Are Fords Good Cars? How Good and Reliable Are They?

The Ford brand has been the absolute essence of the mainstream for many years. Take the Ford F-series, for instance. It has topped sales in 60% of U.S. states. With that in mind, are Ford cars good, and how reliable are they?

Ford does not sit high in the reliability ratings. According to a Consumer Reports poll, many Ford models, including the Fusion sedan, Mustang, and Expedition, have an average reliability rating. The 2021 Ford Edge has slightly above-average ratings. That said, Ford is still a well-known and reliable brand despite receiving average ratings.

Read on to learn more about how good and reliable Ford cars are and what common problems you may encounter in a Ford car.

Ford Reliability Guide

are fords good cars
2021 Ford Edge

While many cars today are incredibly reliable thanks to technological advancements, that does not mean they are faultless. Now, it is fair to say that Ford is one company that has experienced some reliability issues over the years.

The traditional American brand routinely scores poorly in reliability tests and outperforms its Japanese rivals. American cars often do not have the best reputation for reliability.

How Good Are Ford Cars and Trucks?

So, how good are Ford cars and trucks? Have they been able to overcome their reputation for unreliability from the 1970s? 

Consumer Reports have not been kind to Ford over the years, to put it mildly. J.D. Power and Consumer Reports often put Ford near the bottom of the reliability spectrum.

Ford may be the most well-known American brand, but its reputation for reliability is hardly unmatched. The overall reliability rating by J.D. Power is just 2 out of 5. 

This is subpar and does not represent Ford as the most reliable brand on the market. However, many of Ford’s models score pretty well in terms of reliability.

J.D. Power rates cars like the 2013 Ford Mustang and the 2009 Ford Ranger at 4 and 5 out of 5, respectively. However, some models only receive a 2 out of 5. 

Transmissions are perhaps the one dominant problem that most Ford cars have. The average repair cost for a Ford car is around $775 a year. Repair Pal gives Ford a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.

Ford Main Features

1. Safety

Ford is at the top of the game when it comes to safety. The American automaker always puts safety at the top of their priority list. They want drivers to feel as secure as they can when operating a vehicle. 

Many of their car models have received five-star and four-star overall safety ratings. They often meet the IIHS’s top safety standards.

Here are some of the features that come with a Ford, according to ford.com:

  • Cross-road warnings
  • Aware park assistance
  • Autonomous cruise control
  • back-up camera
  • Evasive steering assist

2. Performance

Ford has some of the most potent engines on the market and provides reliable performance. They are continually working to improve their system. 

Ford is an excellent option if you need to transport a heavy load from one location to another. The automaker also does a great job of using green engineering. Ford does employ a staff of engineers to guarantee that the most recent innovations are always present in the portfolio.

Look at what the company has done with electric vehicles. Some Ford electric cars can even compete with Tesla models.

Even if you buy a used model, it still includes some cutting-edge technology. 

3. Affordability

Both new and secondhand Ford cars are reasonably priced. You can be assured that several affordable deals always fit anyone’s budget.

Ford cars are some of the least expensive ones on the market. The MSRP is excellent, but the company also offers great incentives and exclusive discounts.

4. Engine

Many of the engines that Ford cars have are considered reliable. While some engines are designed for power, others are built for efficiency, with gas and diesel options. 

Moreover, Ford is a pioneer in developing electric and hybrid drivetrains.

5. Ownership Cost

Even though some Ford models can be expensive, most still have affordable prices. If you pick an affordable model, the insurance premiums will also be affordable.

Ford also makes fuel-efficient cars, which saves you money. The only drawback is how quickly their cars lose value over time.

6. Repair and Maintenance

Ford ranks poorly in terms of repairs and maintenance. The average annual repair cost is around $775.

Moreover, Ford cars require maintenance regularly. Luckily, the problems are not that severe.

How Many Miles Will a Ford Last?

Depends on Many Factors

Different factors contribute to the lifespan of a Ford car, such as:

  • Engine type,
  • Usage patterns, and
  • Regular maintenance.

Ford Diesel Engines Can Go More Than 500,000 Miles

Ford diesel engines can go more than 500,000 miles on average. On the other hand, Ford gas engines will probably require a rebuild after 200,000 miles. 

Ford Hybrid Vehicles Can Travel 200,000 Miles

However, Ford hybrid vehicles can travel 200,000 miles without giving the driver a headache. Ford diesel engines cost more than gasoline ones, but they are more effective, have more miles per gallon, and last much longer.

