The Lincoln Aviator is a mid-size, three-row luxury SUV that has seating for up to seven.
It features a stylish exterior, an upscale cabin and a pair of potent powertrains.
If you’re considering an Aviator as your next family SUV, you might be wondering about its average lifespan.
We’ll cover that in this article, read on to find out…
Here is the short answer to how long the Lincoln Aviator lasts:
The Lincoln Aviator is a robust, midsize SUV that can last between 200,000 – 250,000 miles on average with proper maintenance and conservative driving habits. If you average 15,000 miles of driving a year, this equates to roughly 13 – 17 years of service before repair costs become uneconomical.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Lincoln Aviator?
The Aviator is a luxurious version of the Ford Explorer, both vehicles are built by the same parent company and use the same platform and twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engines.
The Explorer has passed the test of time so you can reasonably expect the Aviator to follow in its tire tracks.
The Aviator should last 200,000 – 250,000 miles before big-ticket items such as the engine and transmission require replacing or repair costs start to outweigh the value of the vehicle.
Being such a new model there’s not a huge amount of historical evidence surrounding the Aviator, however we’ve made a general assessment based upon Ford Explorer industry data as the two vehicles share so many similarities.
When you look up some of the older Explorer models on CarGurus, many of them are listed for sale with over 200,000 miles and this should be doable for the Aviator too.
Quality of materials and design play a major role when it comes to longevity, ultimately though it is down to the owner to get the most life from their Aviator.
Sure, they’re typically designed to venture off-road, but overworking the engine or being too heavy with the brake and gas pedals can be hard on any vehicle.
The regular maintenance of a vehicle can also add thousands of available miles to the odometer.
The life expectancy of your Aviator will be cut short if you avoid:
- Using quality parts
- Service appointments
- Routine oil changes
- Tire rotations
- Driving smoothly
- Towing within its 6,700lb limit
The Lincoln Aviator comes with a bumper-to-bumper warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of 6 years/70,000 miles.
Do Lincoln Aviators Rust Easily?
The Lincoln Aviator hasn’t been out long enough to determine whether it’s prone to premature rust or corrosion.
If we take a look at the Ford Explorer’s track record with regards to rust, the Aviator should be relatively rust-free for the first 10 years — especially if the vehicle isn’t driven much on roads that are treated with salt during the winter.
The most common complaint with the newer Ford Explorers in regards to corrosion is a paint bubbling issue on their aluminum hoods, which the Aviator also uses.
Tips to protect your Lincoln Aviator from rust:
- Regularly wash and dry your car: This includes its underside (especially during the winter) to remove the salt, dirt and grime that causes rust. We recommend having a detail shop wash everything underneath at the end of each winter.
- Repair paint damage and scratches: Exposed metal will oxidize. If it’s beyond a DIY fix, speak to your local body repair shop.
- Garage: Store your Lincoln Aviator in a garage to protect it from harsh weather and bird droppings.
- Waxing: Wax your car twice a year. Not only will this give your Lincoln a nice shine, it also gives it a protective coating against rust.
- Rustproofing: If you’re planning on keeping your Lincoln Aviator for a very long time, you might want to consider a rustproofing treatment; popular choices are Krown and Rust Check.
- Ceramic Coating: A popular choice for those who want to add an extra layer of protection to the paint job.
All Lincoln Aviators also come with a 5-year/unlimited mile corrosion perforation warranty in case of any paint or material defects.
What is High Mileage for a Lincoln Aviator?
120,000 miles is considered high mileage for a Lincoln Aviator. Although the engine and transmission may still have many years of service left in them, the vehicle will likely have a lot of worn parts that require rpleacing and be more prone to repairs.
Some items like the air suspension equipped in the higher trim levels will be expensive to replace. The turbochargers of the EcoBoost engine might also be at the end of their effective life at this point.
Buying a used Aviator with over 120k miles might not necessarily equate to a bad purchase, however it’s essential to do a thorough background check and inspection of the vehicle.
