If America is a truck country, then the Ford F-150 is its king. This best-selling truck has been around for decades, yet truck buyers still question if the overall cost of owning one is worth it and how expensive to maintain they are.
Ford F-150s are more expensive to maintain than similar trucks, but there are many more factors to consider. While maintenance issues plague specific model years, Ford F-150s have historically been the most popular truck for decades due to their adaptability to the market.
The rest of this article will provide additional details on how expensive to maintain F-150s are and common issues while also taking a look at why it’s still such a popular choice with consumers. I’ll also explore some of the best and worst Ford F-150 model years.
Maintenance Costs of the F-150 vs. Comparable Trucks
If you’re in the market for any truck, it’s helpful to research the maintenance costs as a starting point. Here are the estimated annual maintenance costs of the Ford F-150 and its top competitors:
|Truck Make and Model
|Estimated Annual Maintenance Cost
|GMC Sierra 1500
|Chevy Silverado 1500
|Dodge Ram 1500
As you can see, the Ford F-150 does come in at the higher end of estimated annual maintenance costs at $800.00 per year. However, any vehicle will have maintenance costs, and ultimately there are additional factors to consider when choosing which truck is right for you.
Common Maintenance Issues With the Ford F-150
It’s not surprising that a truck that’s been around as long as the F-150 would have maintenance issues over the years. According to Damaged Cars, the F-150 is notorious for maintenance problems and recalls in the following categories:
- Windows: There have been numerous complaints about F-150 windows not rolling up or falling into doors. Owners have also reported back window panes shattering. Repair and Replacement costs can be up to $800.
- Transmission: There have been safety recalls and issues with the F-150 transmission, ranging from a hard downshift to dangerous drops to first or second gear while driving. If not covered under a recall, repair costs can range from $1,000 to $2,500.
- Engine: The most common issue with the F-150 engine is bad spark plugs, but engine knocking is much more severe and costly, which occurs when fuel burns unevenly in the engine cylinders. Some F-150 owners report that this issue caused them to replace the entire engine, costing thousands.
- Brakes: Issues with brakes are common in the newer Ford F-150 models. In fact, Ford recalled the 2014-2017 model years due to brake fluid that could leak.
- Body: Many drivers love the classic exterior of the F-150, but it’s had some issues over the years. The most common problem with the F-150 body is corrosion, with many drivers reporting their truck rusting out early in the vehicle’s life.
Worst Ford F-150 Model Years
Many of the maintenance issues with the Ford F-150 are specific to certain model years. So, if you’re looking at buying used, you might want to stay away from these. Review sites, customer complaints, and recalls all indicate that the worst Ford F-150 model years are:
- Ford F-150 2004-2006: The F-150 had a losing streak for three years in a row, with these model years suffering serious engine issues.
- Ford F-150 2010: Shattered rear windows were standard with this Ford, as were issues with the power windows.
- Ford F-150 2015: This is the Ford-150 where the transmission issues mentioned earlier in this article were most prominent, with thousands of complaints about hard downshifting and unexpected gear shifting.
Best Ford F-150 Model Years
Ford has hit some home runs with the best model years of the F-150 ever built, as follows:
- Ford F-150 1993: This is the gold standard of Fords, and they are still on the road after hundreds of thousands of miles. While the ‘93 was the best, the ‘92-’96 Ford F-150s are considered collectibles.
- Ford F-150 2009: As one of the first luxury models, the ‘09 F-150 avoided some of the issues plaguing other models in the 2000s and is a much-loved “big truck” model with great towing capacity.
- Ford F-150 2018: If you’re looking at used models but still want something newer, the F-150 2018 has excellent reviews from owners and hasn’t seen a rush of safety recalls like other more recent models.
Why Is the Ford F-150 So Popular?
If you’re considering the Ford F-150, you’re not alone. The Ford F-series of trucks, including the F-150, has been the most popular truck in America for 40+ years.
Ford trucks are an American icon, and it’s still riding that wave of popularity. Ford began the F-series in 1948, and it was the first pickup to be built from scratch on a truck frame. So, Ford has had decades to perfect its signature line of trucks and remain at the top of truck buyers’ minds.
The main reason the F-150 is so popular is adaptability. Despite being around for a long time, Ford has been able to change with the times while remaining true to its brand. Examples of the F-150’s adaptability in recent years include:
- Switch to an aluminum body, which made the truck 700 pounds lighter. This resulted in greater towing capacity and fuel efficiency for the F-150.
- Modifications to the suspension, which made for a much smoother ride.
- Addition of modern conveniences like infotainment systems, higher-end interiors, as well as finger-molded handles and steering wheels.
Ford’s experience in the market has paid off and allows it to tailor the F-150 to each new generation of truck buyers.
If you’re thinking about buying an F-150 as your first vehicle, you should read my article on the topic. You’ll learn whether an F-150 is a good choice for inexperienced drivers.
The Ford F-150 has had hits and misses over the years. However, there’s a reason it’s been the best-selling truck for decades. Despite the fact that they are slightly expensive to maintain and some model years to avoid, the F-150 has a lot to offer as America’s favorite truck.
- Quora: Why is the Ford F-150 so expensive to maintain?
- Car Edge: Ford F-150 Maintenance Schedule and Costs
- The Car Connection: 2021 Ford F-150 vs. Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500
- Car and Driver: How to Buy the Pickup Truck That Fits You Perfectly
- CNBC: Pickup Trucks Dominate America’s 10 Best-selling Vehicles of 2020
- Motor Biscuit: When Did Ford Switch to Aluminum to Build F-150s?
- YouTube: Why the Ford F-150 is The Greatest Pickup Truck of All Time
- Damaged Cars: Ford F-150 Problems: What’s Wrong With America’s Most Popular Truck?
- Consumer Reports: Ford Recalls F-150 Trucks Due to Brake Concerns
- Truckomize: The 10 Best & Worst Years for the F-150 Ranked on Reliability!