The Lincoln Aviator is a dependable mid-size luxury SUV that’s all about style, spacious interiors and performance. Despite its reliability and user-friendly features, it does not escape some common Lincoln Aviator flaws , it also has a rather steep 5-year depreciation rate of 50%.
This means that assuming a sale price of $74,000, the Aviator’s resale value will drop to less than $40,000 in five years.
How good is the Lincoln Aviator?
The Lincoln Aviator is a fairly reliable midsize SUV. At the time of this writing, there is not enough data on the Lincoln Aviator to publish a specific reliability rating for the vehicle. But based on the data the site has, the Aviator’s rating is 3.5 out of 5.0, which is an average score for its segment.
The British market research firm gave the 2020-2021 Aviator an average reliability score of 7.7 out of 10 . For their part, some vehicle information websites gave 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviators an above-average rating (4.4 out of 5.0 stars), while 2020-2022 Aviators received an average rating (7, 7 of 10).
The maintenance cost of a Lincoln Aviator is around $12,000 during its first 10 years of service. There is also a 33% chance that this model will require repairs during that time. According to 2003-2005 Aviator owners, their SUVs lasted them at least 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance.
Lincoln Aviator Common Problems and Faults
Despite its good reliability scores, the Lincoln Aviator does have a few issues to be aware of. Below are some of the most common Lincoln Aviator failures:
1- Problems with the infotainment system and radio
The most common failure on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator is an accessory problem, particularly the infotainment system. According to one affected owner, at seemingly random times their vehicle’s infotainment system or radio would boost or distort the sound of what was being played without increasing the actual volume.
This owner said the problem went away on its own after a few minutes . Although this problem does not appear to affect the Aviator’s handling, it is very annoying and can scare the driver and passengers.
According to another Aviator owner, he would hear regular, pulsing static whenever he tuned his radio to AM stations. This owner reported the problem to his dealership, but was told by the service manager that they had not yet found a solution to the problem. Both infotainment system issues occurred within the first 6,000 miles of ownership.
At present, the 2020 Aviator has not been recalled for these issues. However, Lincoln issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for another problem involving the radio. TSB #SSM49092 was released in August 2020 to fix a software issue on 2020 Aviators that caused an inaccurate number of radio stations to be displayed on the Front Display Interface Module (FDIM).
2- Problems with the rear panel
The Lincoln Aviator’s worst problem is a cracked rear panel. This is the most widely reported problem for 2003, 2004, and 2005 Lincolns Aviators. The problem also seems to be rampant on other Ford vehicles, such as the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer.
According to affected owners, a vertical crack suddenly formed in the tailgate assembly where the Lincoln badge is located. Owners have reported this issue as a known defect, but Ford is reportedly refusing to fix the problem.
Owners have filed several tailgate crack lawsuits against Ford Motor Co. According to these lawsuits and various consumer reports, Ford allegedly concealed the tailgate crack defect in 2003-2005 Aviators, as well as other models. from ford.
As of 2014, three Ford tailgate crack class actions have been consolidated into one nationwide class action lawsuit. At the time of writing this article, there are no recalls, TSBs, or investigations for this particular issue.
3- Problem with the rear door glass
This 2005 Lincoln Aviator problem is somewhat related to the tailgate crack issue . According to Lincoln Aviator owners who encountered this problem, after they repaired their cracked rear plastic panels, the rear door glass also cracked.
One owner encountered this problem at approximately 75,000 miles. Fortunately, Lincoln issued TSB #0485 to fix this cracked glass problem in January 2005. However, at the time of writing, no copy of the document is available. However, you can request a copy of this TSB from the service department of your local Lincoln dealer.
4- Engine shutdown failures
Some 2004 Lincoln Aviator owners have had problems with the engine shutting down while driving. Some reports are similar in that all affected owners were driving when their vehicle suddenly stopped working.
One owner has even reported that despite having his vehicle checked at different workshops, the technicians and mechanics were unable to find any fault codes. Another owner had a similar experience and has reported that even the Ford mechanics did not know what the problem was.
According to another owner, he took his vehicle to the shop and the dealer replaced two sensors . Although the check engine light had already gone out, his vehicle continued to go out frequently after the repair. These owners have reported that they experienced this problem at around 130,000 miles and that it cost them at least $300 to fix.
There are no active recalls for the 2004 Aviator, but there are many TSBs related to the engine and Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) for this particular model year.
5- Faults in the gear lever rod
One of the most serious problems with the 2003 Lincoln Aviator is a broken shifter rod. Aside from the cracked rear panel, this is the most reported issue for this model year. The problem, according to one owner, was that the gear stick would stop working when leaving the car park.
Another affected owner has reported that before encountering this issue, they had already replaced the transmission, lower control arms, brake lines, rear windows, and control panel.
One owner said he ran into this problem at about 69,000 miles, which is unusually low mileage to find a transmission related problem. On average, affected owners encountered this problem at approximately 98,000 miles and it cost them at least $1,000 to fix.
On November 21, 2002, 25 units of the 2003 Lincoln Aviator were recalled due to a faulty transmission shift cable. According to Lincoln Recall #02S43, this problem with the transmission shift cable can lead to incorrect gear indication. There are also quite a few transmission-related TSBs for the 2003 Aviator, some of which are listed on various websites.
6- Failure in the bearings of the rear wheels
Wheel bearings are important because they help facilitate proper operation of the wheel hub, tire and wheel assemblies. They allow the wheel hub assembly to move freely and the tire and wheel to turn smoothly.
Driving with bad wheel bearings can cause you to lose control of your vehicle or cause braking problems. Unfortunately, rear wheel bearing failure is a common 2003 Lincoln Aviator failure .
According to an affected owner, they noticed unusual noise coming from their wheels and upon inspection, discovered that the wheel bearings had worn badly. The strange part, according to the owner, was that he ran into this problem at around 76,000 miles. Affected owners encountered this problem around 94,000 miles and it cost them at least $500 to fix.
Lincoln issued TSB #051710 to fix wheel bearing noise on the 2003 Aviator in October 2005, but the document is not yet available online at the time of this writing. If you have this particular model, you can ask your dealer for a copy of the TSB.
Despite being a reliable car, the Aviator still has some rather awkward issues, many of which are related to its interior and accessories. Before buying a new or used unit, be sure to do your research, especially on the model year you plan to buy. Also, before you close the deal, be sure to clarify everything with the seller, including the Lincoln Aviator’s repair history, TSBs, and recalls.