Lincoln Town Car Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Lincoln Town Car Years To Avoid – When it comes to iconic luxury sedans, the Lincoln Town Car undoubtedly holds a special place. From its debut in 1981 until its final year in 2011, this model line captivated the hearts of many with its sophisticated design and comfortable ride.

However, not all years of the Lincoln Town Car were created equal.

In this article, we’ll delve into the details and reveal the specific Lincoln Town Car years to avoid, shedding light on the models that might not have stood the test of time as gracefully as others.

With a production history spanning three generations over 30 model years, the Lincoln Town Car’s journey has seen both highs and lows.

Lincoln Town Car Years To Avoid

The initial years saw relatively few issues, providing a promising start for this luxurious sedan. It wasn’t until the year 2003 that notable concerns began to emerge.

Over the course of 22 model years, Town Car owners have voiced a total of 159 complaints, hinting at certain problematic periods.

To put things into perspective, the Lincoln Town Car’s reliability has been evaluated against other eligible Lincoln models, and the results are intriguing.

Among the lineup of 15 Lincoln models, the Town Car secures the 4th spot in terms of reliability.

This ranking is based on an innovative system known as PainRank™, which takes into account the severity of reported problems. A higher PainRank™ number suggests a higher likelihood of encountering significant issues.

The Town Car’s performance comes in at a respectable 2.95, showcasing its overall reliability amidst the competition.

The Worst Lincoln Town Car Years To Avoid

While the Lincoln Town Car boasts a history spanning from 1981 to 2011, not all years should be treated equally. Some have demonstrated exceptional durability and performance, while others have faced their fair share of challenges.

We’ll guide you through the years that have garnered a reputation for being less than optimal, helping you make informed decisions if you’re considering adding a Town Car to your collection.

The 1999 Model Year: A Tale of Troubles

As enthusiasts and critics alike have discovered, the 1999 Lincoln Town Car is not without its woes. Considered by many as the worst model year, the 1999 edition has garnered infamy for a myriad of issues.

Among these, the cracked intake manifold stands as a prominent concern.

When faced with this dilemma, owners can expect to shell out an average of $900 for repairs. Mileage also plays a role, with an average of 120,000 miles when this problem rears its head.

The heater core failure adds to the frustration, demanding an average repair cost of $1,500 at around 92,000 miles.

Additionally, power windows that refuse to budge have also plagued owners, with an average mileage of 30,000 miles.

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2003 Lincoln Town Car: Early Signs of Strain

The year 2003 marked a turning point for the Lincoln Town Car’s reputation. While it may not claim the title of the absolute worst, it does showcase a significant increase in complaints compared to its predecessors.

The top grievances spanned across various categories, including the engine, body and paint, AC and heater, and the braking system.

Of these, engine issues loomed large, with reports of spark plug blowouts, occasional non-starting, and rough engine performance.

The cost to rectify the notorious spark plug blowout hovers around $480, occurring at an average mileage of 160,000 miles. Insert kits are a common solution to this dilemma.

Body and paint problems took the form of water leakage into the vehicle and visible rust, causing paint bubbles on the exterior.

The AC and heater, while not the most critical problems, posed annoyances such as poor AC performance at higher speeds and an unpleasant HVAC smell.

Repairs for the latter are fortunately economical, averaging around $10. On the braking front, some owners reported failures while driving and persistent squeaking noises.

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This set of issues, although not as severe as those in some other vehicles, highlighted the need for careful consideration when opting for a 2003 Lincoln Town Car.

2004 Lincoln Town Car: A Mixed Bag

The year 2004 carried its own set of challenges for the Lincoln Town Car. Engine concerns took center stage, with spark plug blowouts making a reappearance.

Repairs for this issue averaged around $250 at approximately 140,000 miles. The interior accessories category also had its share of problems.

Water leaks persisted from previous years, while issues with the sunroof design and power lock mechanism plagued some owners.

Additionally, the steering system attracted complaints, though not to the extent of the engine issues.

The Troublesome Year of 1996: A Comprehensive Overview

The 1996 Lincoln Town Car, while embodying luxury on the surface, has had its fair share of setbacks beneath the hood. Among the notable issues that have marred this model year, rusted steel brake lines stand out as a concerning problem.

With the potential to cause a complete brake loss, this issue requires immediate attention.

Owners have reported an average repair cost of around $300, and these problems tend to surface around the 149,000-mile mark.

Another issue that has affected the 1996 Town Car is the curious phenomenon of the car’s back end “dragging” on the ground.

This unusual problem, likely linked to suspension or undercarriage components, has led to an average repair cost of $300. This issue typically surfaces at an average mileage of 80,000 miles.

