Saying that Ford vehicles are unreliable and generally don’t last is a bold statement, especially considering the manufacturer’s 120 years of existence. And even worse, it’s quite incorrect. For example, the average Ford will generally outlive the average Volkswagen, often considered one of the most reliable European car manufacturers. However, when talking about longevity and reliability, maintenance is key for any vehicle. If you neglect a brand-new Ford or any other car for that matter, you can expect problems well before 100,000 miles, regardless of the model.
On the other hand, people who frequently visit the repair shop or consult a Ford factory service manual to stay on top of their car’s maintenance schedule can often see it last well over 400,000 miles. Still, some models will naturally last longer than others, so it makes more sense to spend money on repairs. That being said, let’s see if your Ford has what it takes to make a trip to the moon and back and how you can ensure that the journey doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Which Ford Vehicles Last the Longest?
Ford models with the highest chances of lasting close to 20 years are the Expedition and the F-150. Considering that only 1.2% of all cars cover over 200,000 miles, the Expedition’s 5.4% is incredibly impressive. Furthermore, 2% of all F-150s have surpassed that mileage, sitting well above the average too.
However, it’s a much rarer sight to see smaller vehicles like the Focus, Fiesta, and Fusion/Mondeo with close to 200,000 miles on the clock. But that’s not to say that they are bad. Ford certainly makes them capable of covering high miles. Still, since they are cheaper, they are likely to change owners more frequently and, consequently, be a bit more neglected.
Also, when talking about secondhand cars, it’s important to mention that they are likely to see the interior of a repair shop less often. That’s understandable since maintenance for a vehicle that has lost 50-70% of its original value is harder to justify. However, there are still ways to avoid those high prices without sacrificing quality. For example, using a Ford auto repair manual and performing some of the work on your own will surely require some elbow grease but is by far the easiest way to ensure your Ford lasts for years while avoiding the sky-high bills.
How Can You Make Your Ford Last Longer?
If you plan on driving your car for years or decades to come, the first and most important thing is to change the oil regularly. Failing to change your oil at recommended intervals won’t have noticeable consequences immediately or even in the first 100,000 miles. However, aiming for double or three times that mileage is virtually impossible since bad oil is severely detrimental in the long run.
Also, various motors require different intervals and oil types, which is equally important. In case you don’t have the correct information for your model, you can contact the dealership or get a model-specific Ford technical service manual, where you’ll find everything you need to know about your vehicle’s fluid requirements and even the complete procedure to do it at home.
Regular maintenance is another big one as other parts also need periodic attention, besides oil changes and regular check-ups. These include filters, tires, transmission fluid, axle, joint lubrication, timing belt, etc. All these make up a vital part of the bigger picture in getting your Ford above the average mileage.
And once again, since periodic services are usually fairly simple, you can easily save a bunch here. For instance, if you have an older Ford that you work on yourself, it’s best to consult a Ford workshop manual to get answers to when and how to do a regular service for your specific model. For example, a 60k mile regular service schedule on a 2003 Ford Focus costs around 677$. Conversely, buying OEM parts and doing it yourself will cost just about 170$.
No matter how reliable and well-engineered, every car occasionally breaks down. When a problem happens, how you repair it will significantly affect your car’s longevity. For one, using quality parts is extremely important, but also paying attention to the manufacturer’s recommended procedure.
Torque specs, for example, are often overlooked. However, that’s never a good idea. When replacing a head gasket, for instance, omitting to properly torque the head bolts could cause more harm than good, costing you a lot more in the end than if you had let the pros take care of it.
Luckily, a Ford workshop manual contains every torque specification provided by the manufacturer as well as step-by-step instructions and clear illustrations, so you know the job is done right. And forget about those expensive paper manuals; eManualOnline offers the same OEM repair manuals in digital format at only a fraction of the price.
As you may expect, overloading and constantly redlining your Ford won’t help it live a long and trouble-free life. How you drive and use your vehicle will profoundly affect its reliability in the long run. Hence, you should first pay attention to warming up the engine before putting it through stress. That doesn’t mean leaving it idle until it’s warm but driving slowly without much throttle input. Furthermore, respecting your car’s performance boundaries will go a long way, so avoid hitting the rev limiter at every light.
A quick search online will present you with a fleet of Ford models that have been around the equator dozens of times, pointing to the role quality maintenance plays in a car’s longevity and denying the claim that Ford vehicles don’t last long. The last time I looked, I could find a Ford Focus with over 400k miles, an Explorer with 470k miles, and an F-150 with over 700k miles on the counter online.
Put simply, it’s not the emblem on the hood that will dictate how long a car will last, Ford or not, it’s maintenance. And a Ford factory service manual will show you everything you need to take proper care of your vehicle and ensure it lasts for years to come with nothing but a bit of love and care.