August 1

The Virtues and Problems of the Ford Crown Victoria

Last Updated on August 12, 2023

The Ford Crown Victoria, also known as the Crown Vic, holds a unique place in the automotive landscape and in the world of police cars. For decades, this ride has been synonymous with power and reliability. Within police work, the Crown Victoria has served as the definitive police car in many parts of the United States. Today, you’re still likely to find this car being used as a reliable commuter or as a budget-friendly first car for teenagers. But as with every car, there are highs and lows. Let’s take a look at the virtues and problems of the Ford Crown Victoria.

Ford Crown Victoria: The Reliable Workhorse

Reliability has been a staple in the Ford Crown Victoria’s reputation over the years. This comes from Ford’s sturdy design, emphasizing durability and easy maintenance. However, reliability wasn’t always consistent for the car. The worst year for Crown Victoria in terms of reliability was arguably 2008. This model year was marked by a number of common problems that plagued owners, including transmission troubles, blown head gaskets, and failures of the fuel pump. The check engine light inside the car often felt like a permanent fixture on the dashboard, leading to multiple dealership visits.

Thankfully, today many of these issues can be kept at bay with good maintenance. Regularly changed oil, for example, with high-quality synthetic oil, can prolong the life of the engine. Similarly, periodic checks and replacements of components like the fuel filter, water pump, and battery prevent major breakdowns.

Crown Vic infographic

People find the Crown Victoria to be so reliable that aside from personal use, they also get employed for use in businesses.

Crown Vics as security vehicles

“They have been put back to service in my Private Security Company.” – Jacob J.

The Powerhouse: Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

The Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, also known as the P71, showcases the car’s true power. It’s a beast on the road, fitted with police equipment that make it a formidable machine. Even today, despite being a used car, it can compete with other vehicles on the power front. In the third generation of Police Interceptors (starting in 2012), rides with a 3.5 liter engine could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 6.8 seconds! Of course, the added power means increased gas consumption, which could be a potential drawback for some.

On the other hand, the Crown Victoria P71 is a good car if you’re looking for a ride that’s cheap and durable. It’s been built to take a beating and come out okay. As a police car, the Interceptor relies on heavier and more durable parts to perform emergency services. Interestingly, the Interceptors come with some performance enhancements over their civilian counterparts. These include a reinforced chassis for added durability, improved brakes for better stopping power, and a high-performance engine and transmission setup. Even the exhaust system is tuned for more power, adding to the overall appeal of the Crown Vic.

If used as a civilian vehicle, that durability means the car will last longer. However, keep in mind that the cost of maintenance could be higher due to the additional wear from its previous life as a police car. And the parts that made the car so long-lasting will naturally be more expensive.

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The interior of the Crown Victoria, while not the most modern, is spacious and comfortable. Seats are wide, and there’s ample legroom, helpful for longer commutes. There’s plenty of space in the trunk too, which cops used to store gear. The Crown Vic’s comfortable interior combined with the power, makes it a highly sought-after vehicle in used car markets.

Durability and Maintenance: The Cost of Ownership

Thinking about all the costs of owning a Ford Crown Victoria, the price of maintenance stands out. Regular upkeep can keep the Crown Vic running smoothly for many miles, but be aware that the car comes with an expected set of challenges. From worn tires to the need for regular oil changes and periodic brake servicing, the price tag can really add up.

Yet, despite these potential costs, the Crown Victoria proves to be a worthwhile investment for many. The robust Ford engine is known for its longevity and can rack up hundreds of thousands of miles if properly maintained. Some have even surpassed the 300,000-mile mark, which is an impressive feat for any car.

Also worth mentioning, standard Crown Victoria parts are relatively cheap and easy to find, given the model’s extensive production and popularity. On the other hand, maintaining the police variation requires a bit more due diligence given their former usage. These vehicles are designed to withstand high-speed chases and rigorous city driving, which often results in more wear and tear. These parts too will be more expensive than the standard kind.

Comparing the Crown Victoria with Other Cars

Comparatively speaking, the Ford Crown Victoria offers an excellent blend of power, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Its reputation as a reliable car, especially when compared to other cars in its price range, is solid. While it may not offer the same level of interior refinement as some modern cars, it more than makes up for it with durability and performance.

The Crown Victoria’s 4.6-liter V8 engine is a workhorse that delivers ample power while still providing the reliability Ford is known for. Plus, the Crown Victoria’s spacious interior can comfortably seat a family, and a powerful engine ensures smooth riding on highways. However, the fuel efficiency could be a deal-breaker for some if you’re planning to use it as a city car.

So, is the Crown Victoria a good car to buy? The answer depends largely on what you’re looking for in a vehicle. If you want a durable, powerful, and cost-effective ride, and you’re prepared for the maintenance and gas costs that come with it, then the Crown Vic could be a great option.

Crown Victoria Virtues and Problems infographic

Navigating the Used Car Market

The Crown Victoria is not just another car by Ford. It is an American icon. Its design, built on the Panther platform, is a testament to an era when cars were meant to be sturdy, reliable, and powerful. The Crown Vic is built with a body-on-frame construction, which contributes to the longevity and resilience.

When you’re buying a used Crown Victoria, especially a Police Interceptor, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, check the mileage. While the Crown Vic is a reliable car, the condition largely depends on how well it was maintained. A well-maintained Crown Vic with high mileage can be a better purchase than a low mileage one that was not properly cared for.

Next, take a close look at the car’s service history. Was the oil changed regularly? Have the head gaskets been replaced? Has the water pump been serviced? What about the brakes and tires? All these can give you an idea of how well the car was maintained and what kind of repairs you might be looking at in the near future.

Finally, don’t forget to check the overall condition of the interior. While the Crown Victoria is a reliable car, the interior can show signs of wear and tear, especially in Police Interceptor models.


What year is the most reliable Crown Victoria?

The 2011 model year is generally considered the most reliable Crown Victoria.

How many miles can you get out of a Crown Victoria?

With proper maintenance, many Crown Vics can reach 200,000 miles and beyond. Some have even surpassed the 300,000-mile mark.

Are Ford Crown Victoria reliable?

Yes, the Ford Crown Victoria is known for its reliability, thanks in part to its sturdy design and durable engine.

What to look for when buying Crown Vic Police Interceptor?

When buying a Crown Vic Police Interceptor, pay close attention to the vehicle’s service history, the condition of the interior, and signs of wear and tear in the engine and transmission. It’s also a good idea to have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase.


While the Ford Crown Victoria may have its problems, the reliability, power, and low cost of ownership make it a great option in the used car market. But of course, like any used car purchase, it’s vital to do your due diligence before handing over your money. Remember, when looking to own a piece of history like the Ford Crown Victoria, always consider browsing police car auctions. This is a great way to find some of the best-maintained and robust models on the market!


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