A well-maintained Aviator with 120,000 miles might be a better purchase than one with 80,000 miles that had lots of owners and led a rough life or was a prior rental car.
You should not base any decision purely on mileage alone.
If you’re looking at a first generation Lincoln Aviator, you must remember that these vehicles are over 15 years old.
When buying a used Lincoln Aviator, always consider the following:
- Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide evidence of this.
- Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or at least have it inspected by a mechanic you trust.
- Check the CarFax. This doesn’t guarantee anything but it will provide a clearer picture of wear-and-tear. Ensure it has minimal damage, if any. Review the information to make sure if something happened such as engine- or transmission-related.
- Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually means more wear-and-tear. If one family owned it and drove the full mileage and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout their ownership.
- How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, you should evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending a bit extra on something more reliable.
If the car has averaged a lot more or a lot less than 10,000-15,000 miles per year, you might want to further investigate why e.g. a 4-Year-old car with 100,000 miles.
How Long Does the Lincoln Aviator Last Compared to its Rivals?
In this section, we take a closer look at the Lincoln Aviator’s main competitors and see how they stack up in terms of reliability.
Since the Aviator was just recently released, reliability data is not that extensive.
As such, we’ll take a look at the stats for the Lincoln as a whole, as well as its stablemate the Ford Explorer, for comparison.
Lincoln Aviator vs. Volvo XC90
The Volvo XC90 is a seven-seater mid-size luxury SUV. It’s sleek and sophisticated both inside and out, and comes with lots of modern safety features as standard.
The Volvo XC90 is expected to last 200,000 – 250,000 miles or 13 – 17 years, which is on par with the Aviator.
- RepairPal gave the XC90 a reliability rating of 3.5/5. There are no ratings yet for the Aviator, but the Ford Explorer, which it is based on, got a similar rating of 3.5/5.
- The average annual repair cost for the XC90 is $851 compared to $879 for the Lincoln brand as a whole, and $732 for the Ford Explorer.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the XC90 a 3.8/5 for reliability while the Aviator got a similar rating of 3.9/5.
- J.D. Power gave the XC90 a Quality and Reliability rating of 85/100 which is much higher than the Aviator’s score of 70/100.
The XC90 is one of the safest vehicles on the market, but the Aviator is not that far behind (Volvo was actually owned by Ford from 1999 to 2010).
Build quality and tech on the Volvo might be a little better since the XC90 has been out since 2016, so they’ve had a lot of time to work out its issues.
The Aviator has a more powerful range of engines compared to any of the XC90s 4-cylinder options, some of which are supercharged and turbocharged.
Reliability ratings for both vehicles are close, but once the warranty is up, the Lincoln will likely be easier to repair and find parts for because of its Ford platform.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Volvo XC90 Last?
Lincoln Aviator vs. Audi Q7
The Q7 is the only Audi that has seating for seven. It’s also the German auto maker’s largest and most spacious SUV.
You can expect to get 150,000 – 200,000 miles or 10 – 13 years of service out of the Audi Q7 before repairs become uneconomical.
- RepairPal gave the Q7 a reliability rating of 2.5/5. There are no ratings yet for the Aviator, but the Ford Explorer, which it is based on, received a rating of 3.5/5.
- The average annual repair cost for the Q7 is $1,185 compared to $879 for the Lincoln brand as a whole, and $732 for the Ford Explorer.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Q7 a 4.7/5 for reliability while the Aviator got a much lower rating of 3.9/5.
- J.D. Power gave the XC90 a Quality and Reliability rating of 75/100 — a little higher than the Aviator’s score of 70/100.
The Audi Q7 is one of the most refined mid-size SUVs on the market.
Based on Kelley Blue Book reviews, owners are very happy with their Q7s.
But Audis have a reputation for being very expensive to repair once the warranty is out although most owners are likely not thinking about keeping their Q7 for more than 5-10 years.
If you’re thinking about long-term ownership and are concerned about maintenance, the Lincoln Aviator is going to be the safer choice.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Audi Q7 Last?
