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2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Watch Out For Transmission Failure! 

2018 Ford Explorer Problems

Drivers need to determine if the 2018 Ford Explorer problems outweigh the benefits of this vehicle. By knowing the most common issues in each problem category, like radio concerns, the seta heater breaking, transmission failure, paint chips, display malfunctions, and engine failure, car owners can fix and repair these problems before it leads to irreversible damage! 

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2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Interior Accessories

Radio Breaks

Repairing a broken radio and fixing the 2018 Ford Explorer problems typically range between $185 and $300 depending on the severity of the damage and the other electrical system issues. Although that may seem high for just a radio, factory replacements can double the total repair price. 

Uncomfortable Seats

No passenger or driver wants an uncomfortable seat for daily drivers to the office or long road trips. To fix the uncomfortable seats and teh 2018 Ford Explorer problems, drives will have to take into account the following three aspects:

  • Adjust the Height – Adjust the car seat’s height to boost your comfort, ergonomics and prevent needing to reach for the pedals. Make sure you can see a full view of the windshield and the instruments without having to hunch over.
  • Adjust the Back of Your Car Seat – The next step is to adjust your car seat’s posture and back. Recline the seat as much as possible and slowly increase the angle until you find the correct position. 
  • Adjust the Tilt – another important aspect that is often overlooked is the seat tilt. This angle plays a huge role in the comfort and optimum support to your legs, back, and neck.

By changing these three seat adjustments, drivers can avoid the 2018 Ford Explorer problems and the uncomfortable seats. 

Seat Heater Breaking

The seat heater is a luxury component found in most modern cars on the road today. Heated seats sometimes come as commonplace in vehicles or are offered as an add-on option for higher trim levels. This seat is available in almost all cars, trucks, and SUVs that provide the driver and passenger with the option to heat the seats in cold conditions. 


When the seat heater is turned on, power voltage is supplied to the heating element, known as the seta heater. The seat heater provides electrical resistance against the incoming current and produces heat for the occupant. 

    • Although it may not seem like a very important component in most cars today, a malfunctioning heat heater can be an annoyance and a cause for concern in some cases. 
      • Check for any blown fuses or damaged wires, such as corroded edges or frayed pieces. Repairing the blown fuse can be a quick fix for a heated seat repair that lowers the seat heater replacement cost.
  • The price of a car fuse costs around $85 for most cars, with the parts costing under $5 and the labor costing around $80. 

2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Transmission

Transmission Failure

A multi-speed transmission is used in cars and other motor vehicles. This system does not require the driver to change or shift the gears while driving manually. The most common automatic transmission type is a hydraulic automatic, which uses mechanisms like a gearset and torque converter to quickly and efficiently change gears.


By noticing the 2018 Ford Explorer problems caused by your transmission, you can prevent these issues from causing premature failure and extreme damage. Keep an eye out for the warning signs of a failing transmission, such as the following:

  • Torque converter malfunctionThe torque converter’s main function is to transfer the engine’s power into torque, which is the type of power the transmission can use. Over time, the torque converter will break down and become damaged. 
    • Replace converter – If you plan to replace the torque converter yourself, you can expect to pay between $150 and $500 for the part. However, if you need a mechanic to do the entire process for you, then expect to spend between $600 and $1,000 to replace the torque converter for your automatic transmission. 
  • Solenoid damageThe transmission solenoids spark the gear changes in the automatic transmission. These solenoids convert transmission fluid into the components in your transmission. This liquid helps the clutches and bands disengage from the system, preventing future 2018 Ford Explorer problems.
    • Replace solenoids – You can spend upwards of $400 to replace the entire solenoid pack in your car to fix the 2018 Ford Explorer problems. Of course, replacing a single solenoid will cost less money, but the problems generally affect more than one solenoid in your transmission system. 
  • Clutch Problems – Both automatic and manual transmission use clutches. Although the clutch issue is more common in manual cars, automatic cars can still succumb to these automatic transmission problems and solutions. These clutch issues can cause severe 2018 Ford Explorer problems regarding the transmission.
    • Replace the Clutch – The cost to repair or replace a clutch depends on the damage and severity of the issue, with prices ranging from as little as $500 to as much as $2,500
  • Can’t Stay in Gear – If you find that your car won’t move when you put your car in gear or the gear shifter has trouble moving, this could be an issue with your transmission system. A lack of gear movement is typically attributed to problems with the shifter, the shifter cable, or the valve body. 
    • Powertrain Control Module Replacement – Replacing your powertrain control module will typically cost between $888 and $963 to fix the 2018 Ford Explorer problems. The labor costs will range between $79 and $100, while the cost of hte parts is between $807 and $863. 
  • Shifting Delay – If it takes a long time for your transmission to go into gear, this is typically due to a low level of transmission fluid. If your fluid is debris-filed or not at the correct level, it can lead to overheating, excess friction, and internal transmission damage.
    • Check for Transmission Fluid Leak – If you find that you have issues shifting or delays while changing gears, you could be experiencing low fluid levels due to a fluid leak. This issue’s typical transmission problem cost is between $150 and $200 for transmission leak repair to fix the 2018 Ford Explorer problems. 

