What kind of problems does a Mexican-made Lincoln MKZ Hybrid usually have? In this blog, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for an MKZ Hybrid. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.
The most critical problems of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are power steering failure that increases the risk of crashes, and airbag inflator explosion that can cause severe injuries to the driver and occupants. Both of these problems are found in the 2011 and 2012 models. The 2013 and 2014 models have recalls dealing with transmission software issues, defective door latches, and seatbelt failures. The 2017 model has a recall addressing a welding defect that may cause immobilization.
That was the most straightforward answer possible. In the article below, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. This includes identifying it, fixing it, and how much it costs to fix. Read on!
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1. Air Bag Inflator Explosion
Takata’s airbag inflator defect affects many automakers, including Honda and Lincoln. The driver’s side airbag inflator experiences propellant degradation after long-term exposure to high temperatures, high-temperature cycling, and high humidity, which results in an explosion. The inflator explosion expels sharp metal fragments that can strike the driver and passengers. This seriously endangers the safety and life of the people within the vehicle.
This issue is found in Lincoln MKZ hybrid’s 2011 and 2012 models. Ford Motor Company issued a recall to replace the driver-side airbag inflator or module free of charge.
However, if you’re in the market for a Lincoln MKZ hybrid, it’s best to check if the inflator has been replaced. Most complaints against the 2011 and 2012 models concern unavailable parts for a replacement that leave consumers waiting for months or more.
Also read: The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Lincoln
2. Power Steering Failure
There were multiple complaints about the steering going rigid or suddenly becoming tough in the 2011 and 2012 models of Lincoln’s MKZ hybrid. These issues made controlling the vehicle difficult and increased the risk of crashes and serious injuries.
A defective steering motor sensor caused the shutdown of electric power steering systems. Ford issued a recall that fixed this problem. In the recall, the dealers will check the Power Steering Control Module (PSCM) for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC). If the problem is with DTCs, then the steering gear will be replaced free of charge. The PSCM software will be updated free of charge if no codes are found.
Another power steering problem was found in the 2013 to 2015 models. This problem manifests itself in the form of an early warning sign. The power steering assist fault message will appear on your dashboard, indicating that the power steering might fail. This is usually accompanied by your steering wheel getting seized. If you face this problem, get your car to a nearby mechanic as soon as possible.
The source of this problem was corroded bolts, resulting in detached steering gear motors and a loss of power steering. A recall was made for this issue as well. The dealers would either replace the steering gear motor bolts or install a new steering gear altogether, depending on the vehicle’s condition; both fixes were done free of charge.
If you’re in the market for a 2011 to 2015 Lincoln MKZ hybrid, be sure to check if these power steering fixes have been carried out. Getting these fixes done yourself could be between $500 to $1000.
3. Rollaway Vehicle Threat
The vehicle rollaway threat was found in the 2013 and 2014 MKZ hybrid. A fault caused the problem in the transmission range sensor that allowed the hybrid to change from park mode to drive mode without depressed brakes. This means the car could accidentally roll away from you, which of course, is a severe safety risk.
The fault also broke a regulation requiring the brakes to be engaged when shifting from park mode to drive mode. The NHTSA found the fault in the sensor, which led to the hybrid’s recall.
The fix is an easy one. The vehicles have to be taken to the dealers, who will then update the powertrain control module software, fixing the issue.
To date, there have been very few recalls to rectify this problem. The odds are that you won’t have to deal with this problem if you decide to buy a Lincoln MKZ. However, if you’re buying a 2013-2014 make of Lincoln MKZ, we advise you to ensure that this problem does not exist.
4. Defective Door Latches
In the 2013 to 2016 MKZ hybrids, the doors wouldn’t close properly, and if locked after multiple attempts, they would be at the risk of opening while the vehicle was in motion. The problem was traced back to a piece within the door latch mechanism that failed after exposure to extreme temperatures.
There were three recalls made regarding this problem. In each recall, Ford dealers would replace the faulty latches free of charge. There was a need for three recalls because each time, there were cases where the problem occurred, so another recall was needed until the third recall.
Although this is a relatively rare problem, it is better to contact the Lincoln help center if you ever find yourself in this problem. Fixing this problem on your own without a warranty will cost you unnecessary bucks.
