2021 Ford F-250 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, steering, and suspension issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When it comes to driving a capable pickup, many consumers turn to the 2021 Ford F-250. After all, Ford claims the new lineup is the “most capable Super Duty” pickup truck available. However, customers are running into trouble with the brakes, and the notorious “speed wobble,” causing many to second-guess their choices.

Click on other model years to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022   

Most Common Problems

The most common problem people are having with the 2021 Ford F-250 is the violent, uncontrollable, shaking and shimming they experience while driving. This well-documented “death wobble” has been a problem for the Ford F-250 for a very long time. This fact is obvious from the complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) since 1999, the first model year of the revamped popular pickup truck that originated in the 1950s.

Between January 8, 2021 and December 20, 2022, 32 consumers complained to the NHTSA about the 2021 F-250. Of these, more than a third (11) are about the “death wobble” that so many consumers identify as a life-threatening malfunction. These are all listed under Suspension and/or Steering.

There are a total of 5 complaints about brakes and 5 that are categorized as powertrain problems. One of the powertrain complaints is related to brake problems.

The Visibility and Visibility/Wiper categories have a total of 6 complaints, all of which relate to windshield wipers detaching from the wiper linkage. There is a recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 22V25000. But the main complaint is that the windshield wiper arms dealers are supposed to replace free of charge aren’t available.

Additionally, there is 1 complaint about tires. The 2021 Ford F-250 had only 28,000 miles on the clock when the owner noticed that “the top of all four tires were worn, and the thread was separating.” The dealer said all 4 tires would need to be replaced.

2021 Ford F-250 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Electrical System: Integrated Trailer Brake Control

“Death Wobble” Problems

Owners of Ford Super Duty F-250 pickup trucks have been complaining about “death wobble” issues ever since the 1999 model literally hit the road! All these examples are filed with the NHTSA under Suspension.

The first complaint was from an owner in New York who said “severe vibration at any speed seemingly coming from (the) front drive train (bearings, axles, hubs?). The only way I can drive the truck is to engage the front left axle. Otis Ford has been trying to find the problem for two-and-a-half months, replacing parts that didn’t solve the problem.”

Then in November 1999, another owner stated: “While driving over 60 mph (the) front end vibrated hard, which almost resulted in a loss of vehicle control.” The dealer replaced the steering damper kit.

An owner from Iowa reported that while driving, the F-250 “hit a bump in the road.” It “shook/vibrated, strayed into another lane,” and the driver lost control. Neither the dealer nor mechanic could locate the cause of the vibration. They “believed (the) stabilizer was defective.”

In May 2002, an owner told the NHTSA that he experienced “excessive shaking and loss of control while driving” his 1999 Ford F-250 from March 1999. He’d taken the truck to the dealer 4 times, but the problem continued to reoccur.

In July 2003, a complaint to the NHTSA stated that the front end of a 1999 F-250 “shakes and shimmies excessively,” almost causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Very similar complaints have continued to pour in from Ford F-250 owners year-after-year. The only difference is that in the early days, the phrase “death wobble” hadn’t been coined.

The Same Old “Death Wobble” Problems

Whether drivers talk about vibrations, shakes, or shimmies, they’re describing the same sensation, a “death wobble.” The first complaint to the NHTSA about the 2021 model was lodged on September 17, 2021. It indicates that Ford and its dealerships have not been paying attention for the past couple of decades. Either that, or they don’t want to admit to it or fix it.

Certainly, despite all the complaints over the years, and evidence that they are well aware of the problem, Ford has never issued a recall. Worse, some dealerships allegedly charge customers to fix the results of the problem.

For instance, an owner from Texas states that while driving on State highway 59, a small bump in the road sent the truck into a violent shake. “I almost lost control of the vehicle. This violent shake is, and can be, life-threatening to my family and I, as well as others nearby. Now Ford is charging me for fixing the life-threatening defect.”

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A Problem Ford Doesn’t Seem to Want to Fix

While some dealers deny knowledge of the “death wobble,” others don’t.

The first 2021 complaint from an owner in Arizona describes how his 2021 Ford F-250 “has had a vibration from the rear of the vehicle coming from either the drive shaft or within the rear end assembly” since June 2021. “Extensive testing has been done by the Ford dealership with the assistance of Ford technical and they, as yet, cannot determine the cause.

