2020 Lincoln Aviator Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system and brake issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Luxury three-row SUVs are growing in popularity, with many consumers checking into the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The automaker invites customers to “discover the power of sanctuary” with this model, but all it really has to offer is danger. There have already been recalls for the fuel system, seats and braking system.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
16
Unknown Or Other
10
Service Brakes
5
Visibility/wiper
3
Exterior Lighting
3
Back Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
2
Steering
2
Power Train
2
Back Over Prevention: Camera System
2
Structure:body:door
2

Problems with the Fuel System

The vehicle’s fuel system provides the gasoline that the engine needs to run smoothly. On a luxury vehicle, the system must run smoothly to provide superior performance and exceptional economy numbers, but customers have been complaining about both.

Here is one Edmunds complaint. “I didn’t buy the hybrid, but I expected better. I’ve driven 1000 miles of mixed City/Highway driving (roughly 50/50) and gotten nowhere near the EPA combined. Driving with a light foot I can get 16.8 mpg w/ 93 octane fuel. I will probably bring this to the dealer’s attention soon in case it is a mechanical issue of some sort. I mean… I’m not driving uphill both ways to work.”

It turns out that the Aviator has more to lose than fuel economy. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V859000 states that there is a protective sleeve on the vapor fuel line that could easily chafe through and lead to a leak. If this occurs, it’s possible for the Lincoln SUV to catch on fire. For most people, the ideal of being in a “sanctuary” doesn’t include the thought of being trapped in a burning vehicle. Maybe it’s time for Lincoln to rethink the slogan?

Problems with the Seats

SUVs seats are needed to provide security, comfort and safety, yet this seems to be another area that the Aviator fails.

Read another Edmunds review illustrating some of the troubles. “As to a long trip we got the massaging seats. These seats Suck!! 6’1″ and 240 lbs my wife is 5’7 160lbs and after 1.5 hours we have to stop and walk from the pain. You can feel all of the mechanisms under the 1″ padding and I try to sin in different angles which is hard to find any spot to move into since the seats are like sport car seats (it ok for about 30-60 min).”

While this illustrates how uncomfortable the seats can be, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V633000 goes a step further to describe the safety concerns. It appears that over 639,000 vehicles might have been produced with a seat back recliner mechanism without the correct parts installed. Because of this defect, the seats might not have the strength needed to protect occupants during a crash, which could cause larger injuries. Whether the Aviator is starting on fire or refusing to hold its passengers safe during an accident, this Lincoln model is a death trap waiting to happen.

Problems with the Brakes

One last instance of trouble that could cost lives is with the braking system. While this system is made to stop the vehicle, many owners are finding it reacts quite differently.

One NHTSA complaint states, “With my car in Park, I have shifted to Drive and Reverse, and while maintaining my foot on the brake after transferring to Drive or Reverse, the car has moved by itself by approximately 3 feet before coming to a stop. Each time this has happened I was on a level surface. The dealership inspected my car but could not find anything that would cause this to happen.”

Not surprisingly, there is yet another recall that has to do with the brakes on the Aviator. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V575000 states that nearly 14,000 vehicles might not have been sold with the Manual Park Release cover intact. With this defect, the Aviator could roll away because the MPR lever could be moved unintentionally. To make matters worse, these vehicles might still be in Factory Mode, which will further disable codes and refuse to display the appropriate transmission gear. If the Aviator were actually a pilot, it would crash and burn.

