How Long Ford Transit Engines Last For

When you consider buying any vehicle it is important to know how long you can expect it to last before needing extensive repairs.

Engine Life of a Ford Transit

If you use your Ford Transit properly as a van and not a sports car, and maintain it according to Ford’s recommendations, the engine should last for 150,000 miles before requiring any major repairs. Some owners manage to get 200 000 and even 300 000 miles, but problems can start at 100 000 miles.

Ford maintains that any of their vehicles, including the engines, should last for 150,000 miles.

In reality this figure may be fairly accurate as some Ford Transit owners have said they have up to 200,000 or even 300,000 miles on their transit vans and have not experienced any major problems with the engines.

However other Ford Transit owners have said they had to make repairs as early as after 100,000 miles.

This would indicate that 150,000 miles is a reasonable average considering the different circumstances the vans may ordeal. The life span of any engine is always dependent on how it is used and maintained on a regular basis, so this could account for the vast differences in mileage experienced.


How Driving Affects the Life of the Engine

Different types of vehicles are designed to be driven in certain ways, and so the engines are specifically designed for those purposes.

This means that, like other manufactures, Ford have to provide their different types of vehicles with different engines, depending on their envisaged use.

Their Ford Mustang for instance, is intended to be used as a sports car and so is designed to undergo fast acceleration and prolonged periods of high speeds.

Near the other end of the scale is the Ford Transit. The engine in the Ford Transit is not designed for fast acceleration or prolonged periods of high speed but instead is intended to be powerful at more sedate rates of speed.

If you try to use a Ford Transit as a sports car, the engine will not last as long as it would if you use the van in the way a van is designed to be used.

The same applies to using a Mustang to try and carry large loads or even tow large loads; the engine is not being used for its intended use and so will therefore not last as long as it should.


Maintenance of the Ford Transit and its Engine

In order to maintain a vehicle to its best, all manufacturers provide regular maintenance schedules which should be carried out to obtain maximum efficiency and longevity.

These schedules will contain both periodic servicing by qualified mechanics plus regular checks which can be carried out by the owners.

Although not all the aspects of the Ford maintenance schedule are solely directed at the maintenance of just the engine, some of the other aspects may also indirectly affect the efficiency of the engine.

Recommended scheduled checklist for a Ford transit comprises different checks at different mileages, and these are:

Every 5,000 Miles

  • Replace engine oil and the filter
  • Inspect engine cooling system, including all hoses and clamps
  • Inspect and top off any other fluid levels
  • Rotate tires and check their condition and pressures

Every 15,000 Miles

  • Replace the air filter

Every 30,000 Miles

  • Inspect fuel lines
  • Inspect ignition wires

These are inspections and actions you should take regardless of you buying a new or used Ford Transit. If you buy a new Ford Transit, you will be provided with other periodic checks which are to be carried out by recommended Ford mechanics.


Ford Parts

If you need to buy any filters or other parts for your Ford Transit engine, it is always best to use specific Ford parts.

Many engine parts are stated to be ‘universal’, but whilst they may work, they may not offer the same efficiency or longevity that specific Ford parts may.

There are however instances when Ford indicate which other parts may be used for equal efficiency as their own parts.


Ford Transit Engines Vs. Other Van Engines

Ford Transits are the most popular van with fleet owners in the US this is despite there now being several different options available from other manufacturers.

Whilst some of the other more popular options may claim better MPG than Ford Transits, the fact that many fleet owners of vans still opt for Ford Transits says the most about their reliability. Whilst other vans may claim to be more efficient than Ford Transits, none claim their engines provide more longevity.


Option for Diesel Engine Ford Transit

Diesel engines are known for their efficiency and durability, and so now some models of the Ford Transit offer the option to have a diesel engine instead of gas.

While it may be true that a diesel engine can offer more miles to the gallon than a gas engine, this is often only the case when driving longer distances. In city environments, the gap in efficiency between a diesel engine and a gas engine is greatly reduced.

In general terms, diesel engines do usually last longer than gas engines however there is a down side. Diesel engines are more expensive than gas engines plus the cost of any repairs is also much higher. In some instances, just the replacing of the fuel injectors on a diesel engine can cost the same as buying a whole new gas engine.


Ford Transit Engines

In 2020 Ford replaced the traditional standard 3.7-liter V6 engine with a newly designed 3.5-liter V6 engine which Ford claim will increase both the horsepower and torque.

2020 also sees the introduction of a new diesel option for Ford transit. The new 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder is said to also provide more power than the old 3.2-liter turbodiesel inline-five engine it replaces.


Popularity of the Ford Transit

The popularity of the Ford Transit and its engine is not only due to its longevity but also due to its power and reliability. In one version or another, Ford Transit has been in operation since 1965, time enough to prove its reliability.

Today the Ford Transit, with its powerful engine, can transport payloads of up to 4,530lbs and tow loads weighing as much as 7,500lbs.

While today there are other newer vans which boast to be able to carry higher payloads, unlike the Ford Transit, they have not been available long enough to prove their reliability and longevity.

The Ford Transit has maintained its popularity due to newer versions adapting to compete with new competitors. While the newer versions adapt, such as introducing more powerful engines, it has not been at the cost of reducing their reliability or longevity.

Newer versions of the Ford Transit may all look similar to older versions from the outside; it is what is under the hood which improves their performance and keeps them competitive with other brands.



Over a great many years, the Ford Transit engines have proved themselves time and time again as being reliable and long lasting.

The Ford Transit is an important part of the Ford inventory, and so as new technologies are developed, Ford tries to incorporate them into their next models. This enables the Ford Transit to keep ahead of the competition and remain the most popular van for fleet owners in the US.

With their powerful and reliable engines Ford Transit vans have proven they can be used dependably for a wide variety of tasks, making them popular choices among small business owners. The reliability and longevity of a van is perhaps even more critical to small business owners than it is to the owners of a fleet of vehicles.

The time it takes to properly maintain an engine is nothing compared to the time that could be lost should it need to go to a mechanic for repair work. Plus of course, the cost of maintenance is minimal, whereas some repairs can be expensive.

With an expected life of 150,000 miles, the Ford Transit engine is one of the longest lasting in the industry.

More recently, other brands have claimed to have developed engines that will last longer, but they have not been around long enough for those claims to have been proven. Until the claims are proven, and their reliability confirmed, Ford Transits will probably remain the most popular vans available.

Author: Kenneth Graham

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