Ford Ranger Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Ford Ranger reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

Can an oil cooler keep the transmission cool in my 2014 Ford Ranger?

Answered by CarsGuide 13 Apr 2021

If you talk to automatic transmission specialists, you’ll soon be told that it’s impossible to over-cool such a gearbox. An aftermarket transmission cooler is designed to work in conjunction with the vehicle’s standard transmission cooling system, so disabling the standard cooler is probably not a great idea.

The problem with coolant entering the transmission is not an unknown one with some Ford (and other manufacturer’s) models and occurs when the standard cooler fails, allowing coolant into the gearbox and destroying the electronics and the gearbox hardware in short order. Unfortunately, this is a design thing rather than a maintenance issue, so the best thing you can do is service the vehicle regularly and make sure that the coolant is changed regularly. Even then, however, swarf from the production process (according to one theory at least) has been known to circulate through the radiator and cause damage to the piping that forms the transmission cooler. A radiator clean and flush might help stave off this process.

If the manufacturer of the aftermarket cooler you’ve fitted can guarantee that the unit will cool at least as effectively as the standard unit on the Ranger, then you might consider disconnecting the standard cooler. Even so, you’d be wise to keep an eye on transmission temperatures, particularly if you tow anything or travel at high speed in high ambient temperatures.

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Is a Mazda BT-50 or Ford Ranger better for touring?

Answered by CarsGuide 20 Nov 2020

It’s nice to see somebody taking the long view when it comes to vehicle ownership. Cars have become an increasingly throw-away commodity, and it seems a shame that all that engineering and development doesn’t get a longer lifespan.

The BT-50 and Ranger you’ve nominated are, fundamentally, the same vehicles under the skin, so the choice will come down to the options fitted and the trim level that combines the features you want in one package. As a rule of thumb, the five-cylinder engine option will do a better job of hauling a slide-on camper into a headwind and will always be worth more as a trade-in (although that’s clearly not a concern for you).

If you’re planning to keep the vehicle up to 300,000km, there’s a very good chance you’ll need to spend some money on the vehicle’s direct injection system at some point. A set of injectors and filters as well as an injector pump are all likely to need replacement over the distance you’ve nominated. That said, all modern common rail diesels seem to be in the same boat here, but if you’re prepared to service the vehicle religiously, then those expenses should be kept to a minimum. Take it as read, though, that a modern turbo-diesel will not appreciate neglect in this area.

The other thing to watch out for is a vehicle that has already had a hard working life, as these dual-cabs often have. The tray-back you want also means the vehicle is likely to have been a work truck rather than a lifestyle accessory, so have any prospect checked independently before handing over the money.

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Why does my 2015 Ford Ranger cut out for no reason?

Answered by CarsGuide 18 Sep 2020

It sounds very much like a computer problem rather than a hardware issue. When you switch the engine off and then back on again, you’re actually rebooting the on-board computer. I’d be trying a replacement ECU module (borrowed from another Ranger) to see if that fixes the problem. The problem is that because the reboot fixes the issue (temporarily) it might also re-set the computer’s memory, meaning it can’t `remember’ what went wrong and, therefore, won’t offer up the correct fault codes when you scan it. That said, I’d definitely give it a scan and see what pops up.

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What is causing the clutch to get stuck in my 2013 Ford Ranger?

Answered by CarsGuide 16 Sep 2020

A clutch pedal that won’t return is either sticking (due to friction) has a broken or weak return spring or is throwing out beyond the point it should (like an athlete hyper-extending their knee). How that’s related to the gear-lever locking up is anybody’s guess, but it’s true that if the clutch isn’t disengaging properly (which could be the case if the clutch pedal isn’t doing its thing properly) then the car will refuse to select gears and that can feel like the lever is jammed. Switch the engine off and see if the gears will then select. If so, I’d say the clutch is not disengaging and you may have to pull it all apart again to find out why.

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What is causing the automatic gearbox to clunk in my 2014 Mazda BT-50?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Sep 2020

This model Mazda BT-50 and its Ford Ranger counterpart (they’re the same vehicle under the skin) have had their share of automatic transmission problems over the years. There are known problems with the gears in the oil pump which are prone to wear, valve-body problems and a fault with the output shaft speed sensor which can also fail, forcing the gearbox back into first gear at relatively high speeds. All these problems could be contributing factors in the problems you’re seeing.

While EGR valves often need replacement (and I’m not disputing that yours did) I don’t imagine the EGR valve would have had anything to do with your gearbox problem. It’s not uncommon – nor unreasonable - for workshops to charge a diagnosis fee (it involves workshop time, after all) but servicing the transmission alone won’t fix it if it has any of the problems I’ve listed above.

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Why does the fifth gear pop out of my 2007 Ford Ranger when I drive on the highway?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Sep 2020

The problem could be in the gearbox selectors which, as their name suggests, are the mechanical linkages that allow you to select each gear. If the selectors for fifth gear are worn or incorrectly adjusted, you could have a situation where the car is not fully selecting fifth gear, allowing it to pop out of gear when you load the transmission.

The other possibility, of course, is that, at 428,000km (a pretty good innings for one of these vehicles) the actual internal bits of the gearbox are so worn that the thing is jumping out of fifth in protest. If that’s the case, an inspected, second-hand replacement gearbox from a wrecking yard would be the most cost-effective solution.