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Complaint Data

CategoryLane Departure: Assist, Unknown Or Other
DateOct 02, 2022
StateNM
Description
Lane keep assist does not keep vehicle in the center of the lane, but pulls the vehicle to the left almost on top of the strip dividing lanes. Since I first purchased the lincoln aviator, the center screen used to interface with audio, hvac, settings and especially apple carplay goes completely black hence losing many controls. This has been consistent since I purchased the vehicle. Lincoln has tried to repair the vehicle several times without success. I lose the back up camera also. I have to stop and shutdown the vehicle and the screen reactivates. I have address all previous lincoln recalls on this vehicle.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateAug 18, 2022
StateTN
Description
The instrument cluster gives multiple message fault. Navigation and voice activation inoperative. Lincoln cannot resolve the issues. Lincoln has reprogrammed and reset the system and the issue still exist for over 3 months. Lincoln stated the apim must be rework and they do not know when this will be provide with new date. The phone, radio/sirius sometimes won't change and the screen freezes up at random. I have 17746 miles and still under full warranty and lincoln won't replace system.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
DateMay 28, 2022
StateFL
Description
Backup camera turns to blue screen when the vehicle is put into reverse.
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Steering
DateApr 20, 2022
StateGA
Description
This was the most recent issue I experienced with my aviator, the first being electrical after 2 months of owning it. I was driving and the car completely shut off (engine, power steering, breaking) the electrical components went crazy, but I thankfully was not on a highway as I had to guide the truck until it stopped from moving 25mph+. I went into oncoming traffic but no one was there. Then I had to turn the truck back on. The dealership towed it as it is a safety issue and with the amount of times it has been in the shop, the problems increasing are worrisome.
CategoryElectrical System
DateApr 13, 2022
StateTX
Description
The contact owns a 2020 lincoln aviator. The contact stated while driving at 45 mph on an entrance ramp onto the highway, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to respond. The warning message "stop safely now" and "full accessory power mode" were displayed. The contact veered to the side of the road for a moment. The contact then continued to drive. The contact stated that the failure reoccurred while driving. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer where it was diagnosed that no issues were found; however, the failure reoccurred. The vehicle was taken back to the local dealer where it was diagnosed that no issues were found. The contact's husband later received a warning message in his app stating, "high voltage battery". The vehicle was then taken to the dealer where unknown wires were tightened. The contact stated that the failure had been reoccurring while driving. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and a case was opened. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000.
CategoryElectrical System
DateMar 02, 2022
StateAZ
Description
The vehicle main screen locks up and does not auto dim. It has been in the shop 6 times for this problem. No repairs are fixing the problem. Extremely distracting when driving.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateFeb 17, 2022
StateCA
Description
I was driving and an alert to pull over came on. The car would not accelerate and I was in the middle of a parkway where speeds were 55 mph. It almost seemed like the car couldn't figure out to go to gas mode when the battery depleted the range. The car is a hybrid.
CategoryElectrical System
DateFeb 01, 2022
StateTX
Description
Vehicle was purchase in 12/2019 and garaged most of 2020 due to covid. Started using vehicle in late 2021 and discovered a number of electrical problems that dealt directly with the safety systems of the vehicle. False vehicle theft alarms, "pre collision assist not available" warnings continuously, "remote features disabled" notices, "hill assist warning " detected a failure, rear camera flickering, adaptive cruise control not functioning, adaptive headlights not functioning, lane keeping assist warning and corrective non functional. Myself and any passengers were put at risk because of the vehicle inoperative and failing electronics. Pedestrians and rear cross traffic were put at rick due to intermittent failures of detectors and rea camera. Vehicle was in the possession of planet lincoln, dallas for 4 different times totaling 30 days. Vehicle was examined by a ford engineer that was flown in from ford headquarters at grapevine lincoln for 5 days. Dealership or ford motors would not provide information of the issues found because of a lemon lawsuit we had filed. The issues began on or around august 2020. The last repair attempt by the ford engineer was performed in late december 2020. This attempt failed to correct all safety issues also.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJan 24, 2022
StateAZ
Description
