Like the vast majority of trucks on the market, the Ford Ranger has its fair share of production years that didn’t go over so well with the general public. The truck has been produced for over three decades now.
Compared to other Ford trucks, the Ranger ranks highly in terms of recognition and reliability. However, while there have been many great years for the Ranger, there are a few that stick out as being less than stellar. There have definitely been some trying times for the Ranger.
So, what years of Ford Ranger should you avoid? We answer this question and more below as we discuss four different Ford Ranger year models and the problems you may encounter while owning them.
1999 Model Year Ford Ranger (3rd Generation)
The 1999 Ford Ranger (3rd Generation) is the first model on our list of Ford Ranger years to avoid. There have been several complaints and recalls lodged against Ford for various issues concerning this model year Ranger.
Common problems include faulty engine gauges, transmissions, rusting frames, and brake problems. These issues were so bad that this truck faced that it’s often regarded as the worst truck Ford’s ever produced.
In fact, there are more than 800 complaints reported for the ’99 Ranger on the NHTSA website, many of which didn’t become evident until several years into the truck’s life.
Moreover, numerous recalls for various components were announced by the automaker between 1999 and 2009. These involved issues with lighting, the fuel system, speed control, transmission, and other nagging problems. Some of these problems were never actually fixed, although Ford did try to improve the truck with various updates over the years.
So if you’re looking for a reliable truck, you should probably avoid the 1999 Ranger like the plague.
2000 Model Year Ford Ranger (3rd Generation)
The Ranger was involved in a lawsuit filed claiming that the truck (along with the F-150) was part of alleged manipulative marketing practices by Ford. Namely, the claim that these trucks were fuel efficient and would save money at the pump.
This class-action lawsuit began in 2019, with Ford being sued for more than $1.2 billion. The problem? The truck’s fuel economy was allegedly overstated by as much as 821 mpg over the life of the vehicle.
In addition to the lawsuit, many drivers have claimed that their trucks have lost power while driving and that the brakes have failed completely without warning.
There have also been reports of the Ranger’s transmission slipping out of gear. This can result in wild revs and loss of control. Problems such as these can be incredibly dangerous for drivers and passengers and can lead to serious accidents.
2001 Model Year Ford Ranger (3rd Generation)
The 2001 Ford Ranger is known to suffer from the Ranger’s engine and transmission problems. These problems are expounded on later in the piece.
It’s also known to have other issues, including rough shifting, faulty odometer lighting, problems with the body and paint, and errors with the fuel system. There are more than 700 complaints for this model year.
Recalls affecting nearly 1.5 million 2001 Ford Rangers were issued for potential issues involving seatbelts and hoods. Seatbelts can suddenly unbuckle. Hoods can get stuck and won’t close or open due to faulty hinges and hardware.
The 2001 model year of the Ranger had also been involved in lawsuits. Ford was sued in 2008 for an alleged rollover defect that resulted in the death of a passenger following an accident in 2006.
2019 Model Year Ford Ranger (4th Generation)
Numerous problems have plagued the 2019 Ford Ranger since its release. Some of the most common issues include blown door speakers, faulty rear doors, malfunctioning powertrains, and problems with the brake. In addition, many customers have complained about loud wind noise while driving.
So far, Ford’s been hit with a fuel economy lawsuit that claims the vehicle manufacturer was deceptive in its advertising practices. With this lawsuit and the other 127 active complaints that have been made against the 2019 Ranger, it’s clear that it’s not living up to expectations and that Ford needs to do better in terms of quality control.
These issues are particularly disappointing since vehicles with this model year are still under five years old and shouldn’t be having major issues yet.
Now that you know the Ford Ranger years to avoid, let’s take a closer look at some of the issues that have plagued the truck over the years.
So, what is the common problem of Ford Ranger? As it turns out, Ford Ranger reliability stumbles right out of the gate with its transmission. This can manifest in a few different ways but often results in jerky shifting, vibrations, and overall poor performance.
Of course, these problems can be caused by numerous things, so it’s best to get your Ranger checked out by a qualified mechanic if you notice any of these issues. However, if you’re looking to avoid transmission problems altogether, it’s best to steer clear of Ford Rangers from the years mentioned in this list.
Uncomfortable vibration while driving is yet another problem that has been linked to the Ford Ranger. This is often caused by an issue with the engine or transmission mounts and can be quite dangerous if left unchecked.
If you feel any such symptoms, it’s best to have your Ranger examined by a professional mechanic if you experience any uncomfortable vibrations while driving.
The Ford Ranger’s history shows that another common problem reported by drivers is engine misfires and stalling. This is often caused by fuel injector issues, and it can be a real pain to deal with.
They can get clogged and cause issues such as difficulty starting, rough idling, and poor fuel economy. Your engine can also stall. Sometimes, faulty injectors can also leak resulting in oil dilution due to fuel mixing with your engine oil. You can also experience the smell of fuel in the cabin.
If you’re thinking about buying a used Ford Ranger, make sure to have it checked out by a mechanic before making the purchase. They’ll be able to tell you if the engine is in good shape or if there are any issues like those mentioned above that need to be addressed.
Exhaust System Faults
Lastly, the Ford Ranger’s exhaust system is known to have a few faults. Firstly, the catalytic converter can fail and cause the engine to run roughly. Secondly, there can be issues with the turbocharger, which can lead to a loss of power.
In addition, vacuum hoses can leak, causing all sorts of strange engine noises. Not only can this be annoying while you’re driving, but it can also be expensive to fix.
As you’ll quickly learn reading over Ford Ranger reviews from various sources, exhaust system faults are a common thread. Fortunately, many newer models are less likely to have these common Ford Ranger problems.
Consider These Years Instead
It’s true that the Ranger has its share of problems, especially in certain model years. But that doesn’t mean you should write it off entirely. In fact, there are plenty of great Rangers out there, especially if you know which Ford Ranger years to avoid.
So, what year of the Ford Ranger is the most reliable? There are several, actually. The Ranger’s 1986 model year is often considered to be the best. It’s rudimentary but quite reliable and it’s considered an old school classic these days. 2010 and 2011 are also good years to buy, as they introduced several improvements over previous Ford Ranger models. With their age, you can definitely score a deal for these model years. More recently, Ford’s 2020 model year Ranger has so far proven to be quite good.
So if you’re looking for a quality Ranger that you can trust to invest your money in, these are all great years to consider.