Ford Ranger Problems: 11 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 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 from Ford Ranger owners regarding the transmission.

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

Here are the potential causes of rough shifting, including no drive/failure, and their solutions:

Cause of Rough Shifting Description
Low or Contaminated Transmission Fluid Old or improperly applied transmission fluid can lead to rough shifting as the gearbox loses its lubricating properties and fails to reduce friction effectively.

Make sure to use the correct transmission fluid specified for your Ranger, as using incorrect fluids or too little fluid can lead to rough shifting over time. This will cause a transmission failure.

Worn Transmission Transmissions typically last at least 100,000 miles, so if your vehicle is relatively new, there’s no need to panic.

Transmissions consist of bands and clutch plates responsible for gear changes, and over time, these components wear out, potentially causing rough shifting – or worse, no gear change at all.

Be prepared for the possibility of needing a new transmission, especially if your vehicle is old.

Damaged Torque Converter The torque converter serves as the automatic transmission’s equivalent of a clutch, connecting the transmission and engine.

When the torque converter is damaged or fails, it can lead to rough shifting as it no longer fulfills its role effectively. And, if it fails there will be no drive.

Be aware that the torque converter can break off welded spots on the flex plate.

Low Oil If the oil level is low this will cause the gearbox to overheat and shortly after that, you may have rough shifting/slipping of gears or no drive depending on how burnt the clutch plates are.

A word of caution on towing:

Towing can cause clutch plates inside the transmissions to wear faster and this can result in possible slipping of gears over time. When your gears slip you will notice your rpm will be erratic. You will notice that this mostly happens on hills.

This will cause an overdrive gear light to appear leading to an expensive repair as the clutch plates could be burnt or over worn.

If you smell a burning scent while driving or after towing your vehicle, this could mean your clutch plates inside your transmission have overheated.

You can prevent your gearbox from overheating by keeping the vehicle in a certain gear while maintaining above 2400rpm.

What to Do

Transmission issues are one of the most common problems faced by Ranger owners and 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 owners have lodged myriads of complaints about Ford Ranger engine problems.

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
  • engine stalls

Here are some of the potential causes of this problem:

Cause of Engine Misfires Description
Clogged Fuel Injector Over time, dirt and carbon buildup can clog the fuel injector, impeding its ability to deliver fuel to the combustion chamber and causing a misfire.
Failed Ignition Coil Packs Each ignition cylinder has its own coil pack that transmits electricity to the spark plug to ignite the fuel-air mixture.

Worn-out connection wires in these coil packs can lead to misfires instead of a spark.

Faulty Engine Control Module Glitches in this module may disrupt the combustion process and result in misfires.
Leaking Vacuum Hoses Many vehicle engines have multiple vacuum hoses to improve airflow. Even a tiny hole in one of these hoses can cause problems for the engine computer and trigger misfires.
Defective Catalytic Converter A clogged catalytic converter, a crucial part of the exhaust system that detoxifies harmful substances, can lead to overheating and, in turn, engine misfires if it becomes obstructed.
Leaking Gasket and Valve Seals Valve seals and manifold gaskets play a role in maintaining proper airflow and compression.

Any leaks in these components can result in a loss of power and potential engine misfires.

EGR Valve (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Issues This valve can become faulty or can get clogged over time. This can cause rough idle, loss of performance, increased fuel consumption, stalling while at an idle, and worst case an engine knock.

A faulty EGR valve can cause an engine light to appear.

What to Do

Misfires are one of the most common issues and they can happen for different reasons. It’s best not to guess why though 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.

3. Stalling at Idle During a 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.

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

Cause of Engine Stalling During Cold Start Description
Faulty Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor When this sensor becomes stuck or malfunctions, it can send incorrect signals to the computer.

This may result in the computer providing an inappropriate amount of fuel during a cold start, affecting engine performance.

Damaged Air Intake Temperature Sensor A false signal from this sensor can impact fuel delivery and cause idling issues during cold starts.
Defective Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (MAP) Testing the MAP sensor can be done following the vehicle manual’s instructions or with the help of a technician using a vacuum pump and digital multimeter.
Failed EGR Valve An EGR valve controls the flow of recirculated gas based on the engine load.

A malfunctioning EGR valve can lead to engine stalling during cold starts. Sometimes, simply warming up the engine may temporarily resolve the issue. 

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

4. Brake Problems

Brake troubles in your Ford Ranger, such as strange noises, brake pedal issues, or decreased braking ability, can be dangerous.

It is critical to address these issues as soon as possible.