Lincoln Aviator vs. Acura MDX
The Acura MDX features a capable V6 engine and sleek exterior styling. It’s one of the most affordable SUVs in its segment and it’s Acura’s best-selling vehicle.
The Acura MDX uses the same platform as the Honda Pilot and has an impressive projected lifespan of 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years.
- RepairPal gave the MDX a score of 4/5 for reliability and ranks it 2nd out of 14 other midsize luxury SUVs.
- Average repair costs for the MDX is very low at $571 per year, compared to the $879 estimated for all Lincoln vehicles, and $732 for the Ford Explorer.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the MDX a 4.3/5 for reliability while the Aviator got a slightly lower rating of 3.9/5.
- J.D. Power gave the MDX a Quality and Reliability rating of 85/100 which is much higher than the Aviator’s score of 70/100.
The Acura MDX definitely beats the Aviator when it comes to overall reliability and long-term ownership costs.
But the Aviator has more curb appeal, as well as a nicer and quieter cabin.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Acura MDX Last?
|Lincoln Aviator||Volvo XC90||Audi Q7||Acura MDX|
|Annual Repair Cost||$732||$851||$1,185||$571|
|KBB Consumer Rating||3.9/5||3.8/5||4.7/5||4.3/5|
|J.D. Power Rating||70/100||85/100||75/100||85/100|
|Lifespan (miles)||200k – 250k||200k – 250k||150k – 200k||250k – 300k|
Is the Lincoln Aviator Reliable?
There’s not much reliability data available yet for the Lincoln Aviator since it was only released in 2020. So far it has received mixed reviews from auto review sites regarding reliability – J.D. Power has given it average reviews whilst Consumer Reports has given it a reliability verdict of 1/5.
The Car Problem Zoo database shows that electrical system faults are the most reported issues for the latest models, whilst powertrain issues are the most common problem on the earlier 2003-2005 models.
Here are some data points to further demonstrate the Lincoln Aviator’s reliability:
- RepairPal gave the Lincoln brand an average reliability rating of 3/5.
- RepairPal also gave the Ford Explorer a pretty good reliability rating of 3.5/5.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Aviator a reliability rating of 3.9/5 which is pretty average for the class. Negative reviews were mostly about electronics.
- J.D. Power gave the Aviator a Quality and Reliability rating of 70/100, but ranked it in 6th place overall, ahead of the Mercedes GLE and Volvo XC90.
The Best and Worst Years for the Lincoln Aviator
Despite only being out a short amount of time, we’ve done some digging to find out the best and worst years for the Aviator.
Worst Model Year
The 2003 model appears to be the worst model year for the Lincoln Aviator. Looking through the CarComplaints and Car Problem Zoo databases, the 2003 Aviator had the most number of complaints and most of these were powertrain related. It also suffered from a large number of body and paint problems.
For the latest generation of the Aviator, the 2020 model, which is the first model year, has 4 complaints reported so far.
- Two of the complaints were about the radio
- Once complaint for squeaking
- The only engine complaint was related to the fake engine noise piped in through the speakers
Best Model Year
The 2021 model is the best year for the Lincoln Aviator so far. It’s had no reported complaints on the Car Complaints database and Lincoln has likely sorted out early production issues.
The 2022 Aviator might be an even better option as it’s likely had more fine-tuning done to iron out any issues faced by the previous model years.
Across most car models it’s common for problems and complaints to taper down as the model years go up.
The 2022 model has also had its price cut slightly and features a new Appearance package available on the base model that adds a panoramic sunroof and 20-inch wheels.
Model Year and Number of Complaints
Here is the total number of complaints for every Lincoln Aviator model year from the CarComplaints database.
|Model Year||No. of Complaints|
|No. of Problems|
Car Problem Zoo
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Lincoln Aviator has had a total of 16 recall campaigns since it was first released in 2003.
