These Are The Ford Ranger Years to Avoid and Ranger Problems

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a pickup truck that’s reliable and has stood the test of time?

Look no further than the Ford Ranger – a popular choice for decades. But before you make your purchase, it’s important to know that not all Ranger model years are created equal.

Don’t worry, though – by doing your research and avoiding these problematic years, you can ensure that you’re getting the quality, best years for Ford Ranger truck for your hard-earned money.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning and find the Ford Ranger that suits your needs and budget.

Ford Ranger years to avoid

Worst Ford Ranger Years

1998-2001 Models

During the late 90s and early 2000s, some Ford Ranger models faced issues that you might want to consider before purchasing one from these years.

Specifically, the years 1999 and 2001 have been noted as ones to avoid. The 1999 Ford Ranger suffered from problems like transmission failure, which often led to costly repairs.

In the 2001 model, similar transmission issues were also encountered, with an average repair cost of around $1,800. Be cautious when looking at Ford Rangers from this period.

2004-2009 Models

Although the Ford Ranger improved during the mid-2000s, certain models still exhibited some issues.

For example, the 2008 Ford Ranger received complaints regarding transmission problems, engine cooling system defects, and timing chain failures.

Such problems could lead to expensive repair bills and decreased vehicle reliability.

During this period, specifically between 2000-2006, the Ranger experienced some problematic years, with various reported issues from industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, and consumer feedback.

2020-2022 Models

Although newer Ford Ranger models tend to have better overall quality, there are still some concerns that you should be aware of.

The 2019 Ford Ranger has been identified as another year to avoid due to reported issues with the transmission, engine, and powertrain.

However, the 2022 Ford Ranger has received positive reviews and is considered a good choice for those interested in the latest models.

Common Problems

Engine Issues

One problem you might face with certain Ford Ranger models is engine misfire, particularly in models from 2004 to 2006.

This issue can lead to power loss, slight tremors, and stalls. Ford released the TSB 05-26-3, noting that the problems were due to exhaust valve seat recession.

Transmission Problems

Fifth-generation Ford Rangers, especially the 1999 and 2001 models, are notorious for experiencing transmission issues.

Some reported problems include surging or jerking forward when trying to come to a stop, delayed shifting, hard shifts, and the vehicle lugging when driving up inclines.

Additionally, owners of the 2001 and 2002 Rangers complained about O/D lights flashing, transmission failure, and rough shifting.

Suspension and Steering Issues

Moving on to suspension and steering issues, some Ford Rangers have encountered problems with their suspension systems.

Although not as widespread as engine and transmission challenges, it’s essential to consider any potential suspension and steering issues when evaluating the overall reliability of a Ford Ranger.

Electrical System Issues

Lastly, some Ford Ranger owners have faced electrical system problems. The 2003 Ford Ranger, in particular, experienced issues such as loose wheel bearings, loss of acceleration, and shifting problems related to the electrical system.

Performance and Quality

Throughout the Ford Ranger’s history, there have been a few model years that stand out as having more issues than others.

As you look for a Ford Ranger to buy, it’s crucial to be aware of these years to ensure you’re choosing a reliable and safe vehicle.

One of the most problematic Ford Ranger years is 1999. This model year experienced significant engine, wheel, brakes, and electrical problems. NHTSA records show that the 1999 edition was unreliable and potentially even more problematic now than it was back then.

In addition to 1999, the 2001-2004 and 2008 models have been reported to have more issues than other years. Among the problems encountered, some key areas include:

  • Brakes: In particular, the 1999 model had significant brake issues. Ensuring that the brakes are in good condition is vital for your safety on the road.
  • Engine Misfire: The 2004 to 2006 Ranger models have been reported to experience engine misfires, resulting in power loss, tremors, and stalling. Ford addressed these issues with the TSB 05-26-3, indicating that the problems were due to the exhaust valve seat recession.

