What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Ford Bronco?

WVDOT Automotive is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Ford Bronco is an SUV brought back from the dead in 2021. It was in production from 1965 to 1996, with it then taken off the market for 15 years. It did make a comeback and is available to buy once again.

Although the Ford Bronco lineup can be classified as one of the oldest ones on the market, it has always proven to be the best.

Before its discontinuation, it was the go-to vehicle for anyone looking for a solid off-roader with killer looks. This article will be focusing on the best and worst years for Ford Bronco, so you can decide which one will be suitable for you.

Let’s list all of them down before we get into the details:

Best Years for Ford Bronco:

  1. 1974
  2. 1992
  3. 1979
  4. 2021
  5. 2022

Worst Years for Ford Bronco:

  1. 1991
  2. 1990
  3. 1995
  4. 1988

These five models have been chosen because they have proven themselves to be the best yet. You will understand more once we discuss all of them in detail.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.

List Of The Best Years For The Ford Bronco: What Years To Buy

I will not be wasting any time. This section of the article will focus on all of the mentioned models. These models have been chosen because of their amazing performance and reliability.

Let’s get started!

#1 Best Year: 1974 Ford Bronco

The oldest model on this list is also the best to grace the market. Although the Bronco has had more than thirty years’ worth of models before its discontinuation, something about the 1974 one makes it a winner.

It is 45 years old at this point and is a beast on the road, thanks to its beefy 5.0L V8 engine under the hood. The 1974 Ford Bronco is offered with an automatic transmission, which allows you to focus more on your journey.

This SUV was designed for hardcore off-roading. The manufacturer improved the axle shafts and increased the towing capacity, which is great for people who need to carry heavy items.

#2 Best Year: 1992 Ford Bronco

Next up is the 1992 Ford Bronco. Surprisingly, the 1992 model was beaten by one 18 years older than it. Regardless, this one is still an amazing option, especially if you are looking for one for daily driving.

The 1992 Bronco has been designed to last. Its rugged design ensures you can take it anywhere without it failing on you. The 1992 model is preferred by many due to the addition of many safety features.

The manufacturer included airbags and an ABS, which is still widely used in the majority of the vehicles in the market.

#3 Best Year: 1979 Ford Bronco

If you are looking for a model that excels from a durability standpoint, then the 33-year-old 1979 Ford Bronco is the one for you.

This model had one thing that is rarely seen in vehicles. It allows for the use of diesel or gasoline without any performance loss. I bet you have not heard of such a feature before.

The 1979 Bronco resembled the F-Series of the manufacturer at the time. It still had its unique look. The 5.8L engine can last through thick and thin. It can also tow a considerable amount of load, which is another offering of this model.

#4 Best Year: 2021 Ford Bronco

We have finally entered modern times with the 2021 Ford Bronco. This model is the first one to be seen in almost three decades.

I am glad Ford dared to get this lineup back on its feet. The majority of you will prefer this model because of its modern looks. That is a major factor compared to the thirty and even 50-year-old alternatives.

Although this one also has been designed for off-roading, Ford did not include a V8 engine under the hood this time. The 2.3L engine is still more than capable and will allow for a decent drive experience.

It has a decent towing capacity of 3500 pounds. The interior is great and is better than the aged ones on the other models.

#5 Best Year: 2022 Ford Bronco

The 2022 Ford Bronco, the current model available, has also made its way onto this list. It has earned the last spot because the fuel economy is not up to par. Other than that, it is every bit as good as its 2021 predecessor.

This model also has the latest technology, which helps it provide an overall better driving experience. The off-roading capabilities of the engine are great, despite it not having a V8 engine, like the older models.

The comfort level is also pretty decent, ensuring you will have a pleasant experience, regardless of the terrain you are traveling on.

List Of The Worst Years For The Ford Bronco: What Years To Buy

Now that the top models of the Ford Bronco have been discussed, I will now be focusing on the models that have proven to be more unreliable than the others.

Although the issues are not too severe, it is still recommended to avoid these models.

#1 Worst Year: 1991 Ford Bronco

The 1991 Ford Bronco, which was unveiled more than three decades ago, is still considered the most unreliable model ever released.

There were problems with the fuel system and the air conditioning, making owning it very frustrating. There were also reports of the vehicle stalling when idling. The 1991 Bronco was known to drive roughly.

The air conditioning system would also fail at times. The reason for this is not known, but it is annoying, especially for people who live in extreme weather conditions. A few reports of the paint flaking off too, which makes the vehicle, look less desirable.

#2 Worst Year: 1990 Ford Bronco

The 1990 Ford Bronco was released a year earlier and was better than its successor. This model had a separate list of issues, with the most common ones related to the engine.

Owners complained that the oil pressure would become zero when the vehicle was warming up. There were leakages from the oil pan too.

The brake lines on the 1990 Ford Bronco were known to fill with rust. This is dangerous because rust can severely affect the performance of the brakes, which can lead to an accident if they do not work properly.

#3 Worst Year: 1995 Ford Bronco

The 1995 Ford Bronco has also made its way onto this list. This is the most recent model on this list and had two pretty serious issues. The first one was that the dashboard would rattle when driving, making journeys less comfortable and more annoying.

The transmission system was also not reliable on this model. There were many instances in which it would not shift properly. This is dangerous because improper shifting can result in the engine stalling, which can cause a serious accident.

So, if you buy this model, you must be aware of that.

#4 Worst Year: 1988 Ford Bronco

Finally, coming in last place is the 1988 Ford Bronco. This model has proven to be better than others on this list. That said, it did have its fair share of problems.

The electrical system was unreliable and would prevent the vehicle from starting. This is an annoying issue and can get very expensive to fix.

