Ford Ranger Problems: 3 Known Issues (Explained)

The Ford Ranger nameplate has been in existence since the 1983 model year, and it has been used on a variety of vehicles.

The Ranger was marketed as a compact truck in North America from the 1983 model year until its hiatus in late 2011. 

It came back as a mid-size pickup truck in 2018 for the 2019 model year, and it received rave reviews from critics. The Ranger was also named the most reliable truck in its class by J.D. Power.

The Ranger is without a doubt one of the best mid-size pickup trucks in existence right now. However, there are a few issues with the car, and we shall discuss some of them below.

1. Issues With the Transmission

There have been multiple complaints regarding the transmission of the Ford Ranger.

This is often characterized by rough shifting, gear loss and the overdrive light turning on and off in an erratic manner.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are potential causes of this problem and their solutions:

Low or Contaminated Transmission Fluid

Rough shifting in the Ford Ranger may occur because of a low transmission fluid level.

So, if the transmission’s fluid level is low, the pressure would eventually run down, leading to a rough shifting issue.

Old fluids can also cause hard shifts. If you haven’t changed or topped off the fluid in a long time, the fluid may lose its ability to lubricate the parts and reduce friction properly.

If this happens, rough shifting is borderline inevitable.

This also applies to transmission fluids that have been applied incorrectly. Owners must get the correct transmission fluid for their Ranger.

We advise checking your user manual or enlisting the help of a technician in this case. Incorrect fluids are harmful and may cause rough shifting over time.

Worn Transmission

When rough shifting happens, everyone hopes it is not a problem with the transmission.

And that’s for good reason, because it takes a lot of time and money to fix. Usually, transmissions last at least 100,000 miles, so if your vehicle is a lot newer than that, do not panic.

A transmission consists of bands and clutches, both of which help implement gear changes. Over time, these two give out, and when they do, a rough shifting problem may arise.

The only way to be sure this has happened is by removing the transmission. Again, it would be best to let a qualified technician handle this.

You should also be prepared for the possibility of getting a new transmission, especially if your vehicle is old.

Damaged Torque Converter

A damaged torque converter is the automatic transmission’s equivalent of a damaged clutch. Torque converters connect the transmission and the engine.

If this component fails, however, it gives up its responsibility, which may lead to rough shifting.

What to Do

Transmission issues can literally cripple your Ford Ranger, so we advise that you take the symptoms seriously.

One way to do that is by getting your preferred technician to diagnose the vehicle so you can resolve the issue before it leads to major damage.

Related: Ford Ranger & Light: 14 Questions Answered (For Newbies)

2. Frequent Engine Misfires

Many Ford Ranger owners have lodged myriads of complaints about the vehicle’s engine.

Most of these complaints were about the Ranger’s abrupt engine misfires and the symptoms that followed.

The most common symptoms include loss of power, mild tremors, and engine stalls.

Possible Causes And Solutions

Here are some of the potential causes and solutions of this problem:

Clogged Fuel Injector

One of the major reasons for frequent engine misfires in a Ford Ranger is a blocked fuel injector. Over time, a fuel injector may get clogged with dirt, carbon, and the likes. This could impede its ability to deliver fuel to the combustion chamber, causing a misfire.

Failed Ignition Coil Packs

Each ignition cylinder has its own coil pack, and these packs help ignite the fuel-air mixture by transmitting electricity to the spark plug.

However, sometimes the connection wires wear out, and if they do, there could be a misfire instead of the usual spark.

Faulty Engine Control Module

Most modern engines have a digital control module designed to manage the engine and ensure the combustion process runs correctly.

However, like most computers, the engine control module is prone to a glitch that may disrupt the combustion process and cause a misfire.

A common fix to this is by disconnecting the battery for a while and then connecting it again. This simple process could fix the glitch.

If not, you are going to have to call in an expert.

Leaking Vacuum Hoses

Vehicle engines often have multiple vacuum hoses, which help to improve airflow.

However, a hole in any of these hoses, no matter how tiny, may cause problems for the engine computer and ultimately trigger a misfire.

Defective Catalytic Converter

Another common cause of engine misfire is a clogged catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is a vital component of the exhaust system that helps detoxify harmful substances. However, if, for some reason, it gets clogged, it could trigger overheating, which could cause a misfire.

Leaking Gasket and Valve Seals

The valve seals and manifold gaskets help to ensure the flow of air and fluid and keep compression at an optimal level. However, if there is a leak, it could result in loss of power and possibly, an engine misfire.

What to Do

Misfires happen for different reasons, and it’s best not to guess because you may be wrong, and the mistake may cost you dearly.

We suggest enlisting the help of a certified technician for an expert diagnosis and solution.

Related: Ford Ranger In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

3. Stalling at Idle During Cold Start

A number of Ford Ranger drivers have reported that the vehicle is difficult to start from cold, and it hesitates at idle.

These issues are common with the 90s to early 2000s Ford Ranger models.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are some of the possible causes of this problem and their solutions:

Faulty Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

The engine coolant temperature sensor measures the temperature of the engine coolant. However, this sensor may get stuck or go completely bad in some cases, sending wrong signals to the computer.