Furthermore, the 1996 model year has also grappled with persistent Check Engine Light illuminations, often caused by O2 sensor failures in both banks of the engine.

This recurring issue can lead to performance problems and reduced fuel efficiency.

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The cost to rectify this issue is around $300, and the problem tends to appear at an average mileage of 75,000 miles.

The Challenge of the Year 2000: Uncovering the Issues

The year 2000 saw its fair share of troubles within the Lincoln Town Car lineup. One significant problem that owners encountered was the accumulation of water in the right rear floorboard.

While the cost to fix this issue is not available, the average mileage at which it appears is around 69,000 miles.

This problem, if left unresolved, can lead to interior damage and discomfort for passengers.

In a rather peculiar twist, the 2000 Lincoln Town Car faced a unique issue related to its wiring.

The presence of a soy-based coating on the wires seemed to attract rodents, leading them to chew on the wires and cause potential electrical problems.

The cost to fix this rodent-induced damage averages around $500, appearing at an average mileage of 110,000 miles.

One of the most concerning and potentially dangerous issues reported for the 2000 Town Car is instances of the car catching fire while driving.

While details regarding the average cost to fix and the mileage at which this problem occurs are not available, the fact that this issue has arisen is certainly cause for concern.

Lincoln Town Car Best Years

When it comes to luxury automobiles, few names carry the weight and heritage quite like the Lincoln Town Car.

From its inception, the Town Car captured hearts with its exquisite blend of elegance, comfort, and performance.

Lincoln Town Car Best Years

As we embark on this journey to uncover the best years of the Lincoln Town Car, we’ll delve into the era that truly shines – the years between 1990 and 1997.

These models embody a legacy of reliability, timeless style, and enduring performance that continues to captivate enthusiasts even after 25+ years.

The Golden Era: 1990-1997

As the golden era of the Lincoln Town Car, the years between 1990 and 1997 stand as a testament to automotive excellence. Across these years, Town Cars have proven their mettle, holding up exceptionally well in terms of mechanics, appearance, and features.

These models remain a symbol of endurance and quality, showcasing a level of craftsmanship that has stood the test of time.

Lincoln Town Car Best Years

Among the standout years within this range, the 1997 model emerges as a favorite for many.

With its modern features and refined design, the 1997 Town Car strikes a perfect balance between classic luxury and contemporary convenience.

## The Softest Ride and Comfort: An Evolution

One of the defining features of the Lincoln Town Car is its signature smooth ride. The years prior to 1997, especially the 1997 and earlier models, offer an unparalleled softness in their suspension and seating.

The earlier the model, the softer the ride – a hallmark of Town Car excellence.

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Moving into the years from 1998 to 2002, a slight shift towards a firmer suspension and seating is observed. However, comfort remains a priority, making these years a comfortable choice for those seeking a balance between smoothness and support.

## Enhanced Performance and Handling: 2003 and Beyond

In 2003, a new suspension design ushered in a noticeable change in the Lincoln Town Car’s handling and performance.

The slight firmness introduced in the suspension led to an enhanced ability to handle various road conditions, especially imperfect roads.

This improvement in handling did not come at the cost of comfort, as the 2003 and newer models retained the signature smoothness that Town Cars are known for.

The combination of improved performance and enduring comfort made these years a compelling choice for those seeking a more versatile driving experience.

## Reliability and Durability: A Legacy that Lasts

Town Cars have carved a reputation for their reliability and robustness, traits that are particularly notable in the 1990-1997 range.

Their sturdy frames and resilient bodies ensure longevity, even in challenging environments like snowbelt salt areas.

The Town Car’s ability to withstand the test of time while maintaining its composure and charm is a testament to its superior craftsmanship.

## Tailoring Your Choice: From Style to Features

As you explore the best years of the Lincoln Town Car, it’s important to consider your personal preferences. Later models, including the 2008 iterations, saw an infusion of electronics and features that added to the driving experience.

However, each year within the 1990-1997 range offers a unique blend of style and performance.

Your choice should align with your body style preference, ride comfort, and handling preferences.

Lincoln Town Car Problems

The Lincoln Town Car, a symbol of classic luxury and elegance, has graced the roads for decades. However, like any other vehicle, it’s not immune to issues that can arise over time.

In this section, we’ll delve into the realm of Lincoln Town Car problems, shedding light on the common challenges that owners might face.

Lincoln Town Car Problems

From electrical and engine woes to safety concerns and mechanical hiccups, we’ll navigate through the landscape of issues, providing insights into recalls and highlighting key model years affected by these problems.

Electrical Woes: Powering Through Challenges

One of the most recurrent Lincoln Town Car problems pertains to its electrical system. Among the common issues reported by owners are problems with the power automatic window switch, malfunctioning air conditioning controls, faulty power-adjusted driver’s seat mechanisms, and unpredictable cruise control behavior.

