaints and recalls.

Q: Are there any Ford F-150 years that should be avoided?

A: Yes, the 2004 F-150 is widely regarded as one to avoid due to significant engine problems and a high number of recalls. The 2005 model year also had its share of issues, particularly with the engine and transmission, and is best avoided.

Q: What makes the 2003 Ford F-150 stand out in terms of reliability?

A: The 2003 F-150 is celebrated for its power and performance, receiving high ratings from KBB and a “Seal of Pretty Good” from Its enduring popularity and satisfaction among owners make it one of the most recommended used F-150s.

Q: Is the 2009-2014 generation of the F-150 reliable?

A: The 2009 model marked an improvement with a redesign and new V8 powertrains. However, the 2010 model had its share of body integrity issues. The 2013 and 2014 models are considered more reliable, offering various engine choices and better overall satisfaction.


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Overall, the current-gen F-150 remains a staple workhorse for many drivers and fleet owners. In terms of reliability, they’re lagging behind the previous generation of F-150s, but owner satisfaction ratings are generally higher, which was to be expected for this ever-popular pickup truck.

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