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.
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?