So, if the computer receives a warm signal during a cold start, it won’t pull the amount of fuel needed for the engine to work properly.

Damaged Air Intake Temperature Sensor

The vehicle’s system counts on the air intake temperature sensor to compute fuel delivery.

So, if the IAT sends a false signal, it could impact fuel delivery, which may lead to an idling issue during a cold start.

One way to tackle this issue is by checking your vehicle manual for a testing procedure of the IAT.

It is a semi-technical process, and you can either handle it by yourself or enlist your mechanic.

Defective Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (MAP)

The manifold absolute pressure sensor also affects the air-fuel mixture in an engine system. If the MAP develops a fault, it could cause an engine stall during a cold start.

You can also test the MAP with the aid of your vehicle manual. If you don’t have a manual, a vacuum pump and digital multimeter can work, but it’s best to let your technician handle it.

Failed EGR Valve

Another common cause of stalling during cold start is a failed exhaust gas recirculation valve.

The valve restricts the flow of recirculated gas based on the engine load.

If the valve develops a fault, however, it could make the engine stall at idle during a cold start.

There are times when all the EGR valve needs is warming the engine. So, you could try warming up the engine and see if the valve closes up and starts functioning again. If it doesn’t, we advise letting an expert take it from there.

What to Do

If your Ranger often stalls at idle during a cold start, we recommend sending it off to a technician for proper evaluation.

Related: How Long Do Ford Rangers Last? (7 Important Facts)

General Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Ford Ranger truck:


Below are some of the Ranger’s selling points:

Towing Ability

The Ford Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds. Now that’s impressive, but isn’t it a bit too much for a mid-size pickup truck?

Well, that’s certainly a pertinent question, and Ford addresses this by equipping the Ranger with the Trailer Sway Control.

The Ford Ranger has the Trailer Sway Control to help stabilize the vehicle while towing. The in-built backup camera also comes in handy for those who intend to tow a trailer.

Improved Agility

The Ford Ranger is highly responsive and agile for a vehicle its size.

It has a turbocharged 2.3 liter engine which can also churn out 310-pound feet of torque and 270 horsepower. Not to mention the ten-speed automatic transmission to put that excess torque to good use on the pavement.

Off-Road Options

The standard powertrain on the Ford Ranger is the rear-wheel-drive; however, there is an all-wheel-drive option.

The AWD will help off-roaders with traction and stability on terrains with excessive mud or snow.

Besides the AWD, the Ranger also offers other off-road packages like locking rear differential, a special suspension, amongst others.

There is a terrain management system that permits adjustments to shifting and engine throttle. Terrain modes for different conditions include:

  • sand,
  • mud/ruts,
  • grass/gravel/snow.

These features will make all the difference when you have to drive through messy off-road conditions.

Internet Access

We live in a world where the internet has become a primary need.

Even the Ford Ranger understands this, which is why it has the FordPass Connect technology.

The FordPass technology serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot and can connect up to 10 devices with a massive reach of 50ft outside the truck.

Warm and Entertaining Interior

On some Ford Ranger trims, owners enjoy leather seats, leather steering wheels, and ambient lighting.

The ambient lighting comes in different colors, and it doesn’t just light up the cabin; it can also light up your mood.

There is also the SiriusXM traffic and travel link option, which would be useful when driving on strange paths. This sophisticated technology will inform you of traffic beforehand and help you get to your destination on time.

Also available is the Sync 3 interface with an eight-inch touch screen just within the driver’s reach. You can connect just about any smartphone, make calls, send texts and play music from your playlist.

Advanced Safety Features

The Ford Ranger boasts a variety of driver-assist systems to help ensure that you complete every journey safely.

The driver-assist features include:

  • automatic emergency braking,
  • rear-cross traffic alert,
  • blind-spot monitoring,
  • automatic high beams,
  • adaptive cruise control,
  • and rear-view camera,
  • amongst others.


  • Issues With the Transmission
  • Frequent Engine Misfire
  • Stalling at Idle During Cold Start

What Do the Reviews Say?

… while it may rarely be No. 1 in a particular area, it’s also rarely much deeper than No. 2. Others have high highs and low lows, but the Ranger is steadily executed, which is primarily [the] reason it won our midsize truck comparison test. It’s fun to drive on- and off-road, yet surprisingly comfortable. The cabin may be a bit dull in appearance, but it’s functional and the quality is strong. Its unusual, standard turbocharged engine delivers ample power and above-average fuel economy. Basically, the 2021 Ford Ranger is a well-rounded truck that can stand toe-to-toe with any competitor.”

Source: AutoBlog

The 2021 Ford Ranger ranks near the top of the compact pickup truck class. With a good tow rating, easy-to-use features, and comfortable seats, this truck does almost everything well.”

Source: USNews

What Is the Resale Value of the Ford Ranger?


Model Year Mileage Price
2010 Ford Ranger 92,318 miles $9,939
2011 Ford Ranger 71,657 miles $15,985
2019 Ford Ranger 13,709 miles $32,990
2020 Ford Ranger 3,919 miles $35,990
2021 Ford Ranger 3,992 miles $37,990
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