The 25 Most Unreliable Fords Ever Made

There has perhaps not been as iconic of an automaker as the Ford Motor Company in the history of the automotive industry, and the company continues to be an instrumental part of vehicle production. The recent decades have been a crucial time for automotive manufacturers who've innovated in many industries and were also hit hard by the 2008 economic recession. Ford Motor Company has been innovating since the original Model T and the Mustang pony car, which ushered in a new breed of fun-to-drive vehicles that were cheap and fun to drive anywhere. The penchant for innovative vehicles has driven Ford Motor Company far past the point of success, and their models are known all around the globe.

Although the Ford Motor Company is one of the original automakers who innovated the industry, there have also been a lot of issues with the company in regards to quality as well as vehicle safety over the last few decades, and this has plagued many of their models. The Ford Pinto was infamous for an exploding rear quarter panel, which made the car notoriously unsafe to drive, and the Ford Explorer was made famous for a weakened roof design and the countless rollover accidents that have cost the company upwards of $500 million to rectify. These mishaps were major hurdles in the historic rise of the Ford Motor Company, and there have been countless success stories as well as failures in the storied lineup of vehicles.

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25 Ford Aspire

via Zomb Drive

Who could forget the little Ford Aspire, a small car that was actually designed by Kia? While the Aspire was a great idea, which provided affordable transportation to the masses and which had a blue oval on it, the reliability and build quality of this car was questionable at best. The car was so notoriously unreliable that it's even difficult to find parts for it to this day, and this has made many second-generation owners very frustrated trying to keep these egg-shaped vehicles on the road. (Car complaints)

24 Ford Bronco II

via Ford

The Ford Bronco II was a novel idea, making for a more fuel-efficient Ford Bronco for the consumer who really didn’t need a full-sized SUV.

The Ford Bronco II wasn't a bad idea, and the small SUV was actually based on the very reliable Ford Ranger, but the Ford Bronco II suffered from many problems that affected its reliability.

The main problem with owners seems to be the issue of electrical shortages, and these minor problems can be a pain to locate in an older vehicle. The four-wheel-drive system has also been known to fail and is a costly repair on the small ute for its age. (Car complaints)

23 Ford Tempo

via Auto-Database.com

Where do we get started on the Ford Tempo, a car that's been synonymous with the words "fix or repair daily"? This little car was a novel idea by Ford, as it combined a large interior with the fuel economy of a much smaller car, but the Tempo spent more time in the shop than actually on the road, and this created a headache for many consumers who purchased the car brand new. One of the two major problems for the Tempo are overheating issues and complete transmission failure, and at the age of this car, these repairs are simply not worth the trouble. (Car complaints)

22 Ford Escort

via Pinterest

Surprisingly enough, long before the Ford Focus, the Escort was one of the most popular vehicles to be sold by Ford, and it still manages to sell well in other parts of the world.

The Ford Escort was a historically unreliable car for Ford, though, with an emphasis on the engine blowing head gaskets and getting pretty bad oil leaks early on.

This makes the Escort one of the more problematic used cars that you can buy, although these odd-looking little sedans and hatchbacks can be found pretty cheap on the used car market if you need a quick pair of wheels. (Car complaints)

21 Ford Contour

via Zomb Drive

The Ford Contour was a car that never really knew its purpose when it was new, and this translated over into the used car market, too. The Ford Contour is about the same size as the Ford Escort, sans a slightly different grille and rear fascia, and there's nothing really different about the two cars. The Ford Contour also has a very faulty transmission, which has made the car one of the most expensive used vehicles to repair, and this translates into a lemon for most used car buyers who'd be better suited finding something else. (Car complaints)

20 Ford Windstar

via citycarsw.com

The minivan craze of the late eighties and early nineties was huge, and these vehicles remain a popular choice to this day. Although Ford and GM have notoriously had no luck in the minivan market, the Ford Windstar did manage to sell decently during its run, but the minivan is one of the most unreliable Fords to roll off of the assembly line. This partly has to do with a penchant for blowing head gaskets, which has to do with a faulty cooling system in these vans. This is, of course, a very costly repair, and more times than not, it's going to cost you far more to replace the engine then the van is worth. The Windstar was eventually replaced with the Freestar, and at the current time, Ford is out of the minivan business. (Car complaints)

19 Ford Explorer

Via: Car Domain

The Ford Explorer is one of the best-selling Ford vehicles to ever roll off of the assembly line, and it's with good reason. The SUV combined a good amount of interior volume with a powerful motor that made it the ideal family hauler; unfortunately, the 4.0L V6 is one of the most unreliable engines that Ford has ever designed, and the Explorer will undoubtedly spend more time in the shop than on the road. Take a look at YouTube, and you’ll see what I mean. The problem is generally confined to the third-generation Explorer models, so steer clear. (Car complaints)

18 Ford Taurus

via Wikimedia Commons

Once the crowning jewel of the family sedan market, the Ford Taurus was one of the best-selling vehicles that Ford has ever made next to the Mustang and the Explorer. Unfortunately, once the Taurus gets some mileage under its belt, the vehicle is notoriously unreliable and is a headache for owners to repair.

