Fluid leaks are among the most common problems seen in
Lincolns, along with transmission problems, airbag recalls, faulty electronic systems, and poor body integrity.
While the Lincoln brand is often recognized for its limousine-esque sedans and luxurious functionality, recent owner reports and consumer ratings tell a different story. Unfortunately, vehicle recalls and engine problems have caused Lincoln’s reliability rating to have dropped dramatically.
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What are the most common Lincoln problems?
As one of the top luxury and performance vehicle brands in the United States, Lincoln cars are known for their prestige and functionality. Nevertheless, Lincoln cars are prone to owner-reported trouble spots and recalls. Here are some of the most common problems across Lincoln’s current models:
- Door ajar lights that won’t shut off
- Recalled Takata airbags
- Cracked rear panels
- Electronic throttle bodies sending models into limp mode
Overall, the 2016 Lincoln MKX is the model that’s experienced the most problems, with 18 complaints to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, Ford’s luxury brand seems to have largely worked out kinks in the MKX, with the 2018 model ranking as one of the brand’s most reliable vehicles.
For a complete breakdown of the most common Lincoln problems in the models on the market in 2022, check out the table below.
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
Fluid leakage from axel, poor fitment, rattle noises from headliner, foam seal between dash and windshield slipping out of place
2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
Shifting problems, fluid leaks from power steering components, coolant leaks, trunk latch not closing
2007, 2008, 2010, 2013
Overheating, problems with EGR system
2000, 2002, 2004
Compressor failure, cracks in intake manifold, corrosion on battery cable ends
1999, 2003, 2004
Crack on liftgate, grommet vacuum leaks, problems with EGR system
2003, 2004, 2005
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Most common Lincoln MKX problems
Average annual repair cost: $811
CarComplaints.com complaints: 220
In other cases, foam isolation blocks detaching from the headliner have caused noisy, rattling sunroofs for MKX owners, and faulty seals on the transmission and power transfer unit have caused fluid leaks.
Most common Lincoln MKZ problems
Average annual repair cost: $831
CarComplaints.com complaints: 218
MKZhas seen some automatic transmission problems over the years—particularly from 2007 to 2012—during which drivers reported harsh, delayed shifting and transmission slips. Power steering fluid leaks from the pump, hose, and steering gear have also been reported.
Other causes for concern in the MKZ include coolant leaks from the heater core and faulty trunk closing latches.
Most common Lincoln LS problems
Average annual repair cost: $571
CarComplaints.com complaints: 97
Overheating is a common complaint of the Lincoln
LS, likely a result of erratic engine coolant circulation or corrosion of the water pump.
The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system also has been a problem for drivers who have reported improper ERG activation times and clogs in the ERG filter. In such cases, drivers have had to contend with engine stalling and rough idling.
Most common Lincoln Town Car problems
Average annual repair cost: $635
CarComplaints.com complaints: 174
Generally considered a reliable vehicle, the mass-produced Lincoln
Town Carwas once synonymous with limousines. Unfortunately, this stylish sedan suffered from minor problems over the years, including corrosion on battery cable ends, thermostat cracks resulting in coolant leaks, and air leaks causing compressor failure.
Most common Lincoln Aviator problems
Average annual repair cost: $626
CarComplaints.com complaints: 134
The most common complaint arising from Lincoln
Aviatordrivers is that of a crack on the liftgate trim panel. Luckily, Lincoln has released a service to replace the trim gate applique.
Similar to reports from the Lincoln LS, some Aviator drivers also have reported overheating problems and faulty EGR systems.
Are Lincoln cars reliable?
In general, Lincoln is considered average to poor in terms of reliability, with Repair Pal giving Lincoln a reliability score of 3/5. According to
Consumer Reports, Lincoln is the least reliable SUV car brand.
In addition, the average annual repair cost of $872 across all Lincoln models puts the brand well above the average for annual repair costs.
The least reliable Lincoln model: 2016 Lincoln MKX
Most common problem: Engine shutting down
NHTSA complaints: 18
With premium steering and engine performance, advanced safety features, and excellent resale value, what's not to love about the 2016 MKX? A lot, apparently. With an average annual repair cost of $953, this model is far from perfect.
The most-reported problem with the 2016 MKX is the engine shutting down while driving. For some drivers, a violent jerk accompanied the engine shut-down, while others were warned with an illuminated wrench light. A recall on the 2016 model was issued for this problem.
The most reliable Lincoln model: 2018 Lincoln MKX
Most common problem: Fluid leaks
NHTSA complaints: 11
The 2018 model of the Lincoln MKX allowed Lincoln to re-establish itself as a solid, luxury car brand. After working out the kinks in the 2016 model, the revamped MKX hit the roads with excellent safety scores and improved reliability ratings.
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