2021 Lincoln Aviator Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine & Powertrain issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Lincoln Aviator was launched by the Ford Motor Company in 2003. It is a midsized, luxury SUV that’s had its fair share of problems.

There are 110 complaints on record with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the 2003 model, 81 for 2004, and 51 for 2005. But then it was discontinued, many say because there were so many complaints.

It was relaunched in 2020, but not much changed. NHTSA records reflect 33 complaints and 11 recalls for this model. So far, NHTSA has 5 complaints about the 2021 Lincoln Aviator, and there are 7 recalls, some the same as for the 2020 model.

Additionally, there are already 91 manufacturer communications lodged with the NHTSA for the 2021 model. These draw dealer attention to failures, malfunctions, and other defects. More than half of these (51) relate to the electrical system, which is also an issue with the 2020 and 2021 Lincoln Corsair.

Also, like the 2021 Corsair, the Aviator has a 5-star rating for frontal and side crashes, but only a 4-star rating for the rollover safety test. This measures the risk of rollover in a single-vehicle, “loss-of-control scenario.” According to NHTSA safety ratings, there is a rollover risk of 15.10% for the 2021 Aviator.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

Complaints about the 2021 Lincoln Aviator relate to 4 components, back-over prevention, the engine, powertrain, and the structure of the SUV. Safety issues are predominant.

While it reports no injuries, one of the complainants says “this car is a death trap.” Another says snow turns the SUV “into an unsafe vehicle.”

2021 Lincoln Aviator Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Back Over Prevention
Electrical System
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Back Over Prevention: Warnings
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Fuel/propulsion System

Engine & Powertrain Problems

Half of the 6 complaints on file with the NHTSA relate to engine and powertrain issues. Many describe violent vibration and shaking as well as the engine seizing.

An Aviator SUV with 5,400 miles on the clock had a “catastrophic engine failure” while on the road. The owner had the vehicle towed to a dealership that diagnosed the engine had seized and needed to be replaced.

Another states that the “vehicle exhibits strong vibrations when certain speeds are reached. The driveshaft has been replaced three times and continues to vibrate.”

The third gives more detail about the engine failure of a “brand new” 2021 Lincoln Aviator Reserve with only 4,181 miles on the clock.

Recurring Vibrations & Engine Seizure

While driving on a very narrow, winding road the car started to vibrate/shake.

“There were no alerts and no warning lights.”

“Fortunately, I was coming up on one of the very few turnouts available. As I started to pull over, the car completely shut off (completely died). Luckily, I made it off of the road or I would have been stuck in the middle of the road on a blind corner as the car would not restart. It just kept displaying ‘Full Accessory Power Active’ but would not do anything.”

The owner had the car towed to the dealership and was told the engine had seized and the dealer would have to replace the engine. One of the piston rods was bent to a 90 degree angle!

After the repair, the vibration started again. Again, the driver was able to get off the highway and the vibrations stopped – briefly.

“Thankfully, it did not die in the middle of the highway and cause an accident. I continued on down the street and again the vibrating started. As I pulled up to a stop sign the car completely died and would not start. I waited a few moments and tried again and it started. I was able to make it the last less than quarter of a mile to work while it vibrated then died yet again as I pulled into my parking spot.”

The engine had to be replaced again.

“As of today, they are still working on ‘repairing’ the brand new death trap. Lincoln doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal and thinks the second new engine will fix the issue. Hopefully it doesn’t kill me first. This is worth investigating. Like I said, this car is a death trap.”

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Structural Issues

The complaint that relates to the structure of the 2021 Aviator is from a SUV owner from the foothills of Colorado where it snows quite a lot.

The complaint states that when driving the SUV in snow and ice, it collects in the wheel wells. Because of the material used in the wheels, which feels heavily textured, the snow and ice sticks to it like glue. This, the complaint says, “makes turning or steering the car difficult. It does NOT slide off easily even when going to the car wash to try and clean it off. Or by letting it sit in the sun to melt does not help either for a very long amount of time.”

Ultimately, the owner says that the snow and slush on the roads “quickly turns my SUV into an unsafe vehicle to drive or steer.”

Back-Over Prevention Problems

There is 1 back-over prevention complaint, and it involves the rear view camera. It is dated January 16, 2022 and states:

“The Rear View Camera (entire screen) constantly turns on and off when reversing the vehicle. It has been inspected several times with no resolve.”

Even though a recall for the rear view camera was initiated by Ford in September 2021, the dealership appears not to have had knowledge of this. If they had, the resolve would have been simple, unless of course this particular VIN isn’t covered by the recall.

The recall states that when a rear view camera doesn’t display an image it reduces the driver’s rear view and increases the risk of a crash. Potentially, it affects as many as 228,297 Ford Explorer and Lincoln vehicles, including 2020 and 2021 Lincoln Aviator vehicles.

There are 2 issues:

  1. If the owner of this 2021 Aviator was not notified of the recall, this particular SUV isn’t included in the 228,297 total. This implies more vehicles may be at risk.
  2. Since there is clearly a problem with some 2021 Lincoln Aviator rear view cameras, why was the dealer unable to suggest a potential resolution to the problem?

What to do if your 2021 Lincoln Aviator is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If you have a 2021 Lincoln Aviator that displays persistent recurring problems, it might be a lemon. If they relate to transmission, engine, brakes, or anything that affects the safety and value of the SUV, don’t ignore them.

Lemberg Law specializes in lemon law and has helped many consumers who have bought vehicles and found them to be lemons.

If you think your 2021 Lincoln Aviator may be a lemon, contact our Helpline and we’ll assess your case. If we think you’re right, we will step in and see what we can do to negotiate a deal for you. Typically, this would be a buyback, refund, trade-in, or replacement vehicle.

The law says the manufacturer must pay the legal fees in lemon law 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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