Lincoln MKX years to avoid — most common problems
Lincoln is a premium brand that stands for the epitome of luxury and comfort of its models when compared to its Ford counterparts. Still, for years they had an empty slot in their lineup within the compact SUV segment that leans toward the crossover body type.
That gap got filled with the Lincoln MKX back in 2007, and the model is still going strong today. Now in its second generation, the model recently got a facelift and now seems like the go-to pick for drivers looking at vehicles in this segment. Even so, there are some Lincoln MKX years to avoid due to commonly reported problems, and our team made this guide with the utmost focus on these.
Most common Lincoln MKX problems
If you are looking for a compact SUV suitable for driving your whole family on road trips and easier parking in the narrow downtown parking slots, the MKX ticks all the right boxes. Our team also believes it’s one of the best-buy options in the game, but there are some issues we need to discuss.
We’ll leave it to you to use the listed issues and our verdict in making of your own judgment on this model, but let’s stick with the common issues for now. The first thing that comes to mind is the bothersome engine shutdown while the vehicle is still running. This problem got reported mostly for the 2016 model year and it’s a true drag if you have to deal with it, especially while driving on the highway.
There’s also the problem with the faulty airbag system which seems to have been dragging around ever since the model got first introduced. We’ve seen numerous recall actions taken by the Ford Motor Company and we’ll be discussing this issue in further detail below. That way you at least won’t have to wonder “why is my airbag light on” all the time while driving your new compact SUV.
Besides the sudden engine shutdowns and airbag-related problems, we’ve seen plenty of driver complaints concerning the electrical systems and wiring, as well as the problem of a sinking brake pedal and loss of braking power.
Engine shutdown problem
One of the worst problems that could happen while driving is to see the engine simply turn off while on the road, and this sadly happened to some Lincoln MKX owners. As it turns out, the issue was mostly caused by the faulty throttle body which led to excessively low RPM when idle and poor throttle response on the gas pedal input.
If you are unfamiliar with its role, the throttle body is a valve that regulates the air suction into the engine’s combustion chambers. It all happens based on the power with which you press the accelerator, and the ECU then injects fuel accordingly.
However, modern cars like the Lincoln MKX use electronically-operated throttle bodies, and that’s the cause for concern in this case. So, it’s best to avoid the 2016′ MKX, or at least have the throttle body checked by a trusted mechanic. You should also know that some of the main symptoms that occur before the throttle body fails are extremely low idle RPM level and erratic r response to the accelerator input.
Problems with the airbag system
If we are talking about the most common issues that have persistently caused trouble to owners of different MKX model years, the airbag problem is the main one. It’s also a disturbing issue for your driving safety since there have been a lot of reports on faulty airbag inflation.
The most common complaints include airbag inflator module ruptures and the airbags not fully inflating, increasing the risk of an accident. This caused quite a few recalls in 2016 and 2017, so the 2007-2010 MKX and 2016-2017 MKX models had issues concerning airbag deployment.
Issues with electrical connections and wiring
Another confirmed problem with the MKX is of an electrical sort since short circuits and problems with wiring harnesses caused difficulties with the battery life and even fire hazards. The problem was most prominent for the 2016-2017 LKX, and that led to the official recall scheduled to fix the issue.
There’s even the problem of inadvertent airbag deployment due to passengers using the tilting function of the seat and damaging the wire harness. You can probably guess how bad this is and it’s no wonder that numerous MKX and Nautilus models were recalled because of it.
The sinking brake problem
In some model years, the MKX had issues with the braking pressure, and drivers have reported that sometimes the brake pedal goes to the floor without proper braking response. This problem was caused by the brake fluid leak that occurred due to ruptured brake hoses.
If there’s no sufficient brake fluid in the system, the braking distance gets longer and longer since the system works based on hydraulic pressure. That’s what happened with the MKX and longer stopping distances made a big safety concern for drivers so Ford initiated a recall in 2020 to replace the hoses with ones made of revised and more durable material.
Which Lincoln MKX years to avoid?
Based on the information disclosed by the NHTSA, the MKX went through 19 recalls in total over 12 years of production. It doesn’t make it the most reliable car in the world, but that’s not a bad score either, especially since there were some minor issues like faulty door latches that caused a recall.
At least it gets easier to choose the best model when you know about all these issues, so let’s see which are the Lincoln MKX years you should avoid at all costs.
First-generation Lincoln MKX (2007-2008 and 2011-2014 model years)
Things weren’t looking so great for the MKX during the initial production years since there were just a few model years that didn’t receive many complaints. The initial model year had some issues with the leaking fuel tank and electrical issues started appearing right away.
From 2011 to 2014 years, the axle shaft assembly fault affected drivers to be unable to get the engine power translated to the wheels. That along with the engine shutting off issue for the second-gen MKX made some of the worst problems with a higher chance of causing accidents.
Second-generation Lincoln MKX (2016 model year)
The second generation of the MKX not only looked a lot better in terms of exterior design, but it also proved to be much more reliable. Some problems of the first generation were solved, including the bothersome fuel leaks and axle shaft issues.
However, the 2016 model year in particular had a few complaints listed by drivers, and it’s rated even worse than the 2007 or 2011 model. The main problem was the engine which was prone to shutting off while on the road. On top of that, drivers have experienced issues with the airbag system and electrical issuers were pretty common.
The faulty steering assist system was the final drop that made drivers give up on this model and it’s best if you avoid it and settle for a 2015 or 2017 MKX.
Best Lincoln MKX years
Don’t let the listed problems of the MKX let you down – the whole point of this guide is to give you an overview of the model years that are best avoided. However, that doesn’t mean that all the MKX models are bad, and here’s a list of the best production years that proves it:
- 2009 Lincoln MKX
- 2010 Lincoln MKX
- 2015 Lincoln MKX
- 2017 Lincoln MKX
- 2018 Lincoln MKX
All of these models are safe to buy used and their reliability proved to be above average for a vehicle in this class. It seems as if the first few and the final few years of the first gen’s MKX production were the worst, and those in the middle at least appear to be quite reliable.
That’s why it’s best to go for a 2009 or 2010 model if you are planning on buying a first-gen MKX. As for the second-gen model, we advise you to take a look at 2015, 2017, or 2018 models. Basically, it’s only important to avoid the 2016 one that got numerous reliability reports and it is simply not worth your time or effort.
Is Lincoln MKX worth buying?
The Lincoln MKX is one of those models where it’s all about the particular model year you decide to go with. If you buy a 2007 or 2011 model, chances are that you’ll have to spend some time at the repair shop. However, the 2009 and 2015 models are extremely reliable, so it all depends on your choice.
We hope to have provided you with proper aid and support when it comes to common problems and years to avoid so you can use your future MKX for years to come.
Is the Lincoln MKX reliable?
The Lincoln MKX is a reliable car as long as you avoid problematic model years like 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2016.
How long will a Lincoln MKX last?
The Lincoln MKX will last for 200,000 miles on average based on driver reports.
What is the most reliable used Lincoln?
The most reliable used Lincoln is a 2015 model if you are looking to buy the used MKX.
Does Lincoln MKX have transmission problems?
The Lincoln MKX had a few transmission issues in the 2011 and 2016 model years which are best avoided due to a large number of reliability complaints.