The Ford Ranger is a solid all-around compact truck with a reliable history of few recalls and complaints. Very few people report major problems, as the truck is considered a fairly low key model. That consistency comes with a few trade-offs. The Ranger is not where you go for major truck innovations—Instead, you get reliability.
A little history review: The Ranger was first introduced to the American market in 1983 to compete in the compact pickup truck market. It was the basis for the Explorer SUV, and the line has continued ever since. In 1998 it got a redesign and entered the American market for good—Or at least, that’s what people thought until it w discontinued in 2011. Then, the model was revived in 2019, ushering in a new period of growth for the line.
Some people report driving over 500,000 miles with earlier models, and easily driving over 200,000 miles. That’s one reliable truck. But, if you’re looking to purchase a used truck, or just figure out what potential problems there are with one that you already have, it’s a good idea to consult the experts. This guide will go over some of the issues with this particular model, and hopefully, you’ll leave with more answers and fewer questions!
If you’ve never owned a Ranger before and are not particularly familiar with the line, there are some common issues to expect and prepare for, regardless of the model year.
1. The V6 guzzles gas
The 3L and 4L V6 engines tend to eschew fuel economy in favor of performance. Don’t expect much in the way of a good MPG if you’re getting one of the larger engines.
2. Airbag issues
Many models of Ranger have historically had problems with airbag deployment in collisions. A crash is a worst case scenario, but you want a safe vehicle in the event of a worst case scenario.
As with most vehicles, rust is always an issue, and the Ranger can be vulnerable to it. It can cause the frame to crack, and can dramatically decrease the value of the vehicle.
4. Transmission issues
Especially with automatic transmissions, the engine often outlasts the transmission. This usually becomes an issue at 200,000+ miles, but it’s good to be aware of it.
An important thing to note is that all vehicles can end up suffering from transmission and rust issues, as these are directly related to the care and maintenance the vehicle receives. Because of this, it’s vital when looking to purchase a used vehicle to assess the type of care it has received.
Years to Avoid
Every vehicle has clunker model years, and in the age of the internet, it’s easy to get an idea of which years are problem children and which ones are the golden children. Here’s a list of the Ford Ranger years to avoid.
1. 2001 Ford Ranger
This model had 9 recalls, and was known for transmission problems.
2. 2002 Ford Ranger
This model had 7 recalls and history of engine and transmission problems.
3. 2004 Ford Ranger
This model had 8 recalls, and history of transmission and engine problems.
4. 2005 Ford Ranger
With 7 recalls, this was a more reliable model but had gas mileage issues and some reported engine problems.
5. 2006 Ford Ranger
2006 was a rough year for the Ranger, with 8 recalls, fuel system problems, and many reported engine problems.
Years to Buy
Thanks to the Ranger being one of the most reliable mid-size trucks out there, you can’t really go too wrong with any particular model year, but there are of course standouts. The 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2011 models are some of the most highly regarded trucks out there, and you likely can spot one if you look out your window right now.
Keep in mind that any vehicle year can be the year to buy if it’s been well maintained and has a history free of accidents. Make sure to utilize a registry service like CarFax to get those vehicle history reports!
What to Look for When Buying a Used Ranger
The first thing you want to do is check for rust. A rusty frame can create enormous problems for the vehicle, so take a look underneath and check out the frame. See if there’s serious or significant rust damage.
Next, you should probably take the truck to a reputable mechanic, to see if they can identify anything like leaking fuel hoses, cracks or holes in the transfer case, bent or dented driveshafts, and a number of other problems and issues.
Be cautious about a vehicle that’s running when you arrive to look at it. If the engine is warm or the car is started when you arrive, there is a chance the vehicle has a hard time starting, and that’s something to know before making any purchasing decisions.
Where to Go Next
If you’ve got a Ford Ranger already, or you’re looking to upgrade your newly purchased one with an excellent backup camera, we’ve got you taken care of. Get in touch with one of our camera experts, or start browsing our products to find the best ones for you.
If you’re looking for more information about other vehicle model years, we’ve created tons of different posts about everything Chevy and Ford. We’re not just here to help with cameras, we want you to have as much information about purchasing decisions as possible.