2021 Ford Ranger Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake & structural issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Ford’s first Ranger pickup, the Ford Ranger, was launched in 1983. Completely redesigned for the 1993 and 1998 model years, its fourth generation reached the market in 2019.

Now, two years later, the 2021 model is promoted as being “the most off-road-ready factory-built Ranger ever offered in the U.S.”

This may be so. But there are already 3 recalls and 36 manufacturer communications on file with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Legally, manufacturers are required to notify NHTSA about all communications. These are all notifications about problems relating to vehicles, in this case the 2021 Ford Ranger.

There are also 14 official consumer complaints on record with NHTSA. This is 10 less than those lodged in 2020, but it’s clear that complaints don’t stop in the model year. The most recent complaint about the 2020 Ford Ranger is dated 24 January 2020.

But, we’re going to look at the most common problems about the 2021 Ford Ranger in the NHTSA records.

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

Most Common Problems

The most common problem consumers report about the 2021 Ranger relates to service brakes. The structure of the car is the second-most common complaint.

2021 Ford Ranger Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
Power Train
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control

Problems with the Brake

The issues the 5 service brakes complaints highlight are varied.

Two relate to soft, mushy brakes that don’t work properly. One response from a Ford dealer is, “It is working fine.”

Two others relate to the need for excessive effort needed to make the brakes work. This, the complaints say, introduces significant risk to the driver.

One complaint states, “I feel unsafe and have almost rear-ended vehicles numerous times. Eventually, it will happen! This needs to be addressed in a recall immediately!”

The other says the truck can’t “be shifted out of park without the brake pedal being applied. This causes the vehicle to lunge forward.”

The fifth complaint is similar to complaints about 2021 Ford Bronco brakes that squeal. “While both the brake and accelerator pedals were depressed it caused the rear tires to squeal and create smoke.” But again, the dealer’s response was “that there was no failure and that the vehicle was up to specification.”

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Structural Problems

The 3 structural problems reported to NHTSA say rear door warnings remain on the dash even when the doors are closed.

One particularly frustrated criticism states that the dealer “doesn’t have time to look at it. I am unable to lock the truck or the alarm WILL sound and drain my battery because of the left passenger door.”

Other Problems

The rest of the complaints relate to the electrical system, engine, engine and engine cooling, forward-collision avoidance, lane departure, tires, vehicle speed control, and the wheels of the vehicle.

The engine and engine cooling complaint is a serious one that reports fire and an injury. The owner of the pickup was driving at about 35 mph when he smelt smoke in the vehicle. When he stopped at a traffic light, he saw smoke coming from under the hood and then he saw flames.

The fire department extinguished the fire. The owner’s girlfriend suffered from smoke inhalation but didn’t need medical assistance. There were 5,000 miles on the clock at the time, and the owner was told there was no open recall on his car.

The lane-departure complaint is also concerning. The complaint is that the lane departure features are excessive and aren’t safe.

“I’ve twice now had to make an emergency lane change to avoid an accident.” This led to the owner of the 2021 Ford Ranger turning the feature off. “I cannot have the steering wheel resisting my input when I’m avoiding an accident. I need full control. This is poorly designed.”

What to do if your 2021 Ford Ranger is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

There aren’t a ton of complaints with NHTSA, but there are lots more in various forums, including this one. Of course, this doesn’t mean every problem indicates a lemon. But if you think you’ve got one, what can you do?

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm that specializes in lemon law that relates to cars. If you think you’ve bought a lemon, there’s nothing to stop you from trying to negotiate a settlement with the manufacturer. But it’s a lot easier to work with a firm that has experience in the field.

If your 2021 Ford Ranger is a lemon, you may qualify for a refund of the purchase price, a replacement vehicle, or a refund of rental fees. Call our Helpline and we’ll assess your case. It’s not going to cost you anything, because the law is on your side. It says the manufacturer must pay if you’ve bought a lemon!


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
  • Joseph R

    I had problems with my brakes f150 2008, when I changed them myself, until I decided to go too the mechanic guy’s on youtube media, then I understood the problem why. Just saying , if you’re like me a hands on person, and like doing things yourself, they are sources that can assist you. Just stating. Those are minor issues. When dealing with engine or transmission that a whole other book.

  • Christina

    Chevy bolt being recalled by manufacturer. I reported a problem with only 106 miles on the new car. The dealership told me that “nothing was wrong with the car and I could trade it in if I wanted to.”

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