There have been two recalls on this vehicle. One was a battery cable issue, the other is a backup camera issue. The battery cable was fixed. The backup camera has been worked on 6 times and has not been fixed. I have notified lincoln they told me to visit another dealer. After two dealerships and 6 trips, the backup camera still flashes or goes blue. The dealer cannot fix. Also, the entire main screen in the vehicle has issues with 1. Locking up (inoperable until shutting car down) 2. Screen does not automatically dim at night. Both of these issues are a huge distraction and causes us to look away from the road, or even pull over in bad areas to attempt to reset. This is also why the vehicle has been in 6 times for this issue. I believe the backup camera and screen are inter-related. Lincoln concierge has been notified. They are aware and are not fixing the issue. The vehicle is dangerous. I have videos and photos.
CategoryBack Over Prevention
DateJan 10, 2022
StateVA
Description
This vehicle has been recalled at least twice for a faulty rear camera system. When vehicle is put in reverse the image on the screen flips so bad you cannot see what is behind you. The previous recalls were for this, we had it in the shop twice before the 2 recalls plus the two recalls (4 times) and cannot get a properly working rear camera. This is a safety issue because we rely on the camera for blind spots during reverse and to see behind this large vehicle. Ford cannot figure out how to fix.
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting
DateDec 03, 2021
StateIL
Description
The radio screen at night will not dim/switch to night mode and it's a bright spotlight in your face while driving. This is blinding and dangerous. I believe this is a software glitch and I don't believe lincoln is in a hurry to fix it unless the nhtsa steps in like they did for the back up camera issue. In my photos I'm including you can see it is night with the headlights on yet the screen is in daytime mode almost washing out the camera lens due to it's brightness. I'm also including a link to reform or discussions are picking up about this issue. As it is not just me noticing this. Https://lincolnforums. Com/forums/threads/%e2%80%9cnight%e2%80%9d-display-background-bug. 40837/#post-733751 for comparison I included one photo with green highlights to show what night mode is supposed to look like when it works.
CategoryFuel System, Gasoline
DateNov 10, 2021
StateGA
Description
The contact owns a 2020 lincoln aviator. The contact stated while the vehicle was parked on an inclined driveway, he attempted to start the vehicle however, the vehicle failed to start. The contact stated no warning light was illuminated. The contact stated the towing employee was able to reverse onto a street with a flat surface and was able to start the ignition. The vehicle was towed to the local dealer to be serviced under nhtsa campaign number: 21v735000 (back over prevention) and was informed not to park the vehicle on the inclined driveway. The manufacturer had not been informed of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,514.
CategoryPower Train
DateOct 13, 2021
StateTX
Description
Vehicle shifted into neutral while driving. Had to stop the vehicle in the median to put it back in drive.
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting
DateSep 21, 2021
StateOH
Description
The lights on the visor mirrors and the garage door opener located on the visor stopped working. 2 days later, all of the switches on the drivers door ( window controls and mirror adjustments) stopped working. Now the dome lights have stopped working. The dealership had the car for a week and performed a master reset and a ddm configuration and window learn procedure. None of these problems were resolved. Dealership states vehicle will have to be scheduled when a repair is made available. While most of these problems are merely an inconvenience, I feel there is a safety issue due to the fact that I have no emergency egress. The lincoln concierge told me I can "just crawl over the console and go out one of the other windows." I can also not adjust the mirrors after a seat adjustment, which is also a safety concern. The dealership said I will have to make a manual adjustment until a fix is made available. There have been no warning lamps, messages, or other symptoms prior to the failure which happened 4 weeks ago. The dealership is liberty ford in canton oh. Ro number 797409. Lincoln case number 33186048-p8g5j5.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 17, 2021
StateFL
Description
The rear back-up camera regularly fails during vehicle operation, sometimes as soon as the vehicle is turned on. Turning the vehicle off and then on again will fix it temporarily. According to vehicle recall number 21v223000, the image processing module may become unable to provide video feed to the display, resulting in a loss of backup camera image. Not stated in the recall is that this has also affected (optional) side and forward cameras on the vehicle. These fail less frequently than the rear camera. The loss of video from the rear camera increases the chances of the driver running into something or someone while reversing. The vehicle has been submitted multiple times to the dealership where it was purchased in order to have it repaired. Each time the service department failed to repair it but sent it back as if it was repaired. The problem first arose a few months after the vehicle was purchased, and the instances of camera failure have increased over time.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Camera System
DateAug 11, 2021
StatePA
Description
The rear view camera does not always work. Sometimes it is just a blank green screen with the guide lines. This happen many times but not always. The software to update the image processing module software has been done.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Camera System, Structure:body:door
