2021 Ford F-350 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Editor: Rita Roberts | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When a driver needs to tow or haul heavy equipment, it makes sense to opt for a heavy-duty truck like the 2021 Ford F-350 models. The Ford Super Duty (SD) is supposed to “lead the pack,” according to the manufacturer. However, the F-350 models are riddled with issues, especially the SD models. Owners complain about multiple problems, including driveshaft, rear axle, and various engine and electrical system issues. There are also multiple complaints that the tailgate opens spontaneously when the truck is on the road.  

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Most Common Problems

Faults and malfunctions affect numerous 2021 Ford F-350 components and systems, according to complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA filed these complaints under 2021 Ford F-350 SD and Ford F-350 regular, super, and crew cab. However, it is clear that at least some filed in the larger category are SD models because they relate to recalls that only affect the SD trucks.

The issues that top the list overall are with the powertrain, electrical system, engine, and visibility. Others concern equipment, the fuel/propulsion system, latches/locks/linkages (which all relate to the tailgate), seats, steering, structure, suspension, tires, and vehicle speed control.

The most common complaints relate to the powertrain, electrical system, engine, and tailgate of the truck. Most of the visibility and visibility/wiper complaints are due to recall parts for a wiper malfunction not being available. One of the visibility complaints states that the panoramic sunroof shattered and “glass began flying off the vehicle due to the failure.” In this instance, the dealer maintained “that the failure was not a mechanical defect.”

2021 Ford F-350 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System


Nine recalls affect the SD trucks, and the NHTSA lists all of them in the Ford F-350 SD section. Only two – NHTSA Campaign Numbers 21V390000, which is an urgent recall, and 20E090000 – appear to relate to the other models. The first recall concerns a powertrain issue that affects 2021 F-350 vehicles with dual rear wheels and front wheel hub extenders. The front wheel hub extenders may not be properly attached to the front rotor hub assemblies, which could result in separation of the wheels and wheel extenders from the vehicle. This increases the risk of a crash. The NHTSA instructed owners not to drive their vehicles until they could verify the torque of the wheel extender nuts.

The other concerns certain 2021 F-350 4×4 pickup trucks that have a foam ring inside the stabilizer “through shaft” that may block the piston ports. This could cause the steering to lock up, risking the chance of a crash.

The others relate to equipment (including steering and suspension), the fuel system that may leak, and visibility. There are two recalls concerning visibility: one warns of inadequate windshield bonding, and the other states that the windshield wipers may fail.

There are also two other recalls that relate to the vehicle’s powertrain and structure, warning that the driveshaft may separate or fracture.

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Powertrain problems focus on driveshaft and rear axle issues. Some complaints state that the parts needed to complete one of the recall fixes aren’t available.

An owner from California states that the “rear axle repair was not completed and yet they reported that the dealer fixed it. Not true. The truck was taken in for repairs but the dealer was not able to fix it and told me that. They said I will have to get it fixed on my own. The rear axle is a known flaw and was required to (be) repaired or replaced.”

One recall about rear axle issues, NHTSA Campaign Number 21V536000, states that the rear axle housing may not support the load of the pickup truck and deform, which could result in driveshaft separation. This, in turn, could result in a loss of drive power or unintended movement if the truck is in Park and the parking brake isn’t applied.

An owner from Washington is concerned that the recall’s proposed remedy would result in the application of additional welds to the axle. “I believe this will only mask the symptoms of a failure (detachment of the axle), and not the problem itself (crushing of the axle tubes due to insufficient tube wall thickness). I am a licensed professional engineer, which is to say that I have a basic understanding of material behavior.”

Another owner states that the transmission of the truck “shifts erratically and sometimes completely doesn’t work.” This issue has left him in traffic unable to negotiate the road and has led to him almost being hit by other vehicles “on multiple occasions.”

An owner from New York finds that “occasionally when I put my vehicle in park and get out of the truck it will start moving without me touching it.”


Electrical system issues are varied, but several seem to show that moisture may be an issue.

An owner from Michigan reports that his 2021 F-350 stayed running after he parked and turned it off. The dealer said there was an electrical short due to condensation going into the fuse box.

An owner from Texas wasn’t able to shut the F-350 off when pressing the start/stop button. “The dealer performed a diagnostic test and discovered that the battery junction box was defective due to moisture intrusion.”

Another owner reports that the check engine light “comes on almost everyday.” The engine shuts down suddenly, usually after at least five minutes of driving and “usually when making a turn or coming to a stop light.”  When this happens the driver loses all steering control. “This has caused me to almost rear end a highway patrol vehicle. Very dangerous.” However, despite taking the truck to the local Ford dealership on numerous occasions, the owner states that “they will NOT run diagnostics to see what is happening.”

Then there was another owner from Texas who stated that while driving at 65 mph the trailer disconnected warning light illuminated. But, because the dealer couldn’t duplicate the failure with the trailer disconnected couldn’t identify any sort of failure.


Engine complaints filed with the NHTSA also indicate varied problems. Most of these relate to issues with other components, according to owners. For example, a complaint filed as being both an engine and fuel/propulsion system issue states that every day the truck shuts down without warning. The owner, from Texas, reports that other codes relate to fuel and pressure. He states that the dealer doesn’t know what to do. The truck “shuts off when you are in a turn and leaves you without steering, and shuts off when coming to a stop sign, or trying to park. Fuel filters have been changed 2 times in 2 months. Truck is not safe to drive because it keeps surging and cutting off. Idle speed varies as much as 250 rpm when sitting still.”

Another Texas owner tells how the cable connecting the engine block heater caught on fire near the plug. “My right hand, thumb, and index finger were burned while disconnecting the cable. I was able to stop fire from consuming the vehicle. However, (the) cable is burned near the 3 pronged connector.”

An owner from Utah had a totally different experience. He states that the diesel emission fluid (DEF) injectors are becoming clogged because of crystalized DEF. “This causes a DEF error to be generated which de-rates the vehicle’s speed over time from 50 mph to 5 mph over a range of ~50 miles. In remote areas with desert, like where I live, this can cause you to be limited to 5 mph on an 80 mph freeway which is incredibly dangerous, especially when some of the more remote freeways are 1-2 lane with limited emergency lanes for nearly 100 miles (especially over bridges).”


Most of the complaints about the 2021 F-350 tailgate are relate to the latches, locks, and linkages. The F-350 SD page lists the issue as a structure problem. An owner in Oregon states that the tailgate has opened on its own, unexpectedly, 7-8 times. “It has happened while stationary, after just starting the vehicle, while in reverse, and in forward motion.” Every time, the problem occurred shortly after starting the F-350.

Another complaint, also from Oregon, relates to latches/locks/linkages and structure. It states that while hauling a trailer with a tractor, the tailgate unexpectedly opened, damaging the tailgate. The dealer said that since there was no water leaking under the front passenger’s side floor mat, the owner needed to pay out-of-pocket for tailgate replacement. How does that work?

An owner from Nebraska states that the same thing has happened three times, at 10 mph and 60 mph. “This is a critical issue since it is damaging RVs.” He adds something that may shed light on the water mentioned in the previous complaint. “There was a recall on model years 2019 and prior for this very symptom caused by moisture getting into the wiring harness.”

Lemon Law Next Steps

If you think you might have bought a lemon, it’s a good idea to assess your problems. If they are impacting your use of the truck and/or its value, then call Lemberg Law and ask for a free evaluation. The law makes Ford pay legal fees and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life.

Additionally, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of lemon vehicle owners. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form to request a free evaluation of your problems.

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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