Discover the Worst Used Lincoln Navigator Years to Avoid

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you seeking a luxury SUV that exudes class and comfort? Look no further than the Lincoln Navigator.

However, it’s crucial to do your homework and identify the years that might need to live up to the high expectations associated with this luxury SUV.

But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered as we’ll reveal the Lincoln Navigator years that have been known to cause issues for owners and how you can make a more informed decision in your search for the perfect SUV.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in and find the perfect SUV car for you.

Navigator Years to Avoid

Here’s a breakdown of the worst years for the Lincoln Navigator, so you can make an informed decision when purchasing one.

1998-2002 Models

The first generation of Lincoln Navigators (1998-2002) had a fair share of problems.

While the 1998 model didn’t have many reported issues, the number of complaints rose significantly in 1999 with 265 complaints and remained relatively high through 2000 and 2001 with 173 and 128 complaints, respectively.

Although the 2002 model had a significant drop to 90 complaints, it’s still worth exercising caution if considering one of these vehicles.

2003 Lincoln Navigator

The 2003 model year is considered the worst among all the Navigator models. This year had the most reported issues and should be avoided if possible.

Some common problems with the 2003 Navigator include air suspension failures, transmission issues, and various electrical problems.

2004 Model

The 2004 Lincoln Navigator, although less problematic than the 2003, still had its fair share of reported issues.

Similar to the 2003 model, it experienced transmission problems and air suspension failures. It’s advisable to be cautious when considering this year as well.

2015-2017 Models

Although the newer Lincoln Navigator models are generally considered more reliable, the 2015, 2016, and 2017 models have been reported to be more problematic than other years.

Some common issues in these models include powertrain problems and glitches in the infotainment system.

Common Complaints

Air Suspension Problems

One common complaint with specific Lincoln Navigator models is air suspension problems. The second-gen models experience more issues compared to the third-generation.

Fortunately, these concerns were addressed when the 2009 to 2014 models were produced.

You might notice some irregularities in ride height, rougher ride, or even hear some air escaping. It’s essential to have the suspension system checked by a professional for any signs of wear or damage.

Transmission Issues

Another issue you may encounter is transmission-related problems, which can lead to delayed or rough gear shifting. Although not as common as air suspension issues, they can cause inconveniences for Lincoln Navigator owners.

As with any other vehicle, it’s crucial to maintain your transmission system appropriately to avoid unnecessary repairs and expenses.

Leaking Oil

Leaking oil is never a good sign and can lead to more severe engine issues if not caught early.

Some Lincoln Navigator models have reported oil leaks, specifically those from the 2004 model year.

It’s vital to check your vehicle regularly for any signs of oil leakage and address it promptly to avoid potential damage to other components.

EGR System

The EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system is another aspect of the Lincoln Navigator that has seen its fair share of complaints.

If your vehicle’s EGR system starts to experience failures or technical issues, it can lead to engine overheating or reduced performance.

Look for any warning signs, and don’t hesitate to consult a professional mechanic when necessary.

RELATED: A smaller premium Lincoln model is the Nautilus SUV. Here is full info about the Lincoln Nautilus problems – some are the same as Navigators, and others are unique!

Recalls and Safety Concerns

Defective Fuel System

One safety concern owners of older Lincoln Navigators should know is the potential for defective fuel systems in specific model years.

There have been incidents involving fuel leakage, leading to a fire risk. It’s essential to check if your Lincoln Navigator is affected by any related recalls and take the necessary actions to address this issue.

Lack of Amber Side Reflectors

Another problem with some Lincoln Navigators is the need for more amber side reflectors in specific model years.

These reflectors are crucial in increasing vehicle visibility to other drivers, particularly during nighttime or in low-light conditions.

Ensure your Navigator complies with federal motor vehicle safety standards and has the appropriate reflectors installed. If not, consult your dealership or a mechanic to have them added.

Brake System Issues

Brake system issues have been another concern in specific Lincoln Navigator model years. Some owners have reported problems with the anti-lock braking system (ABS), which can affect the vehicle’s stopping ability.

Ensuring that your Navigator’s brakes are in good working order and any ABS concerns are addressed promptly is critical.

Keep an eye on recall information and technical service bulletins (TSB) related to your vehicle’s braking system to help prevent potential issues.

Comparisons and Alternatives

We will focus on 2003–2006 and 2007-2017, analyzing critical aspects such as efficiency and innovation.

Lincoln Navigator vs. Cadillac Escalade

When considering luxury SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade has always been a fierce competitor to the Lincoln Navigator.

Each model has its strengths and weaknesses, so it is essential to evaluate them based on your specific needs and preferences.


In terms of performance, the Cadillac Escalade offers more horsepower, leading to faster acceleration than the Lincoln Navigator.

In the 2003-2006 models, the Escalade came equipped with a 6.0-liter V8 engine producing 345 to 403 horsepower, while the Navigator had a 5.4-liter V8 engine with 300 to 310 horsepower.

