Ford Transit Problems: 3 Known Issues (Explained)

The Ford Transit is a top-selling van that has been in production since 1965.

There have been four generations of the Transit, with game-changing face-lifts kick-starting each generation.

Known for its global popularity and being the third best-selling van of all time, the Ford Transit has also achieved critical success. Auto critics and long-term owners alike have praised the Transit for its absolute reliability and trustworthiness.

While it has solidified its place among the greatest cargo vans, the Ford Transit has had its fair share of faults across its model years.

We shall discuss the most common of the issues for the rest of this article.

1. Loss of Power

One of the most common complaints about the Ford Transit is the constant loss of power, particularly on 2016 models.

Some owners also reported that the check engine light came on right before the vehicle lost power.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are potential causes of this problem and how to resolve them:

Clogged Fuel and Air Filter

The fuel filter, like every other filter, prevents the entry of debris into the fuel system. However, the fuel filter itself can get clogged over time, which would effectively obstruct the flow of fuel into the vehicle’s engine.

When this happens, it becomes difficult for your car to summon enough power to speed or climb up a gradient.

In the same vein, the air filter keeps debris away from the combustion chamber, and it is also prone to clogging. A clogged air filter can deal a great blow to the engine’s power.

Clogged Fuel Injector

A clogged fuel injector may also cause the Ford Transit to lose power.

When the injector becomes clogged with dirt, it hampers the flow of fuel into the van’s engine, reducing the vehicle’s power.

In this case, you may also notice engine misfires, stalling, and fuel odor.

Clogged Exhaust System

Another component that could get clogged and cause loss of power is the Transit’s exhaust. Over time, the exhaust may pick up loads of rubbish, including gravel, leaves, and the likes, which can affect its functionality.

So, if you have been dealing with a loss of power, check your exhaust and blow the debris out.

Terrible Compression

The Ford Transit, like other vehicles, has valves and a head gasket, all of which manage compression within the engine.

However, if the components develop faults, compression becomes poor, and the vehicle loses a substantial amount of power.

Engine Warning Light

While it is true that the engine warning light signifies a problem with the engine, it may also create further problems by stalling it.

The engine warning light often reduces power output to help reduce the likelihood of an accident.

What to Do

Truth is, there are various reasons the Transit experiences loss of power. So it’s best to have a trusted technician diagnose the problem and provide a workable solution.

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

2. Premature Brake Wear

During our research, we encountered multiple complaints about the Ford Transit’s brakes. Owners appear to be dissatisfied with the Transit’s brakes’ durability, especially the rear brakes.

We also found that this problem was common with recent Ford Transit models starting from 2015.

Possible Causes and Solutions

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

Misaligned Brake Pads

Front brakes typically wear out faster than rear brake pads, and that’s expected because of the strain on the front pads.

However, if you notice your rear brake pads wearing out faster than the front brake pad, it may be due to misalignment.

When installing new brake pads, it is important that they are aligned. If not, it could lead to one suspiciously wearing out faster than the other.

The best recourse in such cases is getting new, top-notch brake pads and making sure your technician installs them correctly.

Modern Traction and Stability Control Programs

Many modern vehicles, including Ford Transit models, are now equipped with traction and stability control systems.

While this is a welcome development as it keeps vehicles safer, these systems might also be the reason the rear brake pads wear out prematurely.

The Electronic Brake Force Distribution, for example, often applies the rear brakes to prevent the vehicle from skidding.

In addition, this action transfers some weight from the front to the rear to ensure stability.

While this can be a noble life-saving feature, it could be the reason behind Ford Transit’s rear brake pads wearing out prematurely.

Other features that often engage the rear brake pads include traction control, stability control, and automatic hill descent, amongst others.

Caliper Problems

A brake caliper has the responsibility of connecting the brake pads and the rotors to slow down the wheels and halt a car.

However, calipers have a habit of getting stuck, which could leave the pads clasped to the rotors and wear out the brake pads, eventually.

Driving Habits

Brake pads wear out as often as they are in use.

Adverse driving conditions are perhaps the most common causes of premature brake pad wear.

Spending time in traffic, hard braking in off-road conditions, and traveling long distances will put some strain on your brakes. This, of course, will cause them to wear out faster than brake pads that aren’t used in these conditions.

Please note that this is not an indictment of these driving habits.

Reducing the strain on your brake pads can help it last longer; however, we understand if this is not quite possible. In that case, we advise investing in top-tier brake pads and have them installed by certified experts.

What to Do

Brake pads often last anywhere between 25,000 to 65,000 miles, so they are to be replaced and serviced often.

However, if you have concerns about the brake pads’ longevity, we advise consulting with a technician or dealership for high-quality brake pads.

If it’s possible, you could also try to reduce the strain on your brake pads by avoiding traffic and other brake-straining conditions.

Related: How Long Do Ford Transits Last? (8 Important Facts)

3. Subpar Cooling From Air Conditioners

In summer, it gets so hot that you just want to turn on your vehicle’s air conditioner and leave it at its highest capacity.

