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

Electrical, steering and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

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. This lineup now deals with electrical system issues, a defective structure, malfunctioning powertrain and uncertain steering.

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Problems with the Electrical System

Looking at just the electrical system, truck enthusiasts hoped that this 2020 Ford pickup would provide everything they wanted. Once driven, it became clear that all of the models only offered disappointment.

One NHTSA review states, “Backup camera fails to work within days of truck purchase. Driver’s side door lock does not engage with remote. Works only with key to access or lock. Estimated repair times given are weeks vs. days. Unacceptable.”

There are larger complaints that customers should be aware of. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V805000 states that more than 135,000 vehicles may have an excessive amount of sealant on the battery cable. This could lead to trouble with the instrument panel display and safety systems. It also reveals itself through reduced braking or additional steering efforts, as well as a resistive short. In these cases, a fire is more likely. To test Ford’s toughness, maybe the automaker is trying to set the pickup on fire to see how it responds. It’s unclear how many people want to sign up to be the test dummies in this experiment.

Problems with Vehicle Structure

Being defined as a “tough” truck brings many responsibilities with it. However, the structure of this pickup can’t live up to its name.

Just look at this NHTSA review. “Ford tonneau truck bed cover came apart at 75 mph on I-10 in LA. Rear third section weighing 10-20 pounds completely separated. Luckily stayed on the truck bed. Fortunately it did not go airborne and strike the vehicle behind me. Cover was flipped in one section up, no securement is available at this position and directions are not visible. Vehicle (tonneau cover) only had 5,500 miles on it.”

The trouble moves onto the seats as well. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V633000 states that nearly 640,000 vehicles are constructed with seats that might not have the support and security needed to hold up in an accident. There is another recall that addresses the integrity of Ford trucks. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V097000 states that 166,000 vehicles are equipped with daytime running lights that will not deactivate, leading to a reduction in visibility for other drivers. It’s almost as if Ford is attempting to create an accident, just to see how the equipment will hold up. Again, customers are unwittingly becoming crash test dummies, and are paying to be in this position.

Problems with the Transmission

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

Here is another NHTSA complaint. “After 6 weeks of ownership and 1000 miles of usage, I had a few examples of potential transmission issues. First I had a couple of examples of clunks when beginning to drive immediately after start up. A couple days ago I had the worst experience yet. After pulling into a parking spot to wait for a curbside pickup, I turned off the engine for about 5 minutes. Upon restart, I shifted into Drive and gave a little gas as I pulled away from spot going forward. There was a loud clunk and the truck jerked before driving normally. Even my wife noticed and made a comment on the severity of this instance. A little while later, still driving after the start up from parking spot, I experienced a hesitation when pulling away from a stop light and slowed down to make a quick left turn. After turning, there was a noticeable hesitation before resuming normal driving conditions. Today once again I noticed a slight hesitation pulling from a stop light though not as severe as last time.”

It comes as no surprise that this truck is plagued by yet another recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V197000 states that more than 55,000 vehicles have a ten-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. Every issue continues to point back to Ford trying to get owners into an accident. All of the major systems continue to fail, putting people at risk. Maybe, it’s time to rethink the slogan and talk about Ford’s weakness instead.

Problems with the Steering

To round out the complaints, one must also look at the steering troubles.

Here’s another NHTSA review discussing the problem. “Brand new F-150 Crew Cab 4×4 V8. Currently have less than 700 miles. On three occasions upon starting there was no power steering assist. Each time I turned off the ignition and restarted. Power steering was available upon restart. Is power steering likely to quit while driving?”

Part of steering is having functional tires and wheels. Yet, this area is part of a recall as well. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V903000 states the 17-inch spare tire might be damaged and could cause an accident if used on the truck. Whether it is the tires, steering, powertrain, structure or electrical system, the F-Series is just a pickup that’s designed to put people at risk. Hopefully the owners are also “built tough.”

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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
  • 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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