You can check if your Lincoln Aviator has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on Lincoln’s Recall site or the NHTSA recall database.
It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge to the consumer.
Here are the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Lincoln Aviator:
- 2021: 5
- 2020: 10
- 2005: 0
- 2004: 0
- 2003: 1
Lincoln Aviator Model Year List
- 2003 Lincoln Aviator
- 2004 Lincoln Aviator
- 2005 Lincoln Aviator
- 2020 Lincoln Aviator
- 2021 Lincoln Aviator
Are Lincoln Aviators Expensive to Maintain?
The Lincoln Aviator has average ownership costs for the midsize luxury SUV segment.
If you encounter engine or transmission issues once the warranty expires, many of its parts are going to be interchangeable with the Ford Explorer, as well as many other Fords that use the same drivetrain.
Lincoln dealerships will charge more than Ford dealerships and some parts for the Aviator, such as the electronics and air suspension, will only be available through them.
According to RepairPal:
Yearly repair and maintenance costs for a Lincoln averages out at $879 while the Ford Explorer has an average of $732. In comparison, the average for all midsize luxury SUVs is $807.
According to CarEdge:
A Lincoln Aviator will run you roughly $11,691 in upkeep during its first 10 years. This beats the average maintenance and repair costs for luxury SUV models by $3,769.
Parts and wear items should be widely available too, given its Ford roots, which means maintenance will be relatively straightforward and affordable.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Lincoln Aviator brake pads will usually last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. This can vary greatly depending on driving habits, road conditions and climate.
- You can expect your brakes to wear out sooner if you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic
- Brake pad replacement, which includes parts and labor, can cost anywhere between $150 – $300 per axle.
- Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.
- A sporty driving style will lead to faster deterioration of brakes, a slow and steady style will help them last longer.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Tires are perishable goods. After a few years, they will begin to harden and their friction properties will gradually deteriorate.
The Lincoln Aviator’s stock tires should last between 40,000 to 60,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. However, they can wear out much sooner. This is dependent on various factors such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.
- Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- If you have to drive on rough or flooded roads, or go off-roading, your tires will take more of a beating.
- Check your tire pressures every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
- Have a mechanic or tire shop check your wheel alignment every 6 months.
How Long Do Lincoln Aviator Engines Last?
The Lincoln Aviator engine is expected to last 200,000 – 250,000 miles on average or 13 to 17 years. This can vary drastically depending on maintenance and the overall care of the vehicle.
The Lincoln Aviator uses the same V6 3.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine that’s equipped in the latest generation Ford Explorer.
It’s an uprated version of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that can be found in the F-150 and other Lincoln vehicles.
The turbochargers may need replacing at some point, but this is fairly normal for a turbocharged engine and won’t be too expensive or labor intensive to fix.
How Long Do Lincoln Aviator Batteries Last?
The Lincoln Aviator’s battery usually lasts between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
- Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
- Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
- Storage: Keep your Lincoln stored indoors away from extreme changes in temperature.
- Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Lincoln Aviator spark plugs should be changed at 100,000 miles which is part of the vehicle’s scheduled maintenance.
The Lincoln Aviator uses iridium-tipped spark plugs which last significantly longer than conventional plugs.
Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take it in for routine maintenance, and may be replaced earlier than expected if it’s necessary.
Signs of a fouled spark plug include:
- Reduced gas mileage
- Lack of acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hard starts
- Engine misfires
What About Insurance Costs?
The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Lincoln Aviator is $1,622 per year or around $135 per month.
In comparison, its rivals in the midsize luxury SUV segment cost an average of $1,709 per year, which is $87 more expensive.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best possible deal for your Lincoln Aviator.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Lincoln Nautilus Last?
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Lincoln Aviator
- Adopt smooth driving habits.
- Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
- Use quality parts and fluids.
- Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
- Regularly wash your Lincoln Aviator to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust developing.
- Check your Lincolns’s engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid levels and top them up when required.
- Keep your Lincoln in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
- Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your Lincoln needs and what quantity, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.