However, certain Ford Transit models have air conditioners that won’t cool below 80 degrees and various owners have taken to forums to express their frustrations.

In addition, it appears the cooling problem is more common with 2015 Transit models.  

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are potential causes and solutions to this problem:

Debris Buildup

If you are fond of keeping your vehicle’s AC on for long, debris may clog the vents.

If this happens, your AC won’t deliver the ideal cooling effect. To forestall this, we advise servicing the AC biannually, which will help clear out the vent of debris.

Electrical Short Circuit

A lot of things can lead to a short circuit, including wear and tear, incorrect installation of accessories, and age.

The short circuit may then affect the performance of the AC or stop its operations entirely.

Fixing a short circuit is an uncomplicated yet technical task, and we advise letting an expert handle it.

Blocked Condenser

The condenser is an AC component that helps keep the refrigerant cool and converts hot air into cold air.

This component may, over time, get clogged with debris, which can cause overheating and affect the cooler.

Good news is a qualified auto technician can fix the problem with relative ease.

Defective Compressor

Vehicle air conditioners have compressors that help with the circulation of the refrigerant.

If the compressor, however, develops a fault, the AC could start blowing torrid air, which will impede the cooling process.

Clogged Cabin Air Filter

One of the common reasons for subpar cooling from the AC is a clogged cabin air filter. This is diagnosed by opening the dashboard holder and removing the filter to check for dirt.

If the filter is full of dirt or damaged, you might have to get a new one to regain cooling.

What to Do

If your Transit has not been cooling below a certain point, we advise reaching out to your dealer/technician for a proper diagnosis.

You could also get the repair done for free if your vehicle is still under warranty.

Related: 11 Ford Transit Statistics You Should Know (Facts & Numbers)

General Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Ford Transit:


The following are some of the Transit’s selling point:

Great Ride Quality

Usually, people expect large vans like the Ford Transit to have a few jerks and bumps on the road due to their size.

However, the Ford Transit has gas-pressurized shock absorbers that help swallow up any road bumps. This helps keep passengers comfortable in their seats and cargo stable.

Excellent Urban Utility

Large vans are used to transport cargo, which sometimes need to be delivered within a busy metropolis.

However, this has proven to be a problem because most vans are often too large to maneuver in tight public spaces.

Thankfully, Ford makes this easier by giving the Transit a 38-foot turning circle, which improves its maneuverability in cramped places. In addition, it doesn’t take up as much parking space as some other vans.

XLT Trim Perfect for Delivery Agents

There is an edition of the Ford Transit known as the XLT with many incredible features that small businesses will find useful.

One of such features is the touch screen with built-in navigation that can help drivers find shortcuts and make deliveries on time.

Drivers also get smartphone connectivity with the Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which would help keep them in touch with offices.

Not to mention a splendid Wi-Fi hotspot which can improve productivity on the go.

While it is a more expensive version, it certainly produces more-than-commensurate value.

Decent Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel economy, one cannot realistically expect hybrid numbers from a van like the Ford Transit.

However, the Ford Transit isn’t remotely bad in that regard, especially for a vehicle of its class.

The fuel economy numbers show an impressive 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 24 miles per gallon in the city. Thanks to the automatic stop/start technology, long idles will temporarily halt engine activity to save fuel.

Safety Features

The Ford Transit has tons of safety features that serve various beneficial purposes.

Advanced technological features include:

  • Lane Keep Assist,
  • Blind Spot Monitoring,
  • Adaptive Cruise Control,
  • and Rear Traffic Alert.

Other important features are Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Configurable Running Lights, and Rain-Sensing Windshield, amongst others.

These features will come in handy, especially if you intend to use the Transit for business activities in tight urban spaces.


  • Loss of Power
  • Premature Brake Wear
  • Subpar Cooling From Air Conditioners

What Do the Reviews Say?

The Transit drives more like a crossover than a truck, making it as well-suited to urban chores as it is for longer cross-country hauls. High-roof cargo versions provide an ideal space for a tradesman to work in the back while standing up straight. Passenger versions are also sufficiently outfitted and comfortable to use as family haulers.”

Source: AutoTrader

The Ford Transit Connect has the configurability that appeals to tradespeople as well as those who value versatility. This city van can be equipped for hauling up to seven people or hollowed out for transporting stuff, depending on whether the cargo van or the passenger wagon is selected.

…..Despite its pragmatic personality and bouncy ride quality, the little van has the nimble driving characteristics that will be appreciated in traffic and tight spaces. With its countless configurations and long list of popular options, the 2021 Transit Connect proves it’s quite a useful tool.”

Source: Car And Driver

What Is the Resale Value of the Ford Transit?

Model Year Mileage Price
2015 Ford Transit 154,403 miles $20,900
2016 Ford Transit 114,281 miles $21,352
2017 Ford Transit 93,670 miles $28,300
2018 Ford Transit 56,170 miles $29,999
2019 Ford Transit 29,316 miles $34,979
2020 Ford Transit 20,110 miles $43,995

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.