Rust is never a good thing to see on any vehicle, but in the Northeast, it's just a reality as winter miles start racking up. Most vehicles will end up getting at least a little bit of cosmetic rust on the underbody as time goes on, but it seems like one of the "Big Three" automakers is having an issue with corrosion right out of the gate.
Ford's 2021 F-150 reportedly has rust issues, but it's worth noting that the corrosion is, so far, purely cosmetic and only affects certain parts of the new trucks. However, the company's best-selling vehicle is nonetheless suffering from early cases of underbody scale, and while other automakers have the same problem, Ford's rust woes seem a bit more widespread, or at least more publicized.
The Detroit Free Press
published an article about the issue earlier this week, and other publications like Ford Authority and Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk have followed, with the latter providing personal experience with the issue.
The publisher of Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk, Tim Esterdahl, bought a Power Boost Hybrid Ford F-150 to test for a year and, so far, has been impressed. As we've previously covered, he was able to squeeze more than 29 mpg from the truck, well above its EPA-rated fuel economy. However, he's clearly not happy about this rust issue. In the video embedded below, Esterdahl shows us the underbody of his truck, detailing the scale that has appeared so far despite him living in Nebraska, a state which does salt its roads, but which Esterdahl claims has not received much winter weather.
As well as Esterdahl's issues, the Detroit Free Press interviewed seven different F-150 owners who reported suffering from cosmetic rust issues nationwide. Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk cited a thread of users complaining about rust on the F150Gen14 forum that garnered hundreds of responses. Most of the corrosion seems to be related to the rear axle, which is evidently sold unpainted and untreated to prevent scale from forming.
We reached out to Ford directly to get a comment on this issue, but we have yet to hear back. In response to an inquiry from Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk, a representative of the Dearborn automaker was quoted as saying, “While some F-150 underbody steel components may show signs of surface rust, this will have no impact on part performance or life.” Likewise, the automaker repeated this sentiment to the Free Press while adding, "We’re looking, with our suppliers, into questions raised."
So, for now, new F-150s have cosmetic rust issues on the underbody that Ford has yet to address. There's nothing mechanically wrong with the trucks, but rust on a car's underbody, especially one like Esterdahl's with barely more than 3,000 miles, isn't a good look. These vehicles aren't dangerous, but it's nothing to celebrate, either.
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