When searching for a Ford Ranger, prioritize performance and comfort. Opt for the model years reported to have fewer complaints and better reliability, such as the 1998, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2020, 2021, and 2022 models.

These years are known to offer better power, comfort, safety, and overall performance.

Best Ford Ranger Years

As a Ford Ranger enthusiast, it’s important to know the best years of this popular model. Some standout years are identified through industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

One of the best Ford Ranger years is the 2022 model. This latest version comes with updated features and enhanced performance capabilities, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Another reliable year is the 2021 model, which received strong ratings in various safety categories and boasted respectable fuel efficiency. This model continues the Ranger’s legacy as a well-built, dependable midsize truck.

The 2010 model is also among the best Rangers. Owners find it to be a sturdy and long-lasting vehicle, excelling in areas like towing, hauling, and off-roading.

Similarly, the 2009 and 1998 models are also highly praised by consumers. Their durability and performance help them stand out as some of the top-ranking Ford Rangers.

Choosing a Used Truck

This section will guide you through the key aspects of choosing a reliable used truck.

Safety Features

Safety should be your top priority when selecting a used truck. The Ford Ranger has a history of strong safety features, but some model years are better than others.

For instance, the 2022, 2021, and 2020 models offer reliable safety features, while the 1999 model is considered one of the worst.

Be sure to examine the safety features of the specific truck you are considering and check for recalls or common issues.

Resale Value

The resale value of a used Ford Ranger can vary depending on the model year and the truck’s condition. To ensure a good investment, try to find a Ranger with a solid resale value.

According to industry reviews and consumer feedback, models from 2007, 2009, and 2010 have shown to retain their value well. Keep this in mind when browsing different trucks.

Comfort and Space

Your comfort should not be overlooked when choosing a used truck. Some Ford Ranger models offer more space and better ergonomics than others.

The fourth-generation Rangers, for example, provide a towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds and legitimate off-road capabilities.

Make sure to check the interior space, seat comfort, and storage options to ensure the truck meets your needs.

Remember, when selecting a used Ford Ranger, it’s essential to consider safety features, resale value, and comfort and space.

Take your time while browsing different trucks, and don’t hesitate to ask the seller questions about the truck’s history.

Ford Ranger Competitors

GMC Canyon

The GMC Canyon is a worthy competitor in the midsize pickup truck segment. This truck offers several engine options, including a gas V6 and a turbodiesel.

One key problem with the Canyon is its lower fuel efficiency when compared to some rivals like the Ford Ranger.

However, the Canyon offers upscale interior and a smooth ride, which makes it a good option for you if you need a comfortable daily driver.

Ford Maverick

Ford’s latest addition to the small pickup segment, the Maverick, offers a compact yet capable truck that brings hybrid technology to the table.

While the Maverick is smaller than the Ranger and may not match its towing and payload capabilities, it’s highly fuel-efficient and has a lower starting price. It’s an appealing option for those looking for an affordable and fuel-efficient truck.

Chevy Colorado

The Chevy Colorado provides strong engine options, including an available diesel engine, which sets it apart from the Ford Ranger. See our comprehensive most reliable Colorado models.

One key problem with the Colorado, however, is its lower reliability ratings compared to some of its competitors.

Despite that, its off-road capabilities can be impressive, especially with the ZR2 trim, making it a solid contender for your off-road adventures.

Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma is known for its reliability and ruggedness. With the TRD Pro trim, it excels in off-road performance.

However, Tacoma’s major issue is the cramped interior, especially in the rear seats. But still, if you prioritize long-term dependability and off-road prowess, the Tacoma best model years could be a great pick for you.

Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier has recently been redesigned, providing a more modern and competitive option in the midsize truck market.

Equipped with a standard V6 engine, it offers good towing and payload capacities, however we advice you avoid investing in 2005, 2006 years with radiator systems.

However, its fuel efficiency is not as competitive as Ford Ranger’s. Nevertheless, the new Frontier brings a refreshed design and respectable capabilities that make the Frontier an option worth considering.


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