For diagnosis, use the table below:

Possible Causes of Brake Problems Description
Worn Brake Pads and Rotors Worn brake pads and rotors can lead to reduced braking performance and may cause squealing or grinding noises.
Brake Fluid Issues Brake fluid problems, such as contamination or low fluid levels, can affect brake performance and require brake fluid flush or other brake system maintenance.
Brake Master Cylinder Problems Issues with the brake master cylinder, including leaks or malfunctioning components, can result in poor brake pedal feel and may necessitate master cylinder replacement.

What to Do

Check the quality of your brake pads and rotors first if you detect any brake-related concerns, such as strange sounds or poor braking ability. Replace any worn-out parts.

To maintain the correct fluid level and quality, conduct a brake fluid flush if you have brake fluid issues.

If you suspect a problem with the brake master cylinder, have a professional technician check it and maybe replace it.

5. Suspension and Handling Concerns

Suspension issues in your Ford Ranger can provide a rough and unpleasant ride. Taking care of these concerns is critical for driving comfort and safety.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes for this issue:

Possible Causes of Suspension and Handling Concerns Description
Worn Shock Absorbers Worn-out shock absorbers can result in poor ride quality, increased bouncing, and reduced handling performance.
Damaged Suspension Components Damage to various suspension components, such as control arms or bushings, can affect handling and ride comfort.
Improper Tire Alignment Incorrect tire alignment can lead to uneven tire wear, reduced handling, and a less comfortable ride.

What to Do

Check the state of your shock absorbers if you are having suspension concerns such as a rough ride. Shock absorbers that have worn out should be replaced.

If you see any evidence of damaged suspension components, such as control arms or bushings, get them inspected and fixed by a professional.

To avoid handling issues, make sure your tires are correctly aligned.

6. Exhaust System Issues

Problems with your Ford Ranger‘s exhaust system might appear as noise, leaks, or emissions-related difficulties.

The proper operation of the exhaust system is critical for vehicle performance. So, have a look below to see what might be giving you any exhaust system headaches:

Possible Causes of Exhaust System Issues Description
Damaged Exhaust Components Damage to exhaust components like the exhaust manifold or catalytic converter can lead to noise, leaks, and emissions problems.
Corrosion and Rust Corrosion and rust on exhaust components can weaken the system and lead to holes or leaks.

What to Do

Inspect the exhaust components for apparent damage or corrosion if you notice exhaust system difficulties such as noise or emissions concerns.

As needed, replace damaged components.

Consider rust treatment and rust-resistant coatings to prevent additional degradation when dealing with rust and corrosion.

7. Air Conditioning and Heating Problems

As I’m sure you can imagine, problems with your Ford Ranger‘s air conditioning and heating systems will reduce your driving comfort.

These issues result in poor cooling or heating performance, and ultimately a smelly ride.

To ensure you’re cruising in comfort, have a look at these possible causes below:

Possible Causes of Air Conditioning and Heating Problems Description
Refrigerant Leaks Leaking refrigerant can reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system, resulting in poor cooling performance.
Blower Motor Issues Malfunctioning blower motors can lead to poor airflow and heating or cooling problems.
HVAC Control Problems Problems with HVAC controls can result in inconsistent temperature control and air distribution.

What to Do

Check for refrigerant leaks and get them repaired if you have cooling problems. A qualified technician can detect and repair air conditioning system leaks.

Consult a professional to diagnose and repair blower motor issues, providing adequate airflow and temperature management.

If HVAC control issues persist, get professional help to diagnose and correct control system failures.

8. Wiper and Washer System Malfunctions

Problems with your Ford Ranger‘s wiper and washer systems could decrease visibility in adverse conditions.

The correct operation of your wipers is definitely crucial for you and your passengers‘ safety.

Have a look below at the possible causes:

Possible Causes of Wiper and Washer System Malfunctions Description
Worn Wiper Blades Worn wiper blades can result in ineffective windshield cleaning.
Clogged Washer Fluid Nozzles Clogged washer fluid nozzles can prevent proper cleaning of the windshield.
Malfunctioning Wiper Motor A malfunctioning wiper motor can lead to wiper system issues.

What to Do

To guarantee proper windscreen cleaning, I highly recommend replacing old wiper blades. For improved performance, consider using high-quality wiper blades.

Clear blocked washer fluid nozzles to restore appropriate washer system performance. Remove any debris with a little pin or needle.

If the issue persists, visit a skilled technician for diagnostic and repair of defective wiper motors to restore wiper performance

9. Rust and Corrosion

Rust and corrosion problems in your Ford Ranger, especially in cold temperatures, can affect the vehicle’s frame and appearance.

