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2021 Ford F-150 already has rust issues

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The first model year of the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 is barely underway, and it appears there might be an issue already cropping up: Rust. Our initial reaction is utter surprise.

We have previously looked at F-150 reliability in general, and our takeaway was that there are some nagging issues that haven’t been addressed, which isn’t great, but none of them involved rust and brand new vehicles. However, a recent article from the Detroit Free Press reported a 2021 F-150 owner in Texas is already seeing rust on its axles and other underbody components.

And he’s not alone.

We checked out a forum dedicated to the 14th-generation F-150, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a post on there from January 31 asking about rust on the rear end of the 2021. He wanted to know if any other owners were noticing a similar issue. There are 372 comments on the post so far as well as multiple photos showing the rusted undercarriages of several vehicles. One poster commented that he has rust after only putting 500 miles on the truck. Another said he’d bought the truck at the end of January, and when he checked his vehicle on February 3, he spotted the rust.

But this issue hits closer to home than we thought. Publisher Tim Esterdahl bought a 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost at the end of December, and you guessed it, there’s rust on the undercarriage. Esterdahl’s truck currently has 3,228.4 miles on it, and here’s the interesting thing: Since he lives in Western Nebraska, the truck hasn’t had prolonged exposure to salted roads unlike other areas of the state or the country. Plus, he’s only had it a few months with only one snow storm. While he did drive from Michigan to Nebraska after the purchase, in all likelihood the vehicle probably already had some rusting before he bought it.

We reached out to Ford for a response, and an official spokesperson told us: “While some F-150 underbody steel components may show signs of surface rust, this will have no impact on part performance or life.”

It’s worth pointing out that the rusting we see is largely cosmetic, and as the Ford spokesperson said, it shouldn’t pose any reliability issues down the road.

So, for now, we’ll just say, if you’re looking to buy a 2021 F-150 and the idea of rusting bothers you, maybe check the undercarriage before you plop down a deposit.

2021 F-150 rust

Another look at the rust on Tim Esterdahl’s 2021 F-150. (Photo by Tim Esterdahl)

The bottom line on 2021 Ford F-150 rust

Outside of the rusting, there is one other known issue and one recall on the 2021 Ford F-150 at the time of publishing this story. The known issue pertains to a zone lighting battery issue, and the recall concerns inadequate windshield bonding.

While we hope these issues aren’t a harbinger for things to come, we would like to point out Consumer Reports doesn’t have high hopes for the predictive reliability of the 2021 Ford F-150. The magazine’s testing is still ongoing, but let’s just say, the F-150 is at the bottom of the truck pile – in fact, only the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado fare worse.

As it stands right now, we’re curious how prolific this issue is. Is “some” 1 in a 100, like the forum post answers seem to suggest, or is it more like 99 in a 100?

So, tell us: If you’re a 2021 F-150 owner, do you have rust on your undercarriage?

Related posts:

How reliable is the Ford F-150 pickup truck?

Consumer Reports 2021 least reliable full-size trucks; GM dominates?

Full-size pickup truck safety: These 2021 rankings may surprise you


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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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  1. Marc March 2, 2021

    I recently purchased a new 2021 F-150 Limited with the Ecoboost engine. I have approximately 500 miles on the truck and I’m seeing the same rust issues in the axle/undercarriage areas that have been mentioned here. At well over 70K, this is simply unacceptable and should be fixed by Ford.

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      Jill Ciminillo March 3, 2021

      Thanks for your comment. We’ll be following this story to see if Ford has any response or updates about this. On our Facebook posts, we’re hearing very divergent views — some are saying this is completely normal while others are saying this is rare. So, stay tuned …

  2. George Drummond March 7, 2021

    Let’s comment on the repairs they are allowing. I own 2019 lariat13,000 miles 6000 worth of damage an the use this ridiculous looking rivets u can see right as u look at truck .plus under wheel well use rivets an the whole panel is wide open one winter with salt an ice forget truck will be corroded absolutely disgusting designed something has to be done.

  3. David Johnson March 9, 2021

    Just read this post and I just bought a 2021 F150 and I only have had it a week and looked underneath and sure enough my entire axle is rusted. Not happy at all after spending over $50k

  4. Edward L Mattox Jr March 12, 2021

    I have rust as well, axle, driveline going to 4×4 transfer case, body mounts, indépendant steering arms, and more places. At 400 miles. And I live in WPB FLORIDA. Truck was purchased at Wayne Akers Ford on February 12th 2021. I have started the Lemon law process on mine. Rust is like cancer it spreads and gets worse. I’ll never purchased a Ford vehicle ever again and I always loved the f150. Very sad to read Fords comments and excuses.

  5. Lisa thompson May 17, 2021

    I’ve had my Ford F 150 King’s Ranch with Powerboast for 2 weeks. I am in Alabama and bought off a local showroom floor. It now has 1500 miles on it and LOTS of rust. It’s absurd and Ford needs to address this.


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