“Furthermore, Ford and the dealer do not wish to try any further to find the cause. The dealer’s solution was to tell Ford to buy the truck back. Ford’s solution was to offer an extended warranty. I travel across wide expanses of desert in Arizona and California. If the truck fails while crossing the desert, I would be in a serious health jeopardy.”

An owner from Texas hit a bumpy patch on the highway while traveling at about 75 mph. “The steering wheel started to wobble horribly and uncontrollably. It felt like a harmonic imbalance in the front end and continued until slowing down and pulling over. This is a very dangerous situation.” He did some research and learned about the “F250 Death Wobble”. “We should all be ashamed that a car company was allowed to ignore this and not issue a recall. They know exactly what the issue is and chose not to fix it.”

In December 2021, an owner from Los Angeles complained that the “steering wheel started shaking violently, fighting with me for control. Observers said my tires looked as though they were coming off.” When this happened, “the vehicle drifted toward the center lane as if the alignment was out. The dealership stated it was called (the) death wobble, a known issue on F-250s, but it was not a recall”

Problems with the Brakes

When it comes to stopping a heavy-duty pickup, it’s imperative to have a solid set of brakes intact. Yet, customers have been complaining to the NHTSA about the stopping power of the F-250. There complaints are filed under brakes, powertrain, and the Unknown or Other category

An early complaint from a customer in Colorado states: “I purchased this truck and as I left the dealership, the pin holding the brake pedal to the linkage fell out because a circlip was not installed to hold it in. I was coasting into a busy highway, so I was able to think quickly and use the emergency brake. Had I not done that I could have been killed by highway traffic. At that time a service tech was called out and took the truck into service. I rescinded my purchase agreement due to this as I did not feel safe driving this vehicle.”

But the other complaints are all quite different, to this one and to one another.

Examples of Faulty Brakes

For example, an owner in North Carolina who bought a used F-250 with 20K miles on the clock nearly hit a truck because of a brake malfunction only two days after he’d got it. When he put the truck into drive, it leapt forward, and he had to hit the brake harder to stop the motion.

Another complaint, from a driver in Georgia, states that when sitting at the McDonald’s pickup window with his “foot firmly on (the brake) pedal, my truck felt like it was being pushed away from (the) window.” It moved forward about 30 feet at about 5 mph, with his foot on the brake.

A complaint from an owner in Texas says that the trailer brakes stop working when he tows a trailer. He says, “the brakes, using the pedal and lights all work perfectly on (the) truck and trailer. But if you squeeze the brake control paddles, you immediately get a trailer disconnected message and although all lights still work, the brake controller does not.”

Windshield Wiper Recall Problems

As mentioned earlier, it’s not so much the failing windshield wiper arms that are the problem, but the fact that the recall parts aren’t available to fix them. However, there is an F-250 owner from Utah who has experienced the failure… as well as the recall problem.

“Both Woodruff keys have fallen out of the windshield wiper arms where they attach to the wiper linkage. Without the Woodruff keys in place during operation, the windshield wipers easily detach from the wiper linkage. This causes an immediate loss of visibility and dramatically increases the likelihood of an accident or possibly a fatality involving both the driver and any passengers in the vehicle, and also endangers surrounding vehicles as well.

“Ford has known about the issue since early 2022 and a recall notice was sent out in early 2022 as well. Now that 2023 is upon us, Ford has done nothing to repair the vehicles as part of this recall. How many deaths does it take for the NHTSA to enforce manufacturer recall repairs within acceptable timelines?”

Another complaint is also rather alarming. After receiving the recall notification, an owner from Massachusetts took his F-250 to a dealer twice. Both times, he was told that “the remedy might cause the windshield to break during the repair.” He was also told that “he would be responsible for the cost of a new windshield if the windshield was cracked during the repair.” It’s no real surprise to learn via the NHTSA complaint that this owner declined the recall repair.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? It can be a stressful process contacting and working through manufacturer representatives to solve lemon problems. But, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. It’s easier than you might think.

If you think your 2021 Ford F-250 might be a lemon, call Lemberg Law or fill out our contact form. One of our experienced lemon law lawyers will assess your problems to see if you qualify for lemon law action. We won’t charge you a cent, because the law says that Ford must foot the bill for lemon law auto cases.

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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