DateJul 31, 2021
StateNC
Description
Built at chicago plant october 2019 purchased sept 30, 2020. Multiple and ongoing instances where back up camera when put into reverse goes to a blue screen and you cannot see what is behind you in the back up camera. It also cant assist in advising you there is oncoming traffic. Apmi completely replaced and several software updates. This is a safety issue radio and info screen will freeze up passenger doors would not open - switches replaced windows would not roll down - shop reprogrammed
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
DateJul 30, 2021
StateNY
Description
Rear backup camera tuns to blue screen when the vehicle is put into reverse. Also rear brake assist works sometimes. Vehicle was turned into service for previous rear camera recall, but condition has returned.
CategoryStructure:body:door
DateApr 19, 2021
StateFL
Description
Door release button to unlock door failure. This is the second time in a one year period that a unlock button switch has failed two different doors. This is a safety issue since there is no manual or mechanical backup to open the door in a emergency, except for the drivers door.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Warnings, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Service Brakes
DateFeb 17, 2021
StateVA
Description
Brakes failed when driving down my driveway, which is a steep hill. Received six error "service now" messages: service advancetrac, check brake system, hill descent control fault, park brake malfunction, pre-collision assist not available. Was able to roll to a stop and had to call tow truck. Subsequent conversation with dealer service dept , was told recall 20u29 applies. Gave me a dozen 'codes' for faulty/affected systems on car before I stopped him because I did not understand the acronyms. I have searched and cannot find a recall by that number. The brake failure was scary and I am glad it occurred at home.
CategoryElectrical System, Visibility/wiper
DateFeb 04, 2021
StateTX
Description
In reverse (both static and in motion), rearview camera flickers constantly between image and black screen making it unsafe to use car in reverse and depend on camera for visibility of obstacles. 4+ attempts to fix by lincoln, including replacement of the rear backup camera under warranty, have not resolved this safety issue.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 13, 2021
StateTX
Description
While slowing down for a traffic light, with the brake pedal pressed, the vehicle continue to move towards the intersection. Had to quickly put the vehicle into park and turn off ignition.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 25, 2020
StateFL
Description
Display screen /rear camera goes blank and displays error message intermittently part for image processor was replaced and still occurs this happens when driving and also when in reverse
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateOct 21, 2020
StateSC
Description
The back up camera is only working about 40% of the time. Most times there is just a black screen with a message to contact the dealership. This started the day I purchased the 2020 lincoln avaitor which was 10/9/2020 dealer said there is supposed to be a recall coming
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 18, 2020
StateWI
Description
Avatar was bought with 189 miles on it. 4th day after purchase driving car 25mph and car made a clunk noise and multiple warnings appeared drive control malfunction, pre collision assist not available, service advancetrac dealership towed car. Car came back and 2 days later I was reversing out of my driveway and breaks locked up (my surveillance video caught 2 angles. 2 days later received door fault and was not able to open the doors the dealership kept my car for a few days working with lincoln tecs and on day 2 of having it back (22 days of owning it) again driving 25mph I heard a clunk and received hill start assist not available, service advancetrac, drive control malfunction and pre collision assist not available. Car was towed back to dealership they kept it for a few weeks and I received it back in my driveway and upon getting in and starting it the door fault warning happened again and I was locked in.
CategoryWheels
DateSep 02, 2020
StateSC
Description
Passenger front cv joint ball bearings went bad after only 2800 miles on the car. The problem was noted with noise while driving at around 40 mph or higher. This could have been a big problem if I had not noticed the issue and researched the likely cause.
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes
DateJul 21, 2020
StateUT
Description
When putting the vehicle into gear (with the brake pedal pressed) it some times begins moving and the brake pedal does not engage the brakes. This forces the driver to quickly put the car back into park to stop the vehicle.
CategorySteering
DateJul 18, 2020
StateTX
Description
Driver control malfunction warning light sign comes on. I've taking it to the dealer twice but they could not fix the problem. What do I do
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting
DateJun 29, 2020
StateNY
Description
On delivery of the vehicle (6/5/2020), there was an error message on the console indicating an issue with a door lock sensor (according to the dealer). The dealership had the car for 3 days to make the repair. On 6/26/2020, we reported to the dealership that the front passenger door lock was not working and the button to open the door was inoperable. Today, 6/29/2020, the auto is completely dead. Apparently, the electrical issue drained the battery. This is a safety issue. What are we to do if we cannot get out of the car. Inoperable door opening buttons is dangerous. Further, when the car was parked in my driveway, it suddenly and on its own began flashing lights and the mirrors retracted some 15 minutes after we used the remote to lock the car.