The main problem, as with many other Ford vehicles, centers around overheating and the head gasket failure, which can result in the entire engine having to be replaced, and many used car consumers simply don’t have the funds for that.

Transmission failure is also a common occurrence in older Taurus models, so watch out. (Car complaints)

17 Ford Ranchero

via YouTube

There was the El Camino, and then there was the Ford Ranchero, which most people don’t realize actually existed at one point. The Ford Ranchero, although a great-looking design, suffered from a very unreliable engine and transmission, which plagued the sales of the hybrid car and never really allowed the Ranchero to become the sales success that the El Camino was. Sadly, the Ford Ranchero was another sad page in the list of unreliable cars that have been released over the last few decades. (Car complaints)

16 Ford Thunderbird V6


This is perhaps a car that we've all seen for sale or broken down in someone's front yard at least once in our lives, and that's the nineties Ford Thunderbird V6, a car that really needs no introduction. This is a car that wasn’t really sure of its place during the nineties, as it was a big bulky coupe which featured a powerful V8 option that could also be found in the Mustang. The V6 version, on the other hand, was immensely underpowered and pretty unreliable when compared to the more comparable V8 version of the same car. (Car complaints)

15 Ford Bronco

via pinterest.com

The Ford Bronco is, no doubt, one of the most legendary off-road vehicles on the planet, and it's with good reason. I mean, who can argue with that hulking figure and powerful engine that pilots the Bronco with authority? Well, that is, if you can keep the thing running. The nineties Bronco is among one of the most legendary models to grace the showroom but is also one of the most problematic to keep on the road. The problems with this large SUV usually center around the electric issues as well as the four-wheel drive system, which is prone to failure under hard usage. Still, all in all, this is a great SUV. (Car complaints)

14 Ford Escape

via zombdrive.com

The Ford Escape was released at a time when the economy was good and everyone was looking for the next small SUV to drive around town.

Although this was a great little UTE with a lot of potential, these models are historically unreliable, to say the least, and in the long run, the little SUV will end up costing you more than its fair share of problems.

Head-gasket failure is a problem for these little SUVs, and another common problem has to do with the transmission failing, which can be a very expensive fix and will end up costing owners quite a substantial amount of money over the long term. (Car complaints)

13 Ford Festiva

via CarGurus.com

The Ford Festiva is a notable failure in the history of Ford vehicles and one that's become synonymous with a cheap-quality design and expensive repairs. These little cars were designed by Kia Motors much like the later Aspire was, and they were Ford's attempt at competing with the onslaught of imported vehicles that had made their way into the States. The Ford Festiva is a car that's gone down in history as one of Ford’s notorious failures and, in the long run, a car that should be avoided like the plague. (Car complaints)

12 Ford Aerostar

via 218cars.com

There have been quite a few popular cars over the last few decades, and the Ford Aerostar was one of the best-selling models for the brand at the start of the nineties. Unfortunately, the van, for the most part, was one of the most unreliable models to be released by the blue oval. The main problem with the Aerostar was the design, which placed the engine under the front of the van, making it a pain to repair and even harder to diagnose. The Aerostar was a big and roomy minivan, but it never managed to catch on as the Chrysler minivans did with the buying public. (Car complaints)

11 Ford Edsel

via imgur.com

Who can forget the Ford Edsel, the car that was notorious for engine malfunction and even more issues such as electrical failure? The Ford Edsel was a great concept for a car; unfortunately, the model, in the long run, is really not worth investing time in and was replaced by far more reliable models. The Ford Edsel was a good-looking car in many aspects, but the reliability issues just made the car a pain to own and even worse to try and resell for many owners who had purchased this car new and used. (Car complaints)

10 Ford Pinto

via rmsothebys.com

History will show that the Ford Pinto wasn't only one of the most unreliable cars on the road, but it was also one of the most dangerous.

The Ford Pinto was the brunt of an investigation that showed that the vehicle would explode if it was hit in the rear, and this made the Pinto one of the most deadly cars on the road.