However, later models of the Lincoln Navigator from 2007-2017 have closed this gap, offering improved performance.


Fuel efficiency is an essential factor for many car buyers, and in this area, the Lincoln Navigator tends to outperform the Cadillac Escalade.

The Navigator traditionally offers better gas mileage, allowing you to save some money in the long run. This advantage applies to the 2003-2006 and 2007-2017 models.


Reliability is a significant factor when investing in a luxury car, and, unfortunately, both the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have had their fair share of issues.

For the Navigator, the 2003 model is the one to avoid due to frequent problems.

Meanwhile, the Escalade, years 2007-2014, had several reliability concerns, including faulty air suspension systems and electronic issues.

Interior and Features

Inside the cabin, the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade offer spacious seating and luxurious materials.

The Escalade provides a more premium feel owing to its refined design and quality materials.

Both SUVs, however, come with plenty of innovative features, such as advanced infotainment systems, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and safety technology.

Maintenance and Care

Air Filters and Oil-Coated Elements

Proper care of your Lincoln Navigator involves regularly checking and maintaining its air filters, as they ensure optimal engine performance.

A clean air filter helps maintain fuel efficiency, reduces harmful emissions, and prevents engine wear.

Under usual driving conditions, you should replace your vehicle’s air filter every 15,000-30,000 miles.

When inspecting your vehicle’s air filters, keep an eye on oil-coated elements, which can hinder airflow and decrease performance. If you notice excessive oil on the filter, cleaning it and checking for possible issues with your vehicle’s PCV system is a good idea.

Damaged Repeller

Another important aspect of your Lincoln Navigator’s maintenance is inspecting and addressing issues with the repeller.

A damaged repeller can lead to decreased performance and even engine damage. Regularly inspect the repeller for physical harm, such as cracks or deformity.

To ensure the longevity and performance of your vehicle, keep track of the recommended maintenance intervals, and address any potential issues as soon as they arise.

This will help you avoid costly repairs and improve the overall performance of your Lincoln Navigator.

Lincoln Navigator Competitors

In this section, we’ll look at some popular luxury SUVs that can be compared to the Lincoln Navigator.

These include the BMW X7, Infiniti QX80, and Land Rover Range Rover. Let’s dive in and learn more about these competitors and their features.


The BMW X7 is an excellent alternative to the Lincoln Navigator. As a luxury SUV, it offers impressive performance, high comfort, and exceptional build quality.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Powerful engine options, ranging from a 3.0-liter inline-six to a 4.4-liter V8
  • A spacious and luxurious cabin with seating for up to seven passengers
  • Plenty of advanced technology, such as driver assistance features and a user-friendly infotainment system

However, remember that the BMW X7 tends to be more expensive than the Navigator, which may not appeal to you if you’re on a tighter budget. Read more BMW X7 cons many owners complained about!

Infiniti QX80

Another noteworthy competitor is the Infiniti QX80. This full-size luxury SUV boasts powerful performance, a comfortable interior, and a competitive price.

Here’s what you need to know about the QX80 and get more worst QX80 years here!

  • Comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 400 horsepower
  • Features a well-appointed cabin with high-quality materials and plenty of space for passengers and cargo
  • Offers user-friendly technology, including a dual-screen infotainment system and a comprehensive suite of driver assistance features.

Are you interested in discovering similarities vs. differences between the Infiniti QX80 and Nissan Armada SUV cars?

Land Rover Range Rover

The classic Land Rover Range Rover is also worth considering as an alternative to the Lincoln Navigator.

As a luxury SUV, it provides unparalleled refinement, performance, and off-road capabilities.

Key highlights of Land Rover Range Rover include:

  • A selection of potent engine choices, including a turbodiesel V6 and a supercharged V8
  • An opulent and well-built interior with high-quality materials and plenty of space for passengers
  • Outstanding off-road ability due to its advanced four-wheel drive system and a variety of terrain settings

When comparing these luxury SUV options, remember to evaluate your budget, performance preferences, and desired features to find the right vehicle for you.


Nissan Murano Best Years

Discover The Worst Nissan Murano Years to Avoid and Bad Reliability Models

Looking to hit the road in a pre-owned a fairly used mid-size crossover SUV this year? We present a very popular SUV car in this segment – the Nissan Murano? You’ll want to make sure
Best Cadillac to Buy Used

Here Are the Common Cadillac XT5 Problems and Years to Avoid

Are you in the market for a compact crossover luxury SUV that delivers power and reliability with a blend of beauty and a roomy cargo area? If yes, you may even love a used Cadillac
Mazda CX-5

Here are Worst Years Mazda CX-5 Years to Avoid, CX 5 Problems & Best Reliability by Year

The Mazda CX-5 is relatively new boy in the compact SUV market designed with adaptive cruise control for safety, infotainment features like apple carplay so it has quickly catch with older brands. The CX-5 is


Sign up now to get the email newsletter and exclusive deals weekly.