2020 Ford F-150 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain, engine, electrical system, and faulty airbag issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

America’s best-selling lineup of trucks is supposed to be “built Ford tough.” However, troubles with the 2020 Ford F-Series have the attention of critics. Owners of the 2020 F-150  lineup are now dealing with all sorts of issues that relate to just about every part of the car from the electrical system  to malfunctioning engines and powertrains, a noncompliant rearview camera, and faulty airbags that result in serious injuries.

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Most Common Problems

Between May 25, 2020, and January 4, 2023, 176 consumers filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2020 Ford F-150. In total, more than 20 components and systems are mentioned.

The very first complaint was from an owner in New Hampshire about transmission issues. Subsequently, another 45 people filed complaints about the powertrain. Many of these mention problems with the transmission, but there are also engine and other issues filed in this category. There are 35 complaints in the engine category and 30 filed about the electrical system. There are also a total of 27 complaints about visibility, mostly relating to windshield wipers failing.

While there are only 5 complaints about airbags, 4 of these report that the airbags didn’t deploy in a crash. All 4 report injuries.

Additionally, there are 8 recalls for the 2020 F-150 that affect the electrical system, powertrain, visibility, exterior lighting, seats, and tires of the truck. There is also an open investigation into a noncompliant rearview camera.

2020 Ford F-150 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings

Problems with the Transmission

As part of the powertrain, the transmission is the top component to evaluate. As a towing rated truck, the F-Series truck needs to be equipped with powerful powertrain parts to get the job done. But this is another area that people are concerned about.

Of the 46 complaints about the F-150’s powertrain, more than half of them relate to transmission problems. Typically, while driving at various speeds, drivers experience hard shifts when shifting between gears. Some complaints say that the transmission makes a high-pitch whining noise when they accelerate at low speed from the 3rd to 8th gear.

Here’s an example of a typical complaint that comes from an owner in Maryland. “The vehicle has an automated 10-speed transmission that hesitates, bangs, and, at times, jerks as it is shifting. On Jan 2, 2023, the vehicle paused in an intersection as if it shifted into neutral. While intermittent, the hesitation and bangs are more frequently noticeable while shifting occurs from 7th to 8th gear. I have also noticed hesitation and banging when the vehicle shifts from 4th to 3rd gear, but not as often as 7th to 8th. There have been no indicator lights or messages from the dashboard display indicating a problem. There are several articles and some class action suits regarding the same issues with respect to Ford’s 10-speed transmission. My vehicle has not been recalled for this issue.”

Then there was an owner from Colorado who was told in July 2022 that the change in shifting he noticed in the transmission was “common with this year and model. I took his word for it.” But by September 2022, it had become gradually worse “from shifting to drive and into reverse the truck has slammed into gear on 3 occasions, upshift rough as well as downshift.”

Causes of Transmission Issues

While the problem certainly is common for the 2020 Ford F-150, nobody seems to know what causes it.

On April 2, 2020, less than two months before the first NHTSA complaint by someone in New Hampshire on May 25 about the faulty transmission, Ford issued a recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V197000 is a powertrain problem, but it doesn’t refer to the now common transmission issues drivers are reporting. Rather, it states that more than 55,000 vehicles have a 10-speed automatic transmission with a faulty shift cable lock clip that allows the equipment to be in a different gear other than what’s indicated on the gear shift. If this occurs, the chance of an accident is much higher.

On June 1, 2022, an owner from California was on the freeway going 65 mph on California I-80.” I had my 2020 Ford F-150 on cruise control, and the transmission was in gear 10. Out of nowhere, the transmission jumped down to 2nd gear, and the truck jerked back instantly. I lost control and had to slam on the brakes and pull over to the side. I turned the truck off, waited 5 mins, and turned it back on. The Ford 10-speed transmission would jump from 2nd gear to 7th gear, then back to 1st gear.

“I had the truck towed into Frontier Ford in San Jose, CA. They found that the transmission gear blew apart inside the transmission bay. Ford replaced it under warranty; however, the issues are coming back again, harsh shifting, loss of power, and gear slipping. I feel unsafe driving my truck, and Ford keeps telling me nothing is wrong with it, and they can’t do anything else. They already replaced the transmission with a brand new one; however, it still has the same issues.”

Engine Problems

Reported engine problems are very varied, from bad rattling to engine failure. But by far the most common problem mentioned in NHTSA complaints is that the engine shuts off suddenly and a message stating “auto start stop shift to P, then restart engine.”

