The Ford F-150 is, hands down, the most popular truck in the US and one of the most popular vehicles in the world overall. For many, it’s become a backbone of the working class while, for others, it’s a great-looking truck that can take them anywhere. That being said, the F-150 is not without its flaws. There are many common problems with this famous truck, some of which can be serious.
Table of Contents
- What are the most common problems that the Ford F150 gets?
- Closing thoughts
What are the most common problems that the Ford F150 gets?
The Ford F-150 is generally a very reliable truck, with some years being much better than others. Common issues that can be found in most models and years of the F150 include broken sparkplugs on the 3-valve engines, loss of power while driving, a leaking head gasket, and issues with rust.
First, we’ll look at the symptoms you might encounter. From there, we’ll explain what might be the root cause of the problems.
Broken Sparkplugs on 3-valve engines
The Triton V8 is a famous engine, but not for the right reasons. In F150s from 2004 to 2008, this V8 came with a two-piece sparkplug that Ford alleged only needed replacement every 100,000 miles. The problem is that soot could accumulate as early as 30,000 miles, and if there was no cleaning, this would jam the sparkplug.
When it was time to replace the sparkplugs, it was no use. The combination of soot and a deficient design made the plugs prone to breaking off. So, it was then a job of removing that broken part, which could end up costing thousands of dollars.
While there’s no immediate symptom of a two-piece sparkplug requiring a change, you could feel a loss of power. This might indicate that it’s time to replace the sparkplugs.
If you bought your F-150 and didn’t know whether they’ve changed the sparkplugs, it’s essential to check up on them. Whenever you have a Triton V8, you should know that it could come with expensive repair bills. In fact, this engine has such a reputation that some mechanics choose not to work with it.
Loss of power while driving
As extreme as this flaw sounds, it’s familiar, especially with the 2012 F150. The major problem with such a situation is that the driver has no power steering or assisted braking. So, if this happens at highway speeds, the chances of an accident are pretty high.
There is no single reason why F150 trucks suddenly lose power while driving. Instead, there are plenty, and we’ve summarized the most frequent and important ones.
F150 throttle body
In 2015 and 2016 F150s, it’s common to see the throttle body fail and cause the vehicle to shut off while driving. Most drivers complained that this frustrating error would disappear once the truck stopped. In addition, the problem wasn’t consistent. In fact, it was almost unpredictable.
If you run into this problem, it’s best to stop driving the vehicle and have it checked. A mechanic can scan the vehicle’s computers and pinpoint the failure. Also, when it’s a throttle body, it’s easy to replace and should have a relatively low cost compared to the possibilities if you don’t fix it.
The alternator is the most significant cause of F150s losing power while driving. This flaw applies to almost all F-150 model years, and it’s critical to understand that you don’t need to go through significant services to fix it.
The alternator tends to last a shorter time than other vehicles. When this happens, common symptoms include difficulty starting, the battery dying out, and losing power when driving.
The good thing is that the solution, replacing it, is easy and inexpensive. Plus, checking the alternator’s capacity is easy. So, if you are unsure of your alternator’s state, perform a quick check, which could save you plenty of headaches.
Engine running rough
If your engine sounds like a diesel but is a gasoline-powered power plant, then something is wrong. In F150 trucks, it’s common for the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) to accumulate carbon residue, making it sticky. Granted, not every F150 has this issue.
Instead, it’s most common to see it in the 2010 F150. This problem causes the engine to struggle to get air, and instead of running smoothly, it clatters, especially at idle.
Fortunately, the solution is relatively easy. If your F150 has around 100,000 miles (or multiples of it) and you’re not sure about its service, you can replace the MAF Sensor. In the meantime, you can use a MAF cleaning solution to further extend the life of your engine.
Head gasket leak
If your F150 is from 2009 to 2014, you might run into the following issues:
- A rough idle
- Loss of power
- Milky oil
- White smoke from the exhaust
- Coolant loss
Then you might have a head gasket leak. The F150 commonly suffers from head gasket leaks, especially from the years we mentioned above. It’s also important to clarify that all gaskets have a useful life and can deteriorate over time, so it’s not necessarily a problem that pertains only to the F150.
At the same time, if you keep driving with a blown head gasket, you might cause irreparable damage to your engine, as it might not operate at the right temperature, causing lubrication issues to the internal components.
Fortunately, the symptoms are noticeable and easy to diagnose. Moreover, the solution is actually simple if you catch it in time. A head gasket replacement is quick and shouldn’t be too expensive. So, if you have any of these symptoms, have your vehicle checked and serviced as soon as possible.
It’s a topic you never want to hear about. So you can expect rust in the F150. Moreover, against all odds, it’s becoming a trend in the latest models, as new as 2021.
As a result, it’s frequent for owners of brand-new F150s to share pictures of their underbodies with extensive rust. The most affected areas include the axles, exhaust, wheel hubs, and bed. The list is long, and the complaints have also been plenty.
The problem becomes more concerning when you consider that many drivers don’t live in the typical “Rust Belt,” which consists of the northern states, where salt is common to aid driving in snowy conditions.
As far as Ford is concerned, there have been few practical solutions. In fact, the manufacturer has replied to angry customers that the situation, while it does exist, will not affect the vehicle’s performance. This has left a bitter taste in many mouths.
Some solutions include treating the vehicle with corrosion protection, but this has to be done on your own budget as, currently, Ford hasn’t made any recalls or warranty payouts. So if you’re buying a new F150, one of the first inspections you should do is for rust. If you find any, it’s best to walk away from that specific F-150 model.
At the same time, it’s ideal for performing constant inspections to prevent it from spreading. While this is a nuisance, it’s the only way to keep it under control.
As it is the most popular truck in the US, the Ford F150 is also one that has many issues. Some of them, in fact, can be pretty severe, including loss of power, cooling issues, and rust. So, many consumers wonder what the most common problems are with this beloved truck.
In this article, we covered the most common problems with the F150, and we also provided some possible solutions you can employ to ensure that you don’t run into them. Fortunately, most do not require a large budget or complex work. However, some of them do, so performing constant maintenance checkups is ideal to ensure your truck runs smoothly.
Critical milestones include the famed 100,000-mile mark. At this point, you might run into sparkplug and head gasket issues.
If this is the case, you should service the vehicle immediately. Also, if you run into any rust, especially in newer models, know that this could also convey a lack of responsibility from Ford, which can add to the frustration.
All in all, the F150 is a popular truck that does have issues. It’s far from perfect, but it’s loved by many in the US and the world. Knowing these problems can make driving a pleasant experience instead of an unsafe and dangerous one.