During the investigation, it was found that Ford was determining if it was cheaper to fix the defect or just pay the wrongful death lawsuits, and this is one of the worst aspects of the Ford Pinto. (Car complaints)

9 Ford Mustang V6

via ConceptCarz.com

The rise of the pony cars changed the way that we think of fun-to-drive vehicles, and Ford was at the forefront of this movement with their fast and sporty Mustang model. Boasting a powerful V8 motor and a lightweight design, the Ford Mustang was a winning combination of speed and substance, but in recent decades, there has also been a V6 version, which suffered from reliability issues and a general lack of power that really didn’t suit the car in the long run. (Car complaints)

8 Ford Fusion

via auto-database.com

During the new millennium, the Ford Taurus was becoming a tired sedan and one that the general buying public wasn't going for any longer. Thus, it was time to introduce a new family sedan that infused a more modern style and features. The Ford Focus was a sales success that took the brand to new heights with interesting features such as Microsoft Sync and a fashionable exterior that made the car look much sportier for a family sedan. The Ford Fusion first generation was unreliable compared to other models, and the transmission failure can become quite expensive. (Car complaints)

7 Ford Five Hundred

Ford Five Hundred
via pinterest.com

The last of the full-size US-made sedans was the Ford Five Hundred, an interesting large sedan that combined a quality interior with a powerful V6 motor that piloted the car with authority. The Ford Five Hundred wasn't a sales success for Ford, and this is partly due to the reliability issues that follow the car, particularly with the V6 motor that came with the model. The Ford Five Hundred is a car that, for the most part, is best left avoided, as there are other full-size cars like the Toyota Avalon that are far more reliable. (Car complaints)

6 Ford Freestyle

via Car Gurus

Another forgettable Ford model was the Freestyle, a crossover vehicle that was designed to attract buyers who didn't want a large SUV and needed more space than a sedan. Although a great concept at the time, the Freestyle just didn’t offer enough features to really entice buyers, and the car was rather unreliable, which made it a pain to repair. The transmission seems to be one of the worst issues on the Freestyle, and although these cars are very cheap to purchase, the repair bills can rack up rather quickly. (Car complaints)

5 Ford F150 V6

via usedautoimports.net

The Ford F150 has been a perennial sales leader for the blue oval for decades, but there have been many issues with quite a few of the engines. The main issue that tends to plague the F150 trucks are electrical issues, which can be hard to track down and very hard to repair in the long run. The V6 model is also one of the more unreliable models to hit the market, and the truck has a short engine lifespan and can tend to be expensive to repair. Thus, the Ford F150 V6 is better left avoided in the long run. (Car complaints)

4 Ford Taurus SHO V8

via Ford Motor Company

Yes, you read the title right. At one point, there was a Ford Taurus that actually had a V8 motor crammed into it. And although this was one of the best concepts in a lightweight sedan to come out of the nineties, the engine was a notorious design failure with a Yamaha-derived valve setup that was prone to failure, so much so, in fact, that the engine was part of a major recall, and this really affected the sales of these rare cars. Either way, if you can find a Taurus SHO V8 in good condition, you're in for a fun ride but with expensive repair costs. (Car complaints)

3 Ford Freestar

via Car Domain

The Ford Freestar is the replacement for the Ford Windstar van, which had been Ford’s answer to the modern Chrysler minivans that dominated the market for most of the nineties.

Ford and GM were never really able to take on the minivan market, and there's a good reason for that because their products were just not good enough.

The Ford Freestar had common problems with the transmission failure, which were some of the most costly repairs that owners will encounter with this van model. The Ford Freestar was also sold as the Mercury Monterey, and both products weren't good sellers for Ford. (Car complaints)

2 Ford Flex EcoBoost

via Motor1

The Ford Flex was a really unique-looking car that was released at a time when the company was trying to release more interesting models, and the Ford Flex was both roomy and a pretty unique car to drive. The Ford Flex with the EcoBoost motor has been one of the more problematic vehicles for the brand, as the EcoBoost engine was just starting out when the Flex was released, and the earlier incarnations were ripe with plenty of issues that make the car a very expensive vehicle to repair in the long run. (Car complaints)

1 Ford Focus (hatchback)

via Car Domain

The original Ford Focus was a revolutionary car for the Ford Motor Company, as the vehicle really showed the world that Ford could design and release a stellar compact car. The vehicle, which was known for quality and fuel efficiency, was sold in many different body styles, including a hot-hatch SVT version, which was quite a sporty rendition. The main issues with the Ford Focus pertain to engine overheating and electrical issues, which can be an expensive proposition to replace and which means that the car can become costly in the long run. (Car complaints)

Sources: Car complaints

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