Best & Worst Ford F-250 Years

We've taken a closer look at every Ford F-250 from 1999 until the latest model and categorized the best & worst years in this guide.

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Ford F-250 generations, revealing the best Ford F-250 years to buy and the worst F-250 years to avoid.

With comprehensive data from trusted platforms like NHTSA, VehicleHistory, and Cars.com, combined with in-depth research and expert analysis, I’ll provide detailed information about the most and least reliable Ford F-250 years.

From its initial design and engineering feats in earlier models to the most common problems like the “death wobble,” I’ve covered the essential aspects every prospective owner or enthusiast should know.

Let’s dive right in.

Related:Best & Worst Ford F-150 YearsBest & Worst Ford Edge YearsBest & Worst Ford Explorer Years

Table of ContentsShow

Ford F-250 Generations

The Ford F-250, a member of the revered F-Series lineup, has long been synonymous with strength, reliability, and American craftsmanship. The F-250’s journey began with its first generation that rolled out in the late ’90s.

Here’s a concise table showing the generations of the Ford F-250 from 1999 to 2022:

GenerationYears
1st generation (PHN131)1999-2007
2nd generation (P356)2008-2010
3rd generation (P473)2011-2016
4th generation (P558)2017-2022

The generational changes might often be the determining factor for many when deciding which year or model of the Ford F-250 to invest in.

Ford F-250 Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

We consider numerous factors when determining the best and worst Ford F-250 years, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • Cars.com owner ratings

Next, a comprehensive graph will visually represent all the combined ratings sourced from the platforms.

Ford F 250 Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Following that, we’ve categorized each model year as the best, neutral, and worst Ford F-250 years based on the collective insights from our research.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (PHN131)2002
2003
2005
2006
2007
1999
2000
2001
2nd generation (P356)2010N/A2008
2009
3rd generation (P473)2013
2014
2015
2016
N/A2011
2012
4th generation (P558)2020
2021
2022
N/A2017
2018
2019

“Neutral Years” are model years that have generally balanced out in terms of pros and cons, presenting a middle-ground choice for potential buyers.

Some factors, such as NHTSA recalls, have a negative impact on our assessment. The higher the number of complaints and recalls, the lower the year’s reliability.

Now, let’s dive into the specifications of Ford F-250’s best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Ford F-250 1st Generation (1999-2007)

Ford F 250 1st generation 1999 model
The 1999 Ford F-250

Introduced in 1999, the 1st Generation Ford F-250 marked Ford’s intent to dominate the heavy-duty truck market.

2002 and 2003 are marked as the best Ford F-250 years of the generation, while the earlier – 1999 and 2000 are the Ford F-250 years to avoid.

The Best Years: 2002, 2003

With outstanding performance and reliable engine options, 2002 and 2003 are Ford F-250’s best years in the first generation.

The most significant highlight of these years is the 7.3l Power Stroke V8 engine. Historically celebrated for its robustness and durability, this engine was pivotal in establishing the F-250’s reputation in the heavy-duty truck segment.

Other engines included 4.2 Essex V6, 5.4l Triton V8, and 6.8l Triton V10 paired with 4, 5, and 6-speed automatic and manual transmissions.

Technological enhancements in these years included upgrades to the infotainment system and advanced safety features, such as improved braking systems and airbag deployment.

The Neutral Years: 2005, 2006, 2007

The years 2005 through 2007 represent a period of both advancements and problems for the Ford F-250.

These models offered the 6.0L Power Stroke V8 engine. Trim options expanded further with the introduction of the King Ranch edition, boasting premium leather upholstery and enhanced interior detailing.

Technological strides were made by integrating a more user-friendly infotainment system and advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control.

However, these years were not without their problems. The 6.0L Power Stroke V8 engine was less reliable than the previous 7.3l V8.

The unsettling “death wobble” phenomenon, where the truck would shake uncontrollably after hitting a bump, became a significant concern.

Ford’s advisory to maintain tire pressures below the designated levels was a stop-gap measure, but it did underline the gravity of the issue.

The Worst Years: 1999, 2000, 2001

Despite being reliable for its time, 1999 and 2000 are the Ford F-250 years to avoid considering their age and alternatives like the 2002 and 2003 F-250 models.

The 5.4l Triton V8 engine, while decent in its performance, faced numerous complaints regarding sparkplug blowouts, drawing parallels to issues seen in the F-150 models of the same period.

Fuel tank strap corrosion became another prevalent issue, leading to potential safety hazards.

Transmission problems surfaced, with owners reporting jerky transitions and unanticipated stalling.

The subsequent 2000 and 2001 Ford F-250 models carried forward many of these concerns, with additional problems emerging.

One notable issue was a pronounced vibration during driving, often attributed to flaws in the suspension system.

See NHTSA 1999, 2000, 2001 Ford F-250 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Ford F-250 2nd Generation (2008-2010)

Ford F 250 2nd generation 2008 model
The 2008 Ford F-250

The 2nd Generation of the Ford F-250, introduced in 2008, was designed to address the shortcomings of the first generation.

However, with the owners’ 4.2 Kelley Blue Book score, this generation didn’t do too much. I recommend you stay away from this generation completely, but in any case, 2010 is the best Ford F-250 year of this generation.

The Best Years: 2010

With fewer NHTSA-reported complaints and recalls, 2010 was the Ford F-250’s best year in the second generation.

It featured the 5.4L Triton V8 and the more powerful 6.8L Triton V10 paired with the improved TorqShift 5-speed automatic transmission. However, the fuel economy was poor, with figures at 7 mpg for the city and 16 mpg for highway driving.

Trim levels remained diverse with the introduction of the Harley Davidson edition.

Technologically, the 2010 F-250 witnessed the inclusion of the Ford Sync system, enhancing connectivity and infotainment experiences for the user.