If you live in the Northeastern parts of the U.S., your car is likely to rust. Therefore, rust prevention is critical, particularly if you want to preserve the lifespan of your Ranger.

If you are unaware, in the table below you can find out how rust can occur:

Possible Causes of Rust and Corrosion Issues Description
Exposure to Salt and Moisture Exposure to salt and moisture, common in regions with harsh weather, can lead to rust on the vehicle’s body and undercarriage.

Regular cleaning and rust-resistant coatings are essential for prevention.

What to Do

Prevent rust and corrosion by washing your car regularly, especially in regions prone to salt and moisture exposure.

To preserve the body and undercarriage of your Ford Ranger, use rust-resistant paints.

If there is already severe rust, see an expert for rust treatment and repair.

10. Engine Overheating

Overheating in your Ford Ranger can be caused by cooling system problems, resulting in engine damage, and must be addressed as soon as possible to keep your engine healthy.

Below are some possible causes:

Possible Causes of Engine Overheating Description
Faulty Thermostat A malfunctioning thermostat can disrupt the engine’s temperature regulation, causing it to overheat.
Radiator Problems Radiator issues, such as clogs or leaks, can hinder the cooling system’s ability to dissipate heat.
Coolant Leaks Coolant leaks can lead to low coolant levels, reducing the cooling system’s efficiency.

What to Do

If your engine overheats, pull over safely and turn off the car to avoid further damage. Allow it to cool before tackling the problem.

If a malfunctioning thermostat is detected, get it changed by a qualified technician to correctly control the engine’s temperature.

Consult a skilled technician for full diagnostic and required repairs if you have radiator difficulties or coolant leakage.

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

11. Electrical Issues

Electrical troubles in your Ford Ranger might emerge as a variety of problems affecting lighting, power windows, or electronic systems.

These issues can be aggravating and may have an influence on the overall performance of your vehicle.

Below are some possible causes for you to explore:

Possible Causes of Electrical Problems Description
Faulty Wiring Damaged or frayed wiring can lead to electrical malfunctions in your vehicle, causing a range of issues with lights, electronics, and power systems.
Blown Fuses Blown fuses can disrupt the flow of electricity, resulting in various electrical problems.
Electrical System Malfunctions Problems within the vehicle’s electrical system itself, such as a failing alternator or battery, can cause widespread electrical issues that require professional diagnosis and repair.

What to Do

If you have electrical problems, such as faulty lights or power windows, begin by examining the vehicle’s fuses. Any blown fuses should be replaced.

If the problem persists, look for apparent damage or wear on the wiring. As needed, repair or replace faulty wiring.

If the problem still persists, consider obtaining professional help from a certified expert who can diagnose and repair electrical system faults.

General Pros and Cons

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


Towing Ability The Ford Ranger boasts an impressive towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds. It features Trailer Sway Control and a backup camera to enhance stability and convenience while towing trailers.
Improved Agility The Ranger’s turbocharged 2.3-liter engine delivers 310-pound feet of torque and 270 horsepower. Combined with a ten-speed automatic transmission, it offers exceptional responsiveness and agility for a mid-size pickup truck.
Off-Road Options While the standard powertrain is rear-wheel-drive, the Ford Ranger offers an all-wheel-drive option, enhancing traction and stability in challenging terrains.

Off-road packages include a locking rear differential, a special suspension, and a terrain management system with multiple modes for various conditions.

Internet Access The Ford Ranger features FordPass Connect technology, serving as a Wi-Fi hotspot. It can connect up to 10 devices with a range of 50ft outside the truck, ensuring connectivity even in remote locations.
Warm and Entertaining Interior Some Ford Ranger trims offer luxurious features like leather seats, leather steering wheels, and ambient lighting in various colors.

The interior also includes advanced technologies such as SiriusXM traffic and travel link, Sync 3 interface with an eight-inch touchscreen, and connectivity for smartphones and entertainment.

Advanced Safety Features The Ford Ranger comes equipped with a range of advanced safety features, including:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Rear-cross traffic alert
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Automatic high beams
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear-view camera


  • Transmission Issues
  • Engine misfires
  • Stalling at idle during a cold start
  • Brake problems
  • Suspension and handling concerns
  • Exhaust system issues
  • Air conditioning and heating issues
  • Wiper and washer system malfunctions
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Engine overheating
  • Electrical Issues

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

GO BACK > problems for all Ford models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.