The Most Reliable Years of Used Ford Mustangs

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When it comes to legendary American cars, few names are as iconic as the pony-themed Ford Mustang. For over 55 years, the Mustang has provided generations of speed enthusiasts with their first taste of exhilarating red-blooded but highly accessible muscle car performance. While its most formidable competitors have faded over time, the Ford Mustang remains a staple in the sports car segment.

2005-2014 Ford Mustang (5th Generation)

Unless you’re looking for vintage muscle cars, you’re better off shopping for a used model in the Mustang’s fifth generation. The 2005 model year marked a redesign year and is one of the most successful upgrades in terms of comfort, style, and performance.

Buy: 2005 Ford Mustang

In general, debut models for a new generation of vehicles suffer from numerous reliability woes. Thankfully, the 2005 Ford Mustang avoided such a trend, but it has its fair share of issues. According to CarComplaints.com, the 2005 Mustang has over 1k complaints and nine recalls.

Based on the reports, the number one issue with the 2005 Mustang was its transmission system. At around 60k miles, the 2005 Mustang’s transmission system may give out. According to several reports, the failure was usually preceded by gear slippage. Meanwhile, over 20 written complaints were about oxidation under the Mustang’s paint. Apparently, the paint on the hood may develop oxidation and rust underneath, impacting the vehicle’s look.

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Despite these issues, the 2005 is still a reliable sports car you can safely buy as used.

Avoid: 2006 Ford Mustang

The 2006 model is not that good a year for the Mustang. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, the 2006 Mustang has received a whopping 560 user complaints. The bulk of the complaints were about the infamous Takata airbag recalls. Moreover, the 2006 model year was also affected by the paint oxidation and rusting around the hood-a particularly annoying issue that ruins the look of the Mustang. Skip the 2006 Ford Mustang and spare yourself from the headaches.

Buy: 2008 Ford Mustang

The 2008 year is one of the standouts of the fifth-generation Mustang and deserves to be called the most reliable Ford Mustang year. For starters, the 2008 Mustang received a perfect reliability score of 5.0 out of 5.0 from Consumer Reports. The consumer guide website scored the Mustang in many major trouble spots like the engine, drive system, electric system, brakes, etc.

Unfortunately, bubbling paint is still an area of concern, so ensure you check for this issue before buying.

2014 Ford Mustang

The 2014 Ford Mustang is a highly-sought model because it’s the last of the S197 Mustang generation. It’s an excellent sports car with potent V6 and V8 offerings and tons of customization options. Plus, it has an excellent track record when it comes to reliability. Consumer Reports gave the 2014 Ford Mustang a superb reliability score of 5.0 out of 5.0. While there are still reports of bubbling paint on the hood, it’s less prevalent in this model year.

2015-2023 Ford Mustang (6th Generation)

The sixth-generation Mustang received a handsome style update and added a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Reliability is excellent overall, with some models you should skip.

Avoid: 2015-2016 Ford Mustang

Like many of our Avoid recommendations, the 2015 and 2016 Mustangs are not straight-up unreliable. Both models have reliable engines that offer top-notch performance. However, they did struggle with various reliability issues that many buyers would not bother with.

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For example, the 2015 Mustang also received many complaints about the peeling off of the paint. It’s a frequent problem reported at around 30,000 miles. Apparently, surfaces that are exposed to direct sunlight may develop peeling paint. In addition, owners of Mustangs with the EcoBoost engine have experienced significant shaking and stalling. Thankfully, replacing the crankcase ventilation valve or PCV was the most common fix.

Buy: 2018-2019 Ford Mustang

You can’t go wrong with the 2018 and 2019 Ford Mustang from a performance and value standpoint. Thanks to the independent rear suspension, they’re excellent high-powered vehicles with top-notch road manners. Fortunately, Ford also nailed the reliability of both Mustang models.

As per CarComplaints, the 2018 Mustang only received 130+ complaints and three recalls. Meanwhile, the 2019 Ford Mustang has even fewer complaints and also three recalls. Many issues plaguing these two models are electrical and tech-related. Yes, they don’t have the dreaded bubbling paint issue affecting many Mustang models.

Moving over to Consumer Reports, both 2018 and 2019 models received a perfect Reliability Verdict of 5.0 out of 5.0 and Owner Satisfaction of 4.0 out of 5.0. CR stated that these Mustang years are more reliable than standard sports cars in the market. The 2018 Mustang had some low scores for the transmission and suspension categories, but it was improved with the 2019 model.

FAQs: Most Reliable Ford Mustang Years

Q: Which Ford Mustang years are known for their reliability?

A: For those eyeing a used Ford Mustang, the 2005, 2008, and 2014 models are exceptionally reliable choices. These years are reviewed positively for their performance, style, and fewer reported issues.

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Q: Why should I avoid the 2006 Ford Mustang?

A: The 2006 model year saw a significant uptick in complaints, particularly regarding the Takata airbag recalls and paint oxidation problems around the hood. These issues, especially the cosmetic ones, can detract from the Mustang’s appeal.

Q: Are there any years from 2010 to 2012 I should skip?

A: Yes, the 2010 to 2012 models are notorious for their body and paint issues, with the 2010 model receiving numerous complaints about hood corrosion. These years might offer the Mustang experience but come with the caveat of potential cosmetic and rust issues.

Q: What about the 2014 Ford Mustang?

A: The 2014 model, marking the end of the S197 generation, is highly sought after for its potent engine options, customization potential, and strong reliability record. Consumer Reports gave it a high reliability score, making it a recommended pick despite some lingering paint-bubbling issues.

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