Ford integrated the Trailer Sway Control system and the Hill Start Assist feature to ensure stability and control in demanding driving conditions.

The “death wobble” issue also persisted in the 2010 Ford F-250.

The Worst Years: 2008, 2009

2009 and particularly problematic 2008 are undeniably the Ford F-250 years to avoid.

The 2008 Ford F-250 saw many recalls and owner complaints on NHTSA.

Key concerns revolved around the loss of power steering, the notorious “death wobble,” and alarming coolant leakage from the radiator.

The vehicle suffered from a performance standpoint, as evidenced by its low VehicleHistory ratings.

The 2009 Ford F-250 continued to grapple with the “death wobble” issue.

These two years were also critiqued for their subpar fuel efficiency, clocking in at a mere 7 mpg for city drives and 16 mpg on the highway.

The 2008 and 2009 models were rated lower on platforms like Cars.com, showcasing a tangible dip in owner satisfaction.

See NHTSA 2008, 2009, 2010 Ford F-250 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Ford F-250 3rd Generation (2011-2016)

Ford F 250 3rd generation 2011 model
The 2011 Ford F-250

The 3rd Generation of the Ford F-250 was unveiled in 2011, presenting itself as a more refined and technologically advanced variant in Ford’s line of heavy-duty trucks.

With standout owner ratings, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 are undoubtedly the best Ford F-250 years, while the early – 2011 and 2012 are the Ford F-250 years to avoid in this generation.

The Best Years: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

With excellent VehicleHistory, J.D. Power, and Cars.com ratings, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 are marked as this generation’s most reliable Ford F-250 years.

Engine options for these peak years included the 6.2L Boss SOHC gasoline V8 and the highly regarded 6.7L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel.

The years saw the Platinum edition’s inclusion in trim options. The King Ranch and Lariat trims also received updates, primarily focusing on enhancing interior luxury and connectivity.

The technological realm witnessed Ford incorporating its advanced MyFord Touch infotainment system, which offered improved navigation, connectivity, and audio experiences.

As for safety, Ford augmented its suite of features to include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and the SOS Post Crash Alert System, ensuring heightened security for both the driver and passengers.

Another highlight of these years was the improved fuel efficiency, registering an average of 11 mpg in the city and a commendable 23 mpg on the highway.

The Worst Years: 2011, 2012

The initial years of the generation – 2011 and 2012 saw relatively higher numbers of owner complaints than the later years, so they are categorized as the Ford F-250 years to avoid.

Owners reported several engine problems, such as stalling, particularly in diesel variants.

The 2011 Ford F-250 also experienced grievances regarding fractured exhaust manifold bolts, which was particularly widespread in trucks equipped with the 6.7L Power Stroke engines.

The “death wobble” phenomenon, a recurring issue from past generations, once again reared its head, with many owners expressing concerns about vehicle stability, especially at higher speeds.

Fuel efficiency, while better than the previous generation, still hadn’t reached the zenith that the later years of this generation would achieve.

The 2012 Ford F-250 continued to be haunted by the ghost of the “death wobble.” The majority of owner complaints still revolved around this troubling vibration issue.

See NHTSA 2011, 2012 Ford F-250 recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Ford F-250 4th Generation (2017-2022)

Ford F 250 4th generation 2017 model
The 2017 Ford F-250

As the years rolled on, the 4th Generation of the Ford F-250 emerged in 2017, continuing Ford’s legacy of blending rugged functionality with modern luxury in their line of heavy-duty trucks.

2017 is the Ford F-250 year to “avoid like the plague” due to the “death wobble” phenomena and numerous recalls, while 2020, 2021, and 2022 are the best Ford F-250 years of the generation.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2022

2020, 2021, and 2022 are undeniably the Ford F-250’s best-performing years in this generation, with outstanding Edmunds and J.D. Power scores.

The 7.3L V8 gas engine and the reinvigorated 6.7L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel powered these vehicles.

These engines, especially the latter, were praised for their immense torque, overall efficiency, and reliability, addressing past concerns from previous years.

The trim levels saw the introduction and refinement of the Lariat Sport Package and the XLT Black Appearance Package, among others.

Regarding technology, Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, with its larger touchscreen, intuitive user interface, and wireless connectivity, set new standards in the truck segment.

The F-250 became a front-runner with the inclusion of the Ford Co-Pilot360, offering features like a Blind Spot Information System, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, and more.

The Worst Years: 2017, 2018, 2019

What years did the Ford F-250 have the death wobble? Throughout the article, you already know that the “death wobble” complaints started from the 2005 F-250.

The highest number of the “death wobble” reports was observed in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Ford F-250 years.

Additionally, the 2017 Ford F-250 faced a myriad of recalls, including issues like a cloudy camera lens, which affected rear visibility, block heater cable splice connector corrosion, doors that wouldn’t lock, and problems with driveshaft imbalance and fracture.

The 2018 Ford F-250 still saw the “death wobble” as prevailing. This problem was so persistent that it also found its way into the 2019 F-250, along with new recalls related to potential failures in both front and rear axles.

Though improved from past generations, fuel efficiency during these years couldn’t match the efficiency figures achieved by the models in the subsequent years.

See NHTSA 2017, 2018, 2019 Ford F-250 recalls and complaints.

Ford F-250 Average Resale Values

The graph below illustrates the Ford F-250’s average resale values for each model year.

Ford F 250 Average List Price

Conclusion

After an exhaustive analysis of the Ford F-250’s history, it’s evident that 2013-2016 and 2020-2021 moels stand out as the best Ford F-250 years in terms of reliability and value.

Based on your personal experiences or research, which specific model year of the Ford F-250 resonated the most with you, and why?

Share your experiences with the Ford F-250 in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.