Driving Habits and Engine Maintenance Are Crucial Factors of Any Engine’s Durability

Your driving habits and engine maintenance are crucial factors of any engine’s durability and dependability. If you drive your Ford car responsibly and maintain it well, getting 200,000 miles (or more) from it is very easy.

Model Matters

The car model can also significantly impact how many miles you should expect. For instance, the Ford Mustang is a sports car with an engine built for extreme performance and can well travel beyond 200,000 miles.

However, a standard passenger model like the Ford Fusion cannot handle fast drives, and we can’t guarantee a similar mileage range.

If you get a Fusion model and go rough on it, it will not survive long and ultimately break down. Newer Ford models have longer lifespans overall than older ones. 

Bottom line, your Ford car could experience some issues even before you reach 150,000 miles if you do not adequately maintain it. So, the key here is regular maintenance, no matter what Ford model we are talking about.

Are Ford Cars Expensive to Maintain?

are fords good
2018 Ford Focus

Expect an Average of $775 for Yearly Maintenance

Fords undoubtedly cost more to repair than other makes and models. As a Ford owner, you should expect an average of $775 for yearly maintenance, according to RepairPal. This exceeds the overall average for all models ($652) by more than $100.

15% Chance of Severe Damage

Moreover, about 15% of Ford car issues are considered severe compared to the average 12%. This is not good news, given that expensive repairs often cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix. 

Ford Brakes Service Life

Ford car’s brakes should last between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. However, this figure may change based on your driving style and car’s mileage.

Brake Pad Warranty

An 18,000-mile Ford warranty covers brake pads; if they wear out within this time, Ford will replace them.

Additionally, the manufacturer advises having the brakes serviced every 15,000 miles. This includes brake fluid topping and routine inspection.

Ford Offers Battery Replacement

Ford will replace the batteries if they fail before their expected lifespan of eight years or 80,000 miles. However, storing your hybrid batteries in a cold environment can extend their lifespan to 100,000 miles.

“Ford Protect Premium Maintenance” Package

Moreover, the American automaker offers a prepaid alternative called the “Ford Protect Premium Maintenance” package. You have a choice of two to eight years of coverage. All of your scheduled maintenance will be covered by this Ford package.

The package includes the following:

  • Oil changes,
  • Vehicle inspections,
  • Tire alignment and spark plug replacements.

It also replaces consumables like brake pads, filters, wiper blades, and more. The average Ford vehicle’s 5-year maintenance expenditures will fall between $5500 and $8000.

Again, is Ford a reliable vehicle? According to the Consumer Reports survey, many Ford models have an average reliability score. These models include the Fusion sedan, Expedition, and Mustang. Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Edge obtained an above-average reliability score. This means that Ford is still a trustworthy brand.

Common Ford Problems to Watch Out For

Unfortunately, Ford cars do break down more frequently than those made by other automakers. So, what are some common issues you may encounter in a Ford car? Let’s take a closer look:

1. Engine Fires

No one should have to cope with a car fire, even though many cars develop minor engine problems over time. The Ford Fusion vehicles from 2013 to 2014 had the most widespread engine problems.

Even though the company recalled these engines, not all of them were necessarily fixed. But, Ford produced several models later on that addressed this very issue.

2. Faulty Spark Plugs 

Spark plugs are probably the one component in a car that should be replaced regularly. However, in some Ford cars, you will need to replace them even more often than you should.

Take Ford Explorer V8 cars as an example. They had spark plugs that would spontaneously eject from the engine, which is both bothersome and dangerous.

3. Jerking Powertrain

Some Ford models jerk and stutter uncontrollably from time to time. In most cases, the transmission and drivetrain are to blame for this.

The 2003 Ford Explorer is the model that experiences this problem the most. However, the 2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck also had similar issues.

4. Body and Rust

Ford cars rust and corrode over time, although it doesn’t seem to happen more quickly than with other brands. However, driving and taking care of your vehicle can significantly influence the corrosion rate.

For instance, expect to get rust more quickly if you drive a Ford vehicle in snowy conditions. Otherwise, the vehicle’s body should last well if you take good care of it.

Now, it is true that Ford cars are known for being rustproof in general due to the usage of aluminum in most of their vehicles. However, customers often complain about corrosion, especially with Ford Ka and Ford Focus.

The Ford Ka is a little car made specifically for city driving and often has many corrosion issues. Ford Focus is a rust bucket regarding quality, but only the sedan model. Fortunately, it only applies to earlier Ford Focus models (1998-2004).