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Is the 2007 Nissan Navara a good choice?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Sep 2020

For a few years from 2005, Nissan sold two types of Navaras in Australia - the all-new big D40 series and the old D22 that dated back from the latter 1990s. 

If you want an inexpensive, compact and hard-wearing truck that's reliable but not very refined nor comfortable, the old D22 is it. Its 3.0L turbo-diesel has proven strong and reliable in this application and the Nissan has a reputation for being as tough as nails.

The larger and newer D40, meanwhile, is the much better choice if space, safety and refinement are priorities, and remained a class-leading proposition right up until the current-generation Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Volkswagen Amarok all moved the pick-up truck game on in 2011. The Spanish-built ST-X is the choice grade, especially in turbo-diesel and 4x4 guise.

The Navara is considered a reliable and dependable truck, but many are also workhorses that lead tough lives and are often neglected or mistreated. If you're after one, please consider having it checked out first by an experienced mechanic.

Known issues include fuel-injection failure, roof rust, premature clutch wear in manual  models, electronics issues, turbo-charger failures and sagging rear springs.

Such problems can apply to any similar truck, so don't be too put off by the D40 Navara. It's a firm used-truck favourite for good reason.

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Is the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max or VW Amarok best for towing a 2.8 tonne caravan?

Answered by CarsGuide 10 Sep 2020

Every all-new MY21 Isuzu D-Max and select current versions of the Amarok and Ranger offer a 3500kg towing capacity maximum - namely all Amarok V6 autos and all Rangers EXCEPT the 4x2 XL Single Cab Chassis Low-Rider 2.2 Diesel at the bottom of the Ford range, and the 4x4 Raptor Double Cab Pick-Up 2.0L Diesel at the very top (they're both 2500kg).

Least torquey is the D-Max at 450Nm, followed by the Ranger (2.2L 4-cyl: 385Nm, 3.2L 5-cyl: 470Nm and 2.0L twin-turbo 4-cyl: 500Nm) and Amarok (550Nm to 580Nm), meaning the Amarok will probably be the least challenged towing a 2.8-tonne caravan. But all three should suffice.

Please note, however, that Gross Combined Mass (GCM) tallies means that there are other weight factors that need to be considered before safely towing a 2.8-tonne caravan, even with a 3500kg ute. These include things like the ute's payload, heavy bull bars, sports bars and side steps, canopies and even the number of people travelling inside. And of course, a fully-equipped and laden caravan can easily exceed the stated tare mass.

We hope this helps.   

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What are the known problems for a 2016 Ford Ranger?

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Sep 2020

There are many things you should look out for before buying a second-hand workhorse like an XL 4x2 ute. Most never have an easy life.

Are there signs of abuse and/or neglect? How was the tray/load bed used, was it a tow vehicle and what does the type of wear and tear does it have?  Was the vehicle off the road at any time, and why? This may indicate a major accident.

Finding answers requires a level of trust and taking the vendor's word at face value, but you can back these up with service records and history. Are they complete, and carried out by a Ford dealer or specific Ford specialist? If the answer to either is no, then that should be a red flag. In our opinion, these vehicles require specialised Ford maintenance.

Furthermore, having 15,000km service intervals is a bit of a stretch for such hard-working vehicles, so skipped ones is especially worrying.

We also recommend taking the Ranger to an independent mechanic for inspection, especially to check the body and suspension underneath for signs of over-loading or off-roading

Since the PX generation was launched in 2011 Ford has issued many recalls for the Ranger, and some are serious, including for being a fire hazard over tall grass due to exposed exhaust. The car's service history will indicate whether all recalls have been carried. You can crosscheck them at this website: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls 

Rangers are known to have issues with the automatic transmission, engine control module (ECM) failures (that send the truck into 'limp home mode' in hotter climates or after long-distance driving), air-conditioning, turbos and engine crank bearing. Most of these should be picked up by an experienced mechanical check-up before buying, or sorted out under warranty if you decide on a newer model.

This sort of advice applies to all used trucks. Fundamentally, the T6 Ranger is a solid, safe, durable, comfortable and enjoyable truck to own and drive, and remains the only one (along with the T6-based Mazda BT-50 from 2012 to mid-2020) that is designed, developed and engineered for Australian conditions, so don't be put off.

Just make sure it has history, ask pointed questions about how it's been used and don't be afraid to insist on a mechanic's report.

We hope this helps. Good luck.

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Why is the engine in my 2010 Ford Ranger losing power?

Answered by CarsGuide 31 Aug 2020

It could be the either the turbocharger or the injector pump at fault here. But equally, it could be an intake system blocked with oil and soot residue, a clogged exhaust system, worn or blocked fuel-injectors, a dirty air-filter, poor fuel quality. It could even be a dud sensor somewhere on the engine or even an electronic fault within the on-board computer. It might even be an engine that has worn out internals.

The first thing I’d do is interrogate the on-board computer to see if it offers up any fault codes that could be used to diagnose the problem. From there, it’s down to checking the mechanical stuff like the condition of the turbocharger (particularly its bearing) and even performing a leak-down and compression test to get an idea of the condition of the engine.

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