Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems And Reliability!

Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems And Reliability!

April 19, 2023 1 By CarGuy

Are you in the market for a Ford with the 1.6 engine and you want to learn more about the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems? If that is the case, you are in the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover.

Doing your own research before you decide to purchase a car with a specific engine is always a great idea. Out there are many cars with many different engines. Some of them are really good, while some of them not so much. It is your task to find out which engine is right for you. And this is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what is the 1.6 EcoBoost and learn some of the basic specs. Then, we will cover the applications, as well as the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems and reliability. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Basic Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Specs

The Ford 1.6L engine is part of the EcoBoost family of engines that Ford introduced in order to create more fuel-efficient vehicles that will create power. In other words, their goal was to replace displacement by boosting the engines with help of a turbocharger.

This family has different-sized engines, but for this article, we are only interested in the 1.6L engine. So, what is the 1.6L engine?

Well, this engine is an inline-4 1.6L turbocharged gasoline engine. In the segment, it is placed between the larger 2.0L EcoBoost and the smaller 1.5L EcoBoost.

This engine implements an aluminum block with an aluminum head. It features a double overhead valve layout and also variable valve timing. On top of that, this model implements direct injection. It is belt driven and the compression ratio is rated at 10.0:1. But this number can vary from one application to another.

In terms of power, this engine produces a different amount of power depending on the application. So, the least powerful variant makes 150 hp @ 5,700 rpm and 199 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm.

The most powerful variant is installed in the Fiesta ST and this engine creates 197hp @ 6,000 rpm and 214 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm.

Now before we dive into the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems, let’s discuss the applications.

Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Applications

Now let’s briefly learn more about the applications. This engine was mainly included in Volvo and Ford models from 2010 up until the present day.

  • Volvo V40
  • Volvo V60
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo V70
  • Volvo S80
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford C-MAX
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Escape
  • Ford Transit Connect

Common Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems

Now let’s briefly list the common Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems and see what troubles this engine the most.

  • Coolant In Cylinders
  • Oil Leakage
  • Overheating
  • Timing Belt Failures
  • Spark Plug & Coil Failures
  • Carbon Buildup

Now that we covered the most common problems with the 1.6L engine, let’s further elaborate on the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems and learn more in-depth about how and why these problems appear.

Coolant In Cylinders

The first problem with this engine is the situation when you get coolant inside the cylinders. The car will start to lose coolant quite exponentially and your overflow tank will be dry all the time.

This problem was reportedly caused because of poor engine design. The design of the block allows coolant to sip into the cylinder head.

This problem could easily total out your engine. The most affected are the early engines from this family of EcoBoost engines.

This specific problem affects many of these EcoBoost inline-4 engines, so we can say that it is a common flaw. More on the problem and how it is tackled can check in the video above. Now let’s move on to the next Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems.

Oil Leakage

These engines also tend to leak oil from the sides and this combined with coolant in some cases can be an explosive reaction.

These leaks often cause these engines to catch fire and burn to the ground if you don’t put out the fire.

In 2012, there were 70,000 cars recalled, in 2013 there were 160,000 recalls and in 2017 there was a recall for 2014 Ford Escape models. All of these recalls were done because of oil and fuel leaks that could lead to an engine fire.

Namely, the oil tends to leak from behind the engine directly to the exhaust manifold. This leakage can cause the oil to burst into flames. So, be really wary of these engines produced until 2014. Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on these recalls.

Engine Overheating

Another very common problem associated with the loss of coolant is overheating. The engine will tend to lose coolant as we noted and because of this, the engine could overheat.

In every possible scenario, the engine is the first component that will get damaged and it could get warped so badly that will be irreparable.

In some milder cases, the cylinder head can be resurfaced and the problem sorted out not that expensively.

This is why if you want to buy or have one of these earlier engines, it is important that you track your temperatures carefully and make sure that the car does not overheat. If there is a loss of coolant always top it off and take the car immediately to the shop to get the problem sorted out. Now let’s move on to the next Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems.

Timing Belt Failures

The timing belts on these engines tend to fail more often compared to other engines. We don’t know why but from our research we found that these engines tend to wear down the belts at 100,000 miles or so.

This is why we recommend that you do an inspection on the belt somewhere at the 100,000-mile mark.

If you don’t do this, the belt could have some missing teeth and it can skip timing. There can be also ticking noises, check engine light, and if the timing is off by quite a bit, the engine will simply lock up.

In this case, when the timing belt snaps, the valves, and pistons will come in contact with each other and this will cause a complete engine failure. Only a rebuild and replacement of the valves will sort out the problem. That’s why be very wary of these Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine problems.

Spark Plug & Coil Failures

Spark plug and ignition coil failures are also common in these engines. This is the case because these engines are running direct injection and direct injection engines tend to go through these components more frequently than other older engine designs.

So, you can expect to replace these components at least once during the ownership of your vehicle. Luckily, there are four spark plugs and four coils and they are not crazy expensive. In addition to this, they can be replaced at home using common tools. So, if you are a beginner starting to wrench on his car, you will find this task quite educational and easy.

Carbon Buildup

Another common problem with direct injection engines is carbon buildup. These engines tend to create carbon deposits on the intake valves.

These carbon deposits stick to the valve stems and prevent them from opening and closing correctly. If there are too many carbon deposits the engine will struggle to run and you will also get a check engine light.

For this problem, there is a special method that is developed called walnut blasting. And it’s very simple, you blast the intake ports with walnut shells at high speed and all the deposits are removed.

Unfortunately, it can be expensive and could cost you a good penny to get the job done. It is recommended that you do this walnut blast every 60,000 miles or so, just to avoid some problems like the ones we noted.

Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Reliability

When it comes to the overall reliability, we can say that this engine is pretty decent. But we would not recommend that you get an older version of this engine.

Mainly because of the design flaw when the oil drips on the exhaust manifold and causes fire. There were also coolant consumption problems on older engines of this generation.

If you want to get a decent 1.6L engine, we would recommend getting a newer one. The newer the better, especially newer from 2019 if you don’t want to deal with issues.


In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost problems. First, we learned the engine’s basic specs, as well as the main applications of this engine.

Then, we discussed the common problems that this engine has, as well as its reliability. We would strongly recommend that you avoid the early model years of this engine because of the risk of engine fire and coolant consumption. Go for a newer engine model year to be on the safe side.


What Are The Common Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems?

Common problems on these engines include coolant consumption, engine fire, spark plug and coil failures, and carbon buildup. Usually, the first 4-5 years are the most problematic on these engines. Newer model years are far more reliable.

Is The 1.6L EcoBoost Reliable?

This really depends on the model year of the engine. Old engines are very unreliable because they consume coolant and have potential fire hazard that was reportedly sorted with a recall. Go for a newer model year if you want to get something more reliable, preferably 2019 and newer.