The Lincoln MKZ is a decent offering in the world of mid-size sedans. The car offers a fairly reliable experience with low ownership costs. However, that doesn’t make the car immune to certain problems and flaws. We’ve stated some of the common issues that owners have reported over the years, along with their recommended solutions. Firstly, let’s go over a short answer.
The most common problems include power steering fluid leaks and deadly airbag inflators on the 2006-2012 model years. Other issues include faulty service brakes on the 2006-2010 and 2014-2015 model years; flaking rims on the 2007-2008 model years; power steering and headlight adjustment issues on the 2013-2016 model years; and powertrain problems on the 2017 model.
These are the main problems with different model years of the car. Apart from stating their solutions, we’ve also outlined their indicators, outcomes, and fixing costs. Let’s dig right in.
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1. Power Steering Fluid Leak
Several owners of the 2007-2012 model years of Lincoln MKZ have reported power steering fluid leakage. The usual indicators for this problem include whining noises from the steering assembly and fluid pools underneath the vehicles.
Having the recommended amount of power steering fluid is necessary to retain normal steering function. If in case the fluid level drops below the required amount, power steering failure can occur, which can further result in an accident.
We suggest that you must take your vehicle to the dealership for inspection if you notice any early signs of leakage.
As for the cause, the most common perpetrator is a faulty hose connection between the steering pump and gear. Thankfully, the problem can easily be solved by tightening up the connector clumps.
In case you happen to come across corrosion or damage on the clumps or hose, you can always swap them for new ones at around $30-40.
Unfortunately, power steering leaks are somewhat common in a wide range of vehicles, including other luxury rides like the Mercedes W204 or the BMW X3 so there’s a chance you’ve seen this problem before.
2. Deadly Airbag Inflators
The infamous Takata airbag problem plagues various cars from multiple brands. The Lincoln MKZ too faces this grave issue, which can further stem fatal consequences. Fortunately, a recall has been issued by Ford to replace the faulty part for free.
According to details, two separate recalls have been brought forth by Ford. These differences are between the regions that the cars are sold in. The 2006-2012 model years lie at the eye of the storm. What basically happens is that in the event of a crash, the frontal airbag inflator may explode. The blast occurs due to propellant degradation, which can result from high heat and temperatures.
As you probably might’ve guessed by now, the outcomes aren’t too forgiving. Sharp metal fragments fly off the airbag inflator and proceed to pierce through the occupants. Even if the driver and front passenger manage to pull through the main accident, this would be a hard blow to survive.
The first recall has been issued for the 2006-2012 model years under NHTSA’s campaign ID 21V158000. Keep in mind that this recall also includes some Lincoln Zephyr vehicles manufactured in 2006.
The second recall has been issued in a different zone for the 2009-2010 model years under NHTSA’s campaign ID 21V081000.
The general fix provided by the company is to either replace the airbag module or the faulty inflator, free of cost.
3. Service Brakes Issue
Service Brakes have remained an issue on the Lincoln MKZ for various model years. Two different recall categories can be formed in this regard:
The 2014-2015 model years that were originally sold or registered in states with salty air conditions are prone to brake failure.
The air quality, along with high temperature and humidity, can easily cause the brake pedal bumper to corrode. This can further result in the bumper disconnecting from the brake pedal. (NHTSA campaign ID 22V011000)
This separation can be dangerous since the brake lights can continuously lighten up – causing confusion among the drivers behind.
In cars equipped with an automatic transmission, the disconnected bumper can result in the vehicle jumping out of parking gear without applying the brakes. This can cause the vehicle to roll away and cause injury or damage to life and property, respectively.
The fix lies in swapping the brake and clutch pedal bumpers for new ones, free of cost.
The 2nd category includes the 2006-2010 model years. In these vehicles, valves inside the ABS hydraulic unit may fail to close completely. This results from their possible contact with brake fluids containing corrosion-free additives. (NHTSA campaign ID 19V904000)
When these valves fail to close properly, more than the average braking distance may be required to stop the car. For drivers that brake in accordance with routine, this can lead to some serious accidents.
In case you happen to own an affected vehicle, you must take your car to the nearest dealership at the earliest. Ford plans on flushing the brake system with DOT 4 fluid and replacing the brake fluid reservoir cap. They will also check the Hydraulic Control Unit (HCU) for possible stuck conditions, and replace it if necessary. All of this will be done free of charge.
4. Chrome Peeling Off The Wheels
Chrome peeling off of the wheels is a worrisome experience for owners, and an equally embarrassing one for Ford. Several owners have reported rim flaking and chrome peeling issues on their 2007-2008 Lincoln MKZ cars. While some may have been lucky to face the issue on a single wheel, others weren’t so fortunate and had to replace all 4 rims.
One common indicator, as pointed out by the owners, is visible damage to the rim. Peeled-off chrome creates a visually unpleasing look to the wheels. Another issue that the affected commonly run into is tire air pressure.
Many owners have had to fill the air in their tires virtually twice or thrice per week. The chrome particles that fly off deflate the tires and may also cause cuts and scrapes when filling air back in.