Often, these issues trace back to faulty motors, corroded wiring, or other electrical malfunctions, with the alternator occasionally playing a role in exacerbating these problems.

Engine Quandaries: Uncovering the Heart’s Struggles

Another group of problems that have been prevalent in Lincoln Town Cars, especially those from the 1990 model years, revolve around the engine.

Owners have encountered difficulties ranging from engine non-starting to more severe engine malfunctions.

The intake manifold emerges as a focal point of concern, with reported leaks leading to the burning of engine coolant, culminating in overheating issues.

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Safety Snares: Navigating Recalls and Safety Concerns

Unfortunately, the Lincoln Town Car’s problems have triggered safety recalls by its parent company, Ford. Seat belts have been at the forefront of these recalls, emphasizing the critical role of safety systems.

In 2000, Ford initiated three recalls to address issues with seat belt anchorage systems, compromising seat belt functionality and overall safety.

These recalls affected over 1,000 cars, underscoring the significance of a secure restraint system.

In the same year, another recall encompassed over 10,000 Lincoln Town Car limousines, as they faced a high risk of tire blowouts, posing a danger to road safety.

Mechanical Hitches: Diving into Mechanical Recalls

Mechanical Lincoln Town Car problems have resulted in several recalls, emphasizing a broad spectrum of concerns.

In 2007, over 3.5 million vehicles faced a recall due to faulty wiring harnesses in the cruise control assembly.

The same year saw recalls related to both front and rear suspension assemblies, affecting almost 10,000 Lincoln Town Cars.

Battery cable issues in the 2004 model year prompted a recall of nearly 100,000 vehicles, highlighting the complexity of mechanical problems.

General Inconveniences: Maneuvering the Challenges

Beyond the specific issues, some general Lincoln Town Car problems have been observed. Maneuverability can be a concern due to the car’s size and weight, especially for those accustomed to smaller vehicles.

Furthermore, the performance of the V8 engine impacts fuel economy, with miles per gallon falling below modern sedan averages.

Criticisms have arisen regarding the lack of modern features and technologies, coupled with an outdated exterior appearance.

Recalls and Modern Challenges: A Glimpse into Safety

Recalls have played a significant role in addressing Lincoln Town Car problems.

Notable among them are recalls related to the 2015 model year, particularly in the steering system.

Steering shaft recalls have been prompted due to the potential separation during operation, posing a safety risk.

Modern issues have also emerged, such as tire non-compliance in certain Town Car limousines, leading to the risk of premature tire wear or blowout.

Additionally, a 2007 recall highlighted the risk of underhood fires due to speed control deactivation switch leaks.

Are old Lincoln Town cars reliable?

Absolutely! Based on reports and the experiences of owners, old Lincoln Town Cars have showcased remarkable reliability. These vehicles have demonstrated their longevity by easily surpassing the 250,000-mile mark with minimal issues.

In fact, some dedicated owners have shared their success stories of Town Cars reaching exceptional mileages, ranging from 400,000 up to an impressive 500,000 miles.

The key to unlocking this reliability lies in consistent maintenance and adhering to a well-planned service schedule. By caring for your Town Car diligently, you can enjoy its dependability for years to come.

Are Lincoln Town cars expensive to fix?

In terms of repair costs, owning a Lincoln Town Car can be considered quite manageable. The average annual repair cost hovers around $635, indicating that the ownership costs are within the average range.

This moderate cost implies that while there may be occasional repairs needed, they are not exorbitantly expensive.

Considering the overall quality, performance, and luxurious features offered by Lincoln Town Cars, the cost of ownership aligns well with the benefits they provide.


Delving into the world of Lincoln Town Car problems has illuminated both the challenges and strengths of this iconic luxury sedan.

While issues have been reported across various categories such as electrical, engine, safety, and mechanical concerns, it’s important to note that these problems can be mitigated through careful maintenance and proactive measures.

The recalls that have been initiated reflect a commitment to safety and an ongoing effort to address issues promptly.

However, amidst the challenges, the Lincoln Town Car has demonstrated a resilient spirit. From the shining years between 1990 and 1997 to the enduring reputation of reliability that some models have achieved, these vehicles have etched their mark on the automotive landscape.

It’s evident that while the Town Car is not without its share of problems, its enduring legacy of comfort, style, and performance prevails.

So, if you’re considering bringing a Lincoln Town Car into your life, take the time to understand its history, challenges, and strengths.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make well-informed decisions that align with your preferences and priorities.

Whether you’re avoiding problematic years or seeking to embrace the reliability and luxury that these vehicles offer, your journey with a Lincoln Town Car is an opportunity to experience automotive excellence.