CategoryPower Train, Service Brakes, Visibility/wiper
DateJun 28, 2020
StateCA
Description
My vehicle has 4960 miles and the transmission started to slow down as if I was driving a stick shift car, then 2 or 3 days later began to kick and lose power when increasing speed after a stop sign. Dealer diagnosed an internal failure on the transmission and it needs to be replaced. A couple of times in the morning after starting the vehicle, when putting the reverse gear I had my foot on the brake but the car still moved and the brakes were very stiff, I had to release the brake and apply it again in order to stop the car from moving. The sensors on the rear brake support are extremely sensitive. The car detects a small crack on my driveway and stops abruptly causing my head to bump twice on the headrest, the dealer said it was normal, no defect found. The windshield fluid I thought it was normal in this car to throw a very small amount of liquid compared to my other lincoln mkz, but reading the complaints from other customers I realized that it's not normal.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJun 14, 2020
StateCO
Description
Electronic door release on the interior drivers door has failed at 2200 miles. The button does not work at all and is loose in the door. This prevents exit from inside the car without using the manual override or rolling down the window to access the outside handle.
CategoryService Brakes, Unknown Or Other
DateApr 27, 2020
StateOH
Description
With my car in park, I have shifted to drive and reverse, and while maintaining my foot on the brake after transferring to drive or reverse the car has moved by itself by approximately 3 feet before coming to a stop. Each time this has happened I was on a level surface. The dealership inspected my car but could not find anything that would cause this to happen.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateJan 15, 2020
StateAZ
Description
While driving the vehicle when backing up or pulling forward the back up camera, and the forward camera are not constant, and jitter rapidly. This can lead to an accident when a person is backing up and the camera jitters to the point where the person can not see clearly using the back up camera or the front camera during driving operations.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateDec 03, 2019
StateOR
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 lincoln aviator. The contact stated that the wiper fluid failed to produce enough solution to clear the windshield. The vehicle was taken several times to robberson ford (2100 ne 3rd st, bend, or 97701, (541) 382-4521) where it was diagnosed that the pump, line, windshield wiper blades, and a stronger reservoir pump were needed. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was contacted and did not assist. The failure mileage was 3,000.
CategoryElectrical System
DateDec 02, 2019
StateTX
Description
I was driving home and the engine coolant display on the panel all of the sudden was at the maximum. It then would not let me throttle any more, so I had to pull over to the side and turn the vehicle off. I did and let it sit 20 minutes and the issue was still present. Vehicle was towed to dealer. It turns out to be an instrument / electrical issue and the vehicle was not actually over heating. Same thing happened again 2 weeks later after the dealer had updated the instrument panel and replaced the sensor. My car had less than 5000 miles and been in the shop almost 5 times including these 2 instances.
CategoryElectrical System, Seats, Unknown Or Other
DateNov 19, 2019
StateNY
Description
I purchased the auto on aug 24, 2019. I have encountered 5 issues with the vehicle so far - 3 mechanical and 2, cosmetic. I'll focus on the mechanical. Beside the pending recall, I am experiencing the following: 1) the passenger seat in front row lacks the motor for the massage function. Lincoln has now taken over 2 months to repair due to lack of part. 2) the electrical parking brake comes on while driving occasionally. 3) the vehicle camera gets distorted when switching car on. Happened twice, last time it happened was a week ago 11/12.

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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.

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1 COMMENT
  • Mike

    Aviator I bought was certified back in late May 2022. Every single issue from the EVPA to sensors not working and my driving the car coming into question by the dealership. Utterly pissed that a $60,000 price tag on a used car has now got Evaporative issues after the dealer just did work on my car to repair a number of sensors going off. It’s utterly ridiculous that a car with a price tag this high brand new or used and or certified can’t be maintained like my former foreign cars. Utterly disgraceful that Ford and Lincoln just simply can’t hire enough competent and experienced repair techs. I had to do a ton of digging into the issues to find wha the other issues might’ve been and now it is possible that this damn vehicle may be still stuck on dealer mode which would explain why all these issues are triggered to start and maybe all this repair work might not have been needed.

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