What Are the Most Common Ford Engine Problems?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Do you have a Ford but worry about engine problems down the road?

The truth is, no matter what car you buy, engine problems can happen to any makes or models. The best thing you can do to prevent these mishaps is to buy knowing the signs and symptoms of these types of problems.

There are certain things you need to know about Ford engines. If you would like to learn more about the common Ford engine problems, you should click here.

1. Ignition System

Having ignition system problems can leave you stranded somewhere. If you’re having problems starting your Ford vehicle, one of the most common issues lies in the ignition coils. The coil-on-plug design.

The coils are positioned over the plug, which causes the boot to deteriorate. This causes the spark to engage in the inner well instead of the plug. When this happens, starting the vehicle will become increasingly difficult. 

On top of that, the liquid can penetrate the spark plug well, which can cause the internal components to fail.

2. Failed Spark Plugs

On average, spark plugs last between 100,000-120,000 miles of use. Unfortunately, Ford vehicles with the 5.4 triton engine that were produced before 2004 have been known for having spark plug issues. 

The problem was so common that aftermarket parts manufacturers sold product kits that would help alleviate the problem.

Auto mechanics are still puzzled into why this happens, but be aware that this problem does exist and can be a factor in why your Ford doesn’t start.

3. Camshaft Phaser Problems

A cam phaser is an adjustable camshaft sprocket which helps the timing valve by making minor adjustments using the engine oil pressure. This process enhances driveability and helps slow the camshaft to provide higher horsepower.

When the cam phaser fails, you may hear a rattling sound. When the cam phaser wears out and gets damaged, driveability is reduced dramatically, and moving engine components will also wear faster than usual.

4. Oil Pan Gasket Leak

This problem is also common with Ford’s that have the 5.4 triton engine. The good thing about this is that it’s not that big of a problem it is cheap to repair. 

Tell-tale signs are low oil levels, oil spots where you park and oil can leak onto the exhaust, which can cause a burning smell.

In order to solve this problem, an oil and filter change must be done. First, drain all the oil by removing the oil plug.

Remove the oil pan and replace the gasket with a new one. Before reinstalling the pan, look for any loose metal pieces that may be present in the pan.

5. Swollen Lug Nuts

Ford lug nuts are notorious for swelling up and being impossible to remove. The trouble comes in the design where an aluminum cap is placed over the steel core. Well, when aluminum gets hot, it swells and delaminates. 

Aside from those problems, moisture can get trapped inside the lug nut, which causes corrosion.

When the lug nuts swell, it can fuse the cap and the core to the point where you will need to drill or use a welding torch to get them off.

The vehicles affected by this defect are the following:

  • Fusion
  • Flex
  • Focus
  • F-150
  • F-350
  • F-250

Most models manufactured post-2010

6. Fuel Injection

These problems are almost exclusive with Fords with EcoBoost engines. Ford EcoBoost engine problems occur when carbon is built upon the valves of the engine. The culprit is with direct fuel injection. Some fuel gets inefficiently burnt up, which in the long run, harms the engine.

Ford was made aware of this problem and has since revised the design of their 3.5L and 2.7L EcoBoost engines in 2018.

If you have a Ford that is 2017 or older and you are having engine problems, one of the first places to look is in the fuel injection system.  

7. Head Gasket Oil Leak

One of the most common issues you’ll see on a Ford F-150 is an oil leak on the passenger side head gasket. Symptoms of this problem are oil leaking on to the starter, oil spots occurring when you park, low oil levels.

The best plan of action is to either get the leak sealed or replace the head gasket.

8. EGR Malfunction

When the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) sensor fails, you will start to experience rough idling. This is caused by dirt or debris getting caught in the valve or its components being worn out. 

The good thing about this problem is the computer will throw a code that will tell you that the problem is coming from the EGR sensor. The best course of action is to get it replaced.

9. Fuel Pump Failure

The fuel pump driver module has been a sore spot for the 5.4 liter Ford engine. Multiple owners have reported that the fuel pump driver module corrodes quickly leaves holes in the aluminum housing. 

When this happens, the electronics will be exposed, which will lead to the fuel pump failing to deliver gas, thus creating starting problems.

How to Avoid These Engine Problems

No wants to experience any types of engine problems. They’re hard to fix, engine replacement can be expensive, and most components require removing many different parts to complete the job.

The best way to prevent these common Ford engine problems is by familiarizing yourself with these common problems and keeping up with your regular maintenance. If this article helped you be sure to give this a share!

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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