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Lincoln Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 17 Lincoln models based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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161
Known Problems

The automatic transmission may develop shifting concerns. On lower mileage vehicles, upgrading the software in the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (TCM) may correct the problem. As the mileage increases, internal transmission damage can occur. Repairs could involve replacement of the valve body or a complete transmission rebuild. Whenever major transmission repairs are made, it is important to be sure the PCM and the TCM have the latest software updates to help prevent these issues from reoccurring.

A fluid leak may be noted from the axle area. Red fluid is from the transmission. Brown fluid is from the power transfer unit (PTU). Leaks are commonly from the axle seal and/or PTU cover seal. Leaking seals should be replaced as necessary.

Even though the manufacturer does not call for regular servicing, our technicians recommend servicing the power steering fluid regularly.

Erratic engine coolant temperature or intermittent overheating can be caused by corrosion inside the water pump. The impeller may spin on the water pump shaft or the impeller may corrode. Either condition reduces coolant circulation resulting in engine overheating.

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The composite (plastic) intake manifold may crack near the thermostat housing and cause a coolant leak. Ford released an updated manifold that was reinforced to prevent a recurrence. No recall was issued for this problem but Ford did extend the warranty to seven years on some models from the date of purchase.

The Lincoln Navigator is known for displaying the normal symptoms of a coolant leak, including overheating, the strong smell of coolant from the engine, and illumination of the low engine coolant warning light, without any visual signs of coolant leakage. 

This leak is difficult to locate as it is buried underneath the intake manifold, and only begins to leak coolant onto the ground in advanced stages of disrepair. This leak springs from the heater tube, which allows coolant to flow between the water pump and HVAC heater core

When the connection for this tube begins to leak, the coolant burns on the hot engine, and produces a sweet smell that is unmistakably engine coolant. 

The remedy can be complicated, and will necessitate removal of the intake manifold, heater tube, and possibly the water pump. After removal of these items, the connector may be replaced, or a set of o-rings, depending on the year of the vehicle. 

Erratic engine coolant temperature or intermittent overheating can be caused by corrosion inside the water pump. The impeller may spin on the water pump shaft or the impeller may corrode. Either condition reduces coolant circulation resulting in engine overheating.

 

Sagging suspension can be a result of air suspension struts and/or drier leaking air. These type of air leaks can lead to failure of the air suspension compressor.

Sagging suspension can be a result of air suspension struts and/or drier leaking air. These type of air leaks can lead to failure of the air suspension compressor.

Model years 2007-2012 of the Lincoln MKZ using the 6-speed automatic transmission have been known to produce hard shifting and transmission slippage between gears. This is most noticeable when the transmission is hot, but can happen at any time. Note, this transmission is designed to be ‘sealed for life’ meaning the transmission fluid is never meant to be changed.

As many drivers and owners have learned, the issues are caused by problematic software for the transmission or mechanical failures associated with the transmission valve body or shift solenoids.

In order to restore transmission performance while shifting, the manufacturer of the transmission has issued several software updates that should correct the shifting issues. If hard shifts and slippage still exist after the software updates are completed, the transmission must be removed, disassembled, inspected and repaired.

 

Some technicians have advised replacing transmission fluid at normal intervals, but the manufacturer guidance is to use the original transmission fluid for the entire service life of the vehicle. 

A well-documented and well-known issue with the Lincoln Zephyr is harsh shifting from the 6-speed automatic transmission, and slight slippage between gears. This has been noted as hesitation to accelerate, especially from a stop.

Mainly, software issues have been to blame for these mishaps, but mechanical malfunctions related to shift solenoids and the valve body have also been major causes. Finally, the automatic transmissions in these models are sold as ‘sealed for life’, yet the transmission fluid does not seem to last the complete service life of the vehicle.

Correction of these issues often requires a simple software update, meaning the vehicle only needs to be plugged in, and the transmission controller receives new programming meant to fix these drivability concerns. In cases where this does not correct concerns, the transmission must be removed, inspected, and repaired, possibly requiring a complete rebuild.

To mitigate these issues from escalating to a full transmission rebuild, many technicians recommend replacing the transmission fluid at regular intervals, yet the manufacturer has never offered this guidance.

Poor fitment of the headliner, which may or may not develop into a rattle noise around the sunroof area is generally caused buy foam isolation blocks becoming detached from the headliner. The repair involves re-securing the foam blocks using cable (zip) ties.

The trunk lid may not latch closed, this is generally caused by the trunk latch sticking in the open position. Our technicians tell us that in most cases the trunk latch assembly will need to be replaced to correct this issue.

A cosmetic crack may develop on the plastic liftgate trim panel. Lincoln has released a service procedure to replace the applique without damage the the liftgate glass.

Various radio performance concerns may develop including noisy operation, no operation, or SYNC issues. Reprogramming the appropriate module with updated software will commonly correct most of these issues.