There were also widespread reports of rust issues on the underbody component of the 2021 Ford F-150, another setback for Ford. The differentials, axles, suspension parts, and exhaust were the underbody components that had rusted.

Rusting happens over time and is especially common if you drive on salty roads throughout the winter.

Why Are Fords Being Recalled?

Over the years, Ford has experienced a fair number of recalls. It once recalled more than two million cars because of a design flaw that allowed a door to open while the vehicle was moving. Most models impacted by the recall action were issued between 2011 and 2016.

Since its founding, Ford has issued around 817 recalls for its various models, according to fordproblems.com, a website that lists recalls for Ford vehicles. With 136 recalls to date, the popular F-150 is listed on the website as Ford’s most often recalled model.

The F-150 was the most-recalled vehicle in another report based on the NHTSA data. Such occurrences usually tarnish Ford’s reputation for dependability and cause others to question its “Built Tough” slogan.

Additionally, we found that larger Ford models (SUVs and trucks) have seen more recalls than their smaller counterparts. For instance, the Focus (42 recalls) and Mustang are the two Ford vehicles with the most recalls (50).

The Taurus (61) and Explorer (74) are larger vehicles that have seen more recalls.

It is fair to say that Ford model recalls have dropped in the last couple of years. This is partly because of Ford’s usage of sturdier materials and better quality control and assessments.

Consider the Ford Escape, which saw 13 recalls in 2013 before falling to just one in 2017. Similarly, the F-150 had fewer recalls in 2018—just eight compared to a record 26.

Which Ford Is Most Reliable?

are fords good on gas
2021 Ford Mustang G.T.

1. Ford Fusion

Although production stopped after 2021, many used Ford Fusions are still available. The front and back seats of this family-friendly midsize sedan are spacious. Drivers will have a smooth ride and composed handling while operating the vehicle.

For optimum performance, go for 2019 or earlier model years. They have a V6 option available for a more potent engine.

2. 2021 Ford Mustang G.T.

The Ford Mustang G.T. is always on the list of the most reliable Ford cars, and for a good reason. This American muscle car offers a lot, whether in design or engines with lots of power. You can choose between a 480 hp 5.0 liter V8 and a basic 4-cylinder turbocharged engine.

3. Ford Shelby GT500

The Shelby GT 500 is your best performance thriller option if you want more than just the basic Mustang and if you have a lot more money. This 760 hp supercharged V8 is a beast of an acceleration machine that runs the quarter-mile in record time for entertainment.

4. Ford Edge

The engine performance of the 2021 Ford Edge has improved, leading to better acceleration and increased fuel efficiency. It gives a steady ride too.

The spacious interior and extensive list of standard safety features of the Ford Edge make this midsize SUV a solid option for families.

5. Ford Explorer 

It is a full-size SUV with a third row of seats. Although more expensive, the Explorer is a well-rounded vehicle ideal for families who need a vehicle that can go long distances.

6. Ford Focus R.S.

The Focus R.S. has always been the champ in the hot hatchback market. The Focus R.S. is a speed demon with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, producing 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque under its hood.

The Focus R.S. is a delight to drive, especially considering its crisp handling qualities.

7. Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition SUV has two or three rows of seating to accommodate the family. The spacious cargo hold of this full-size SUV has plenty of storage for everyone’s belongings.

Whatever the adventure, the Expedition gives plenty of power and has a more than sufficient towing capability of close to 6,000 pounds, allowing you to bring the camper or boat. It also has good fuel efficiency for its class.

8. Ford Escape

The Escape is Ford’s best-selling family vehicle. The design elements of this crossover, both inside and out, attract customers the most.

There are four alternative powertrains available:

  • 1.5 liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine with 181 horsepower;
  • 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower; an optional hybrid; and
  • A plug-in hybrid.

9. Mustang Mach E

The Mustang has a 75.7 kWh battery or a 98.8 kWh battery pack. It has two mounted electric motors, either on the axles or the back axle. The Mustang Mach E has a range of 305 miles.

Conclusion – Are Fords Good Cars?

It is always important to know the car manufacturer you are buying from. So, do Fords make good cars? In short, yes. This company is the one for you if you enjoy powerful, inexpensive outdoor vehicles. The car should last well, but there may be technical issues.

Ford had some reliability issues over the years, with models like the Fusion, Mustang, and Expedition getting average ratings.

Despite all this, Ford is still a reputable and well-known brand that has established itself over the years. If you decide to buy a Ford, you won’t be sorry. They have had plenty of time to build their brand.