An owner from Florida says, “This is a very dangerous event. If it should occur in heavy traffic, (it) could result in serious injury or death.” His complaint goes on to say, “a quick check shows other owners reporting this event with their vehicles on this official site as well as on many unofficial forums, indicating that this is a common occurrence with the product and not this specific vehicle.”

An owner from West Virginia states this has happened twice “while driving (at) 35 mph and attempting to accelerate.” The vehicle independently powered down and was restarted to keep driving.”

An owner from Wisconsin says it is “extremely dangerous and a safety issue that Ford needs to fix. I was in the middle of an intersection and thankful no other vehicles (were) approaching. I had to shift to Park, turn (the) ignition, switch off, and restart (the) engine.

The wife of an owner from Virginia lost motive and electronic power while driving at 55 mph. “The vehicle rolled to a complete stop. After approximately five minutes a message on the center display stated, ‘Shift vehicle to Park and restart’.” She was able to restart and drive home, but they had the F-150 towed to a local dealer the next day. “The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired.”

Problems with the Electrical System

More than a third (11) of the electrical complaints are combined with complaints in the powertrain and/or engine categories. As with the engine, complaints are varied.

For example, an owner from Texas complains that with only 355.7 miles on the clock of his F-150, he was warned “charging system service now.” Another owner from Texas states that the “Front passenger door will not unlock with (the) key fob or driver door unlock button.” He had it repaired but the issue recurred. An owner from Alabama states that the backup camera failed to work within days of buying the truck. The “Driver’s side door lock does not engage with (the) remote. Works only with (the) key to access or lock.” He said it was “unacceptable” to be told that the estimated repair times would be weeks vs. days

On September 23, 2020, Ford issued a recall warning that reduced “rearward visibility” caused by a distorted or inoperative rearview camera can increase the risk of a crash. Ford dealers were to replace the camera free of charge.

For months, until at least May 2021, owners were complaining that the camera was still on backorder, so the recall couldn’t be completed.

As many as 620,246 vehicles manufactured in 2020 are affected, though the F-150 is only one of many. The reason cited is that there is “a poor electrical connection” that causes the rearview camera to “intermittently display a blank or distorted image.”

In May 2021, Ford let dealers know that some of their 2020 vehicles, including the F-150, had a factory-installed backup camera that didn’t conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This resulted in an NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), which is still open.

Faulty Airbags

Since the 1999 model year, the U.S. federal government has required automakers to install driver and passenger airbags for frontal impact protection in all cars, light trucks, and vans. This is for good reason. Airbags are designed to protect passengers from injury in the event of an accident. So, when airbags fail, this is a very serious safety issue.

A total of 4 complaints about the Ford F-150 airbags reveal that people were injured whenever they didn’t deploy.

In March 2022, a couple from Illinois was stopped at a stop in Hot Springs, Arkansas. “Another vehicle ran into us, almost head-on, at an estimated 30 mph. There was considerable damage to the front end of our truck. The airbags did not deploy. We were taken to hospital. My wife has some broken bones in her back and has experienced significant pain since the accident.”

A New York owner was involved in an accident in his new Ford F-150 King Ranch in March 2021. The truck was struck in the rear passenger door by another vehicle causing them “to spin out 2 times at 60 mph.” The truck hit the center concrete divider almost head-on. “The airbags didn’t deploy. The canisters on the side impact airbags opened and the powder was all over, but the bags didn’t deploy. I don’t think this was normal and feel it should be looked at. There was $31,000 damage to the vehicle, which wasn’t totaled.” Two people were injured in the crash.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

If you think you have a lemon, you can call the experts and let them 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.

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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
  • Vinnie K

    I developed a very hard shifting problem with my 2020 F150 10 speed transmission. I couldn’t stand driving my truck that had less than 30k on the odometer. This shifting problem came from nowhere. Being ASE certified, I knew it wasn’t a hardware problem. So I brought the truck to Girard Ford in Norwich, Connecticut. They put their transmission GURU on it. It’s been great ever since. Drove back to Florida with no hiccups. A reprogramming is all that was needed. I still have that 5.0 engine tap/knock at idle. Great oil pressure. Just seems to be the nature of the beast. My 2017 had it too.


    The truck goes through a quart of oil every 2000 miles. We bought it brand new. Ford knows there is a problem with the engine and that it eats oil because of a leak, so they made the oil reserve tank larger…. it holds 9 quarts of oil, to be safe. We have tried to get them to do something about the engine, and the best advice was for us to go run it for 5000 miles and when it fails, they will give us a new motor. Do we have a lemon?

  • Jeff w

    I’ve had zero issues with my 2020 F150 FX4 5.0L regular cab. The Coyote engine is a beast, and still gets average of 19.5mpg.