As regrettable as it may sound, Ford hasn’t taken up responsibility for the issue. The fix lies at the consumer’s end, who can replace the wheels for either stock ones or cheaper aftermarket options.
In case you happen to run into wheel issues, we recommend that you get them resolved as soon as possible. Aesthetic reasons aside, wheels are the main connection of your vehicle to the ground – and wheels that leak air and deflate quite commonly pose a threat to safe driving. The typical repair cost you can expect to pay is around $1200.
5. Electronic Steering Wheel Failure
There have been several instances of electronic power steering failure in various models of the Lincoln MKZ. According to the owners, they barely escaped crashes by either bringing the car to a halt or manually steering towards safety.
When the EPS fails, a warning light in the form of ‘service power steering’ may light up on the dash. For some owners, this notification didn’t pop up and they had to perform last-minute maneuvers.
After a quick research, we’ve found that the problem is caused by the steering gear. In some cases, the gear motor may detach; while in others, the gear itself is the main culprit.
Two separate recalls have been issued by Ford to tackle the issue. For the 2013-2016 model years (NHTSA campaign ID 19V632000), corroded bolts can cause the gear motor to disconnect from the gear housing. This can result in a loss of power assist, and a greater steering force is required to steer the vehicle.
In order to fix the problem, Ford will replace the gear motor bolts and apply a wax sealant. In case the affected parts are found to be damaged or missing, a new steering gear will be installed. All of this will be done free of charge.
For the 2011-2012 model years, safety recall 15S18 has been issued by Ford. In these vehicles, the Power Steering Control Module (PSCM) may stop working after sensing a motor position fault.
The company claims that a message, accompanied by a chime, will appear on the instrument cluster to warn the driver. The fix lies in checking the module for diagnostic codes. If not found, the company will simply reprogram the PSCM. In case trouble codes are found, your dealership will replace the whole power steering gear assembly.
6. Power Train Problems
Several owners have reported problems with the powertrain on their Lincoln MKZ vehicles. We’ve found that the model year most commonly affected by the issue is 2017.
According to the drivers, unintended and forceful acceleration took place in some cases – despite applying the brakes to their full potential. Some were fortunate enough to avert crashes, while others weren’t so lucky. As it turns out, the accelerator pedal seems to be unresponsive when this happens, and the vehicle speeds forward.
In other cases, the affected vehicles ceased to accelerate, despite being in gear and virtually ready for a spin. Ford has issued a recall to fix the problem at hand, under NHTSA recall number 17V-427.
While other assistive features are claimed to remain functional, the torque converter is expected to lose coupling to the engine flex plate if the welded studs break. Resultantly, vehicles found with such faults will have their torque convertors replaced for free.
7. Improper Headlight Adjustment
Ford has issued a recall for certain Lincoln MKZ cars from the 2013-2016 model years. The fault lies in these vehicle’s headlights adjustment. The lamps may have an incorrect beam pattern and horizontal adjustment, which can reduce visibility. This can also affect the vehicle’s exterior visibility to other motorists.
The company has devised a way out of the problem. They intend to replace the faulty headlamps on affected vehicles and return them to the parent company to be discarded. The consumer needs not worry since the replacement is free of cost.
NHTSA campaign ID for this recall is 20E025000.
What’s The Worst Year of The Lincoln MKZ?
With only two generations that went on sale from 2006-2020, the Lincoln MKZ (known as Lincoln Zephyr for the 2006 model year) managed to make a fairly reliable name. Generally, a Lincoln MKZ can last around 180,000 miles or 13-14 years.
However, with proper care and maintenance, the car can go way beyond 200,000 miles. This is an ideal mileage range before the car requires serious repairs and spending.
As for the best and worst model years of the car, we’ve done some extensive research to point them out. Early model years in the first generation of the car seem to be the most problematic.
More particularly, the 2007 model year has accumulated the most number of complaints. The car has endured 5 recalls and over 200 complaints on NHTSA’s website. In case you happen to own one, make sure that it has all 5 recalls entertained.
The best Lincoln MKZs have to be the 2019-2020 model years. The cars have a minimum number of complaints, despite being in the market for quite a while now. Choosing one would be hard, since both have zero recalls and are equally good in terms of reliability.
Alright, we’ve delved deep into the most common issues you might face with a Lincoln MKZ. From power steering fluid leaks and deadly airbag inflators to power steering and headlight adjustment issues we’ve got you covered on what to look out for.
Now, if you’re a Lincoln enthusiast or you’re not sure which model you should commit to, then don’t forget to check our other articles on Lincoln models and their common problems, like the Lincoln MKC and many more.
In conclusion, while Lincoln MKZ has its fair share of problems, being informed and proactive can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Happy driving!
His interests in cars, motorcycles, and machines led him to the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore where he is currently a mechanical engineering sophomore.
His future aims include the development of an energy-efficient prototype vehicle for the Shell Eco-Marathon competition and getting a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering from Germany.