The brakes also caused issues with this model. The engine would stall when the brakes were applied, making driving this model impossible. The problem is unique, and I have not seen it in other vehicles.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Ford Bronco?

Now that we are done with the best models of the Ford Bronco, this article will focus on the common problems that users have had to face over the years.

It is recommended to read this section of the article in its entirety because it can directly impact your decision of buying this vehicle.

Let’s get started!

1. Stalling Engine

The first issue that many owners of the Ford Bronco had was related to the engine. They complained that the ignition module was faulty, which result in the vehicle would not start at all.

The problem was mostly reported in models released during 1990 and 1996. The engine stalling issue is expected to show up after the vehicle has been driven for more than 160000 miles.

Although that is plenty of mileage for a vehicle, the ignition module should never become faulty. The faulty module resulted in the vehicle shutting down in the middle of the road, which is extremely dangerous. It can lead to a serious accident.

Fortunately, there is a repair option for people who want to get the Bronco back in usable condition. The alternator may need to be changed, costing a maximum of $400.

Inspection costs are separate and can cost as much as $100. This is necessary to make sure that the correct faulty part is found.

Read these articles on the engines issues that Ford Bronco has below:

2. Problems With The Exhaust System

The exhaust system is another part of the older models of the Ford Bronco that is reported to become faulty after some usage.

According to owners, the recirculation system valves and tubes would malfunction, which would directly impact the driving experience of the SUV.

The models that have the highest rate of expectance for this issue are the ones that were produced from 1992 to 1996. Some people also complained about the 1991 models, but that may have been a one-off scenario.

The main reason for the existence of the exhaust system is to dispose of toxic gases, which can be dangerous. The problem is serious because if the tubes get damaged, they will produce a lot of noise.

This noise will make driving the vehicle a very annoying task. The damage can also pose a risk for some people. There may be a leakage of fumes, which may end up in the cabin.

3. Failure Of The Intake Manifold Gasket

The intake manifold gasket on the Bronco, or any other vehicle, is to prevent gas leakage from the gap between the cylinder heads and the manifold.

This is important during combustion. The manifold gasket also helps keep the temperature stable when the fuel is being burnt.

In the case of the Ford Bronco, there were issues with the gasket, which caused it to leak. A gasket leak cannot go unnoticed because there will be a sharp decline in performance.

There is even a chance of the engine stalling while driving, which is very dangerous. Complications could continue if the gaskets are sucked into the engine. This can result in serious problems.

A faulty gasket also results in poor fuel economy and poor regulation of toxic gases. Although the problem is major, the fix is not overly expensive.

You can expect to pay a minimum of $300 to get the gaskets replaced. This is a repair that must not be delayed at any cost.

4. Faulty Joints

The fourth and final problem on this list is also the most annoying. Owners complained that their vehicles would vibrate a lot at high speeds.

Well, in the case of the Bronco, this is due to damage to the universal joints in the suspension system. These joints can get damaged in any vehicle, but the Bronco was more prone to it.

So, what causes these joints to go bad? Well, nothing! They wear down with normal usage. If you drive a lot or on rough terrains, then you can expect them to wear down even sooner, but there is no other reason for them to fail.

According to my research, users can expect the problem to cause issues after driving for over 140000 miles. So, what is the solution to the problem? There are many factors to look for, such as wear and tear, rust, and rough driving.

Once again, the replacement cost is shockingly low, with the amount hovering at the $300 price point. It is recommended to not delay this repair at all as continuous wear and tear can result in serious damage to the vehicle’s suspension system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What’s Wrong With The Bronco Hardtop?

Ford messed up with this one. Owners complained that the hardtop variants of the Ford Bronco would start to change their shape when exposed to water. The simple and flat surface of the hardtop would become one with discoloration and a random design.

Fortunately, Ford did agree to replace all of the affected vehicles. That was a great step from its side. It also makes sense because Ford did not put its SUV through proper tests.

Q2. What Is An Old Bronco Worth?

It looks like one of the older models that have been discussed above has caught your eye. You can expect to pay around $10000 for a 1986 model.

That may feel steep to some people since this is a thirty-year-old vehicle, but it may be remembered that not many older models made their way onto the road. Plus, you are getting a V8 engine, under the hood, for that price!

Q3. How Long Does A Ford Bronco Last?

When talking about how long a vehicle will last, many things have to be considered. In the case of the older models of the Ford Bronco, if you can find replacement parts for annual maintenance, you can expect it to last for around 250000 miles.

That is a fantastic number. For the newer model, a similar mileage can be expected. So, if you buy one, it will last you for a long time.

Q4. Are Broncos Good On Gas?

The fuel economy on the Ford Bronco has never been great. The number dropped to 17 mpg in some models, which is terrible. But realistically, you can expect a fuel mileage of 20 to 22 mpg with this SUV.

This number will improve on the highway but not by a huge margin. So, if you buy the Ford Bronco, it is advised to not buy it for its fuel economy.

Q5. Are Broncos Going Up In Value?

You will understand better with a number. Although the prices were unchanged for most of the time, with the introduction of the 2021 Bronco, the prices of the older models skyrocketed.

Well, the 1966 Ford Bronco saw an increase of 472% in its price, introducing the newest models of the SUV. That is crazy. So, if you search for a used one, you can expect crazy prices.

Conclusion

With the Ford Bronco being in the market once again, it is a fantastic option for people looking for a spacious SUV that can also be taken off roads.

Although the newer engines may not look as powerful on paper, they are very capable, thanks to modern technology. Apart from the technology difference, the older models are still beasts on the road.

Well, this article has taken a detailed look into the best and worst years for Ford Bronco, with the older and newer models covered as well. I can assure you that you will not find a better article elsewhere.

I hope it helped you decide which model of the Bronco will be suitable for you or if it is worth your consideration. Thank you for your time.