  • Mike p

    Trying to get navigation issues fixed. 2cnd time I’ve had the truck to the dealer for this issue. Today left the dealership and the navigation did not even know where it was. First two trips were related to starter wiring, which I suspected and told them about, after I replaced the battery which did not work, and truck was towed 2 times to dealer. I’m a fan of Ford but I think I have a gremlin filled pos this time. Only 22000 Miles. I’m afraid I’m going to have to dump this truck and go to Toyota dammit

  • Shamil A

    Purchased this “Brand New 2020 Ford F150 06/2020, Two months ago, I heard an annoying sound in the rear of the truck, the sound is like colliding between loss parts and hitting the bottom of the truck bed ., this sound appear when the truck began to turn back and when the truck started to start or when it started to stop gradually. The dealer service department said these sounds were due to clumps of insulation for the rear springs and they replaced these parts (clumps ), the sound reappeared after a week of repairing it and was worse than before, and now the service’s department says that this sound is normal in the Ford truck, I don’t believe what they said for this issue.s–pls if anybody has the same issue in his 2020 F150 let me know how he fixed it ,,

  • Kevin L

    Just purchased a nice used 2020 F-150 XLT with 17K Mi , second day normal driving noticed while waiting for the signal to change to green the motor shut off , this happend several times before i got home. during these intances i noticed when slightly lifting off brake petal or slightly moving colume shift arm , the motor would start back up ! Has anybody experianced this or know why this is happening ?

  • Cody

    2020 F150 with 3.5Ecoboost, IF the truck starts it will not come out of park. Then once you turn it off it will not turn back on. You can easily start it with the remote start then once the key is in the truck it will shut off. I have had the dealer address it twice, they replaced the PCM, still has not fixed the problem. It is unreliable and I don’t even want it anymore.

  • Ray C

    My 1,500 mile F150 King Ranch Console Media Bin Door was stuck in the closed position. My house keys were in the console so I had to force the door open, now the door won’t close. I see on the internet that there is a Ford TSB about this same problem for 2015 to 2019 F150s. On a call to setup an appointment, the dealer service person claims the door was redesigned so the TSB does not apply. So not sure what to expect when i go for appointment except I don’t believe I should be monetarily responsible for the failure repair.

  • Thomas M

    2020 Ford F-150, what a piece of junk!!! Two weeks after purchasing my camera was failing. The recall was issued and it was 3 months before the new camera would even be available for replacement from Ford. Now I have 15 trouble codes popping up and I had to limp back to the dealership for repairs on 7-14-2021. They put me in a Ford Edge, which is not a truck. I bought a truck because that is what I need on a daily basis, not a mid size SUV! They have had my truck for two weeks with no updates or timeline as to when I would be back in my truck! They said they’ve called Ford for trouble shooting tips, but haven’t gotten anywhere. This post was on 7-29-2021

  • Pam i

    My 2020 F150 Platinum has had issues with transmission from the start. My first visit to the dealer (Joe Myers Ford) was @ 1000 miles with loud knocking noise when trying to accelerate (and fail)after being in park. At red lights often the car hesitates and you can feel the vehicle “trying” to move but doesn’t until I put it in park several times before it corrects itself. It was back at the dealer @ 12,000 miles, same issue and the dealership said they don’t have codes to bill Ford so they can’t explain it properly on the paperwork?? Yet, said they ran tests and it was fixed, found no problems. Today, @ 14,000 miles it’s back at the dearlership for the same issue! This should not happen to a new truck.

  • Pam H

    Bought a 2020 F150 in October, now after an app update on3/31/21, My front crash sensor and backup sensor is not working, also I get message that the app is not responding so I can’t start truck from inside My house, what’s up with this? Please tell Me this can be a simple fix!

  • Eddie

    Purchased this “Brand New 2020 Ford F150 02/14/2021 upon driving the vehicle, there is an obnoxious rattle from the dash along with a hump/warping, I advised the dealership where I purchased it from and the salesman said that’s just how it is, I then took it to service and they submitted the request to ford and got approval for a dash replacement still waiting on that to happen as it has been approximately two weeks. Today 03/08/2021 I notice lagging in the transmission when take off and when I start up the truck the whole truck moves.

  • Russell M

    2020 F-150 STX. Front camera has not worked since I bought the truck. Had an appointment and I couldn’t drop the truck off. When I went to the appointment the part they ordered for my truck was gone. Also the radio cannot be programmed. If you try once the truck is turned off the radio goes back to Am stations and you have to find a station manually.

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