5. Soy-Coated Wiring
Soy-Coated wiring has become a common issue for most brands, including Lincoln. Most automakers switched to soy-based coating for their wiring because it was more biodegradable and so more eco-friendly. Although it’s better for the environment, it’s also better for the automaker as these soy-based coatings are cheaper than their plastic counterparts.
The problem with these soy-based coatings is that they attract rodents which then like to chew on them and use them as nesting material. This could cause an array of problems, any system that utilizes wires accessible to these rodents is at risk of failing. This has become quite the problem since there is no easy solution, and it’s a problem found in most vehicles by most automakers.
There are some simple steps to include into your routine to try and catch these rodents before they cause an expensive problem. This includes regularly opening the hood and looking for signs of rodent activity, looking for shredded pieces of wire where you park your cars, and cleaning out all the food in your car.
6. Battery Draining Issues
Another problem that we found with the Lincoln MKZ hybrid is its battery. The battery can be drained either in the middle of driving or while it is parked. This is a significant problem that has irritated several MKZ owners.
If your battery drained while your MKZ was off, it might be due to corroded battery cables. This problem can be solved by cleaning the battery cables using a wire brush or buying battery post cleaners. This set of tools won’t cost you more than 20 bucks and is usually available at Wal-Mart or some other superstore.
Another possible cause of your car’s battery draining is a bad battery. Take your car to the nearest mechanic shop to find out whether your battery needs charging or whether it has given up the ghost.
If the battery of your MKZ is being drained while driving, it is most likely due to a faulty alternator. The alternator is responsible for generating electricity to power your car’s battery. Your engine’s dashboard usually points out this problem. You will see the alternator light on if this is the actual cause of your problem.
The average cost for an alternator replacement amounts to approximately $500-$600. This range can vary from state to state, and it also depends on what other problem’s ailing your car.
7. Seat Belt Failure
Seat belt failure was another safety feature failure that the 2013 to 2015 MKZ hybrid owners were stuck with. The issued recall stated that the front passenger and driver seatbelt cables could not properly restrain the occupants in the event of a crash. Thus, increasing the risk of severe or fatal injuries.
The failure was caused by the heat released in the deployment of a seat belt pretensioner in a crash; this heat could result in an anchor cable failure leaving the seat belt ineffective. According to the recall, Ford dealers would apply a protective coating to the seat belt cable for affected vehicles. This would be done free of charge.
Unfortunately, there have been some complaints regarding long waits for fixes in this recall. Consumers reported waiting for months as their dealers did nothing but claim they were out of required materials.
8. Welding Defect That May Cause Immobilization
In the 2017 model of the MKZ hybrid, there was a welding defect that could cause the torque converter to be disconnected from the engine flexplate. This would result in the immobilization of the vehicle.
Fortunately, this was fixed under a recall that replaced the torque converters free of charge. All you had to do was visit the dealership. If you had to replace the torque converters on your own, it would set you back $600 to $1000.
What’s The Worst Year Of The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid batteries should last you around 4 to 5 years, and the vehicle itself should last between 180,000 to 200,00 miles, just like its non-hybrid counterpart. Let’s look at what years of the MKZ hybrid you should avoid.
We would recommend avoiding the 2011 and 2012 models of the MKZ hybrid. The most important problems of these models are airbag failure and power steering failure, both of which have issued recalls. These problems are significant safety risks, so careful inspection must ensure that the necessary parts have been replaced before buying one of these models. This can be troublesome considering the long waiting periods due to unavailable parts in the airbag inflator recall. These were also the most complained about models of the MKZ Hybrid.
2017 to 2020 models of the MKZ Hybrid are excellent choices; they all have few complaints and recalls making them ideal. Recalls are generally good as they fix a problem as opposed to leaving it unattended, but too many recalls make the models challenging to deal with, and it becomes a troublesome task to check up on recall replacements and fixes before buying the secondhand vehicle.
The 2013 to 2015 models are decent options and have two critical recalls to watch out for: the seatbelt recall and the power steering recall; both are safety concerns and should not be taken lightly. Still, there were fewer complaints against these models, and the recall trips were less troublesome than the 2011 and 2012 models.
There are also two other recalls regarding door latches and transmission software. The transmission software recall is relatively trouble-free as it only requires a software update, after which you’re good to go. However, the door latch recall is quite annoying because there have been three recalls for the same issue, so you’ll have to figure out which ones you’re a part of and which one ends up fixing the problem for you.
- 2017 LINCOLN MKZ HEV 4 DR FWD | NHTSA
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!