2018 Ford Flex Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle structure, steering and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

In the world of seven-passenger vehicles, the 2018 Ford Flex receives lots of attention. After all, the automaker claims that the newest lineup is “built for together adventures,” but current owners want nothing to do with this crossover. This Ford SUV suffers from faulty steering, a poorly-built structure and a dangerous engine malfunction.


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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Ford Flex

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electronic Stability Control

Problems with the Steering

When a person purchases the 2018 Ford Flex, they don’t expect to face costly repair bills, but that’s what’s happening with the steering system.

One Cars.com review talks about the situation. “I have a very bad experience with this Ford Flex Limited FWD model. Very Very Bad Vehicle, Parts not available. Every 3 to 4 months ends up in the mechanic shop. Steering controls fell apart, had to replace Steering shaft costing $1200+ tax. Steering lines started to leak, parts not available anywhere in Canadian dealership. Steering pump had to be replaced parts not available anywhere in Canadian dealership. Do not waste your money in Ford vehicles.”

It turns out that this is only the start of the steering issues. Ford issued Service Bulletin #SSM 47426, which talks about some vehicles that have inoperable turn signals because of a defective steering column multifunction switch. The automaker wants owners to experience adventures without the use of a turn signal. Wonder how many accidents that has caused?

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

Considering that this vehicle is built to hold seven people, it needs to be constructed of high-quality materials that will hold up, but that’s not the case.

Just look at what this Cars.com user says, “I would give 10 plus on my 2018 Ford Flex but driving with wind sound is crazy and cannot be fixed. My Flex before, about 3 years younger, was air tight to being sound proof. This 2018 FLex would not of been leased if I knew my ride was going to be so loud to the point I just don’t want it. Wish I kept my last Flex. Huge disappointment.”

Aside from wind in the cabin, there are more serious concerns to discuss. Service Bulletin #SSM 48130 says that some Flex models might end up with a distorted glass and orange peel pattern with streaking etching in the glass surface. The root cause is the hydrofluoric acid used by some car washes. Obviously, Ford assumes that people are going to have their SUV washed, but doesn’t care. In fact, the automaker explicitly states that “hydrofluoric acid damage is not a defect in material or workmanship and is not a warrantable condition.” What manufacturer uses materials that can’t handle a car wash? The moral of the story is that owners shouldn’t wash their Flex after taking that family adventure. Instead, it should just remain dirty as not to destroy the glass.

Problems with the Engine

Finally, it’s time to look at the engine. To have grand adventures with the entire family, the vehicle must have a potent engine under the hood, but this model is simply a disappointment.

One NHTSA complaint states, “I have a 2018 Ford Flex with 900 miles on it. I took my first road trip in 8-4-2018 and while accelerating hard to get onto the interstate, I noticed exhaust fumes were coming into the cabin at an alarming rate. I had to slow down and roll the windows down it got so bad, my eyes were burning, felt sick and my chest felt funny. I tried it several more times with the same results. It seems like it happens worse when I have max air on. Normal city driving, I don’t notice it. I can’t tell if it’s coming thru the vents or the seal on the back door.”

Sadly, this problem has been talked about numerous times with several recent Ford models, but the company has yet to do anything about it. Instead, they try to distract by talking about other engine-related issues. Service Bulletin #TSB-2212 states that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine might face a powertrain malfunction, illuminated malfunction indicator lamp, Service Advanced Trac message and a lack of power. All of these problems can be caused by a faulty manifold absolute pressure or temperature sensor. One thing is for sure; this Flex shouldn’t be taken on any family adventures. It’s not even worthy to drive down the street.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Ford pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Share your story

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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