2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Body and Paint

Paint Chips on Hood

Almost every car has undergone a paint chip or scratch in its lifetime. Depending on where you live, this might be more frequent than others. If you live in the city, chances are your car has been scratched or dented numerous times, causing the frequent 2018 Ford Explorer problems. 


Certain paints, like pearl paints or those with luxury finishes, will require more labor work and more billed hours when repainting the exterior of your car. In this case, you can expect the car body repair cost to be much higher.


Depending on the scratches’ depth, severity, and location, repairing scratches could range from a quick DIY job to a complete refinishing. If there are dents and creases, this adds time and effort when fixing the 2018 Ford Explorer problems in the body and paint category. 

  • Just using a touch-up pen or a small repainting job can cost as little as $50 to fix the exterior 2018 Ford Explorer problems. 
  • However, professional refinishing may be needed depending on the length of the damage, the severity of the damage, the frequency of the scratches, and the type of paint used. In this case, you could spend up to $1,500.

2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Electrical System

Display Malfunction

If you find the electrical system is not working correctly in your car, there could be a few culprits as to why this is glitching or malfunctioning. Some of the most common causes have to deal with a problem with the instrument cluster or a broken electronic control unit. 


To figure out if the ECU is the main cause of your electrical concerns, you will have to identify any further signs and symptoms of a damaged ECU coupled with specific trouble codes on your car's computer. 

    • Some signs of a damaged ECU in your car involve the engine misfiring or stalling the check engine light on your dashboard, poor fuel economy, reduced engine performance, and the inability of your car to start. 
  • On average, you can expect the parts of replacing the ECU to be anywhere from $500 to $1,400, while the labor prices of this fix range from $100 to $200 for between 1.5 and 3 hours of work. 

2018 Ford Explorer Problems – Exhaust System

Exhaust leaking


  • You may experience exhaust fumes leaking into the cabin if you have a cracked exhaust manifold. 
    • Exhaust Manifold – This mechanism in your car is in charge of collecting the exhaust from your car's cylinders and siphoning the gases into one pipe for easy transport.
    • Oxygen Sensor – Located directly on top of the exhaust manifold, the o2 sensor in your vehicle is in charge of measuring how much oxygen is currently in the exhaust. Based on its readings, it has to add more or less oxygen based on the measurement, improving the fuel economy.
    • Catalytic Converter – The catalytic converter is a key mechanism that converts the dangerous gases from your engine into water vapor and carbon dioxide. 
    • Car Muffler – The muffler is the piece in charge of quieting or dampening the exhaust sounds as it travels out of your car. If the car muffler is not working correctly, this can exacerbate the 2018 Ford Explorer problems. 
  • If any one of these parts is not working properly, you will have a high replacement price. 
  • An exhaust manifold repair cost is between $570- $900, with the labor taking up the majority of this price at between $400 and $550, and the parts costing between $130 and $340 to fix the 2018 Ford Explorer problems. 

2018 Ford Explorer Reliability

The 2018 Ford Explorer earned the #16 ranking in the 2018 Affordable Midsize SUV category. Unfortunately, this is the only high ranking that this vehicle earned during the awards and rankings this model year, with the other comparisons not as favorable for this vehicle. The 2018 Ford Explorer earned the following scores:

  • #19 in 2018 Affordable SUVS with 3 Rows
  • #24 in Used SUVs with 3 Rows $20k to $25k
  • #27 in Used Midsize SUVs $20k to $25k
  • #34 in Used Crossover SUVs $20k to $25k
  • #37 in 2018 Affordable Crossover SUVs

As you can see, due to the frequent 2018 Ford Explorer problems, this car did not rank highly when compared to the direct competition during this model year.

Car US News Scorecard Ranking

The Car US News Scorecard gave the 2018 Ford Explorer a 7.6 out of 10. The critics rating came to 8.2 out of 10, performance earning 8.1 out of 10, interior 7.6 out of 10, total cost of ownership earning 8.4, and the safety rating coming to 9.2 out of 10. The reliability rating from JD Power earned a measly 2.5 out of 5. 

Is the 2018 Ford Explorer a Good SUV?

To determine if the 2018 Ford Explorer problems outweigh the positives of this model year, we need to compare the strengths and weaknesses. Despite the low ranking, the 2018 Explorer is an OK choice for some car shoppers. Even so, most rivals have a leg-up in safety, predicted reliability ratings, increased cabin space, and increased overall performance.

The Explorer has a few strengths when compared to similar vehicles:

  • Powerful and turbocharged V6 engine option for added performance
  • User-friendly and easy to use SYNC 3 infotainment system for high-tech use
  • Ample amount of cargo space for weekend trips 

However, the 2018 Ford Explorer problems outweigh the few positives of this vehicle:

  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Low safety score when compared to other similar cars in its SUV class
  • Few standard features
  • Third row is tiny and lacks comfort and spaciousness
  • Higher list prices than rivals despite fewer features
  • Unimpressive fuel economy and poor miles-per-gallon rating
  • Hard to maneuver and handle in tight spaces

The Bottom Line

as you can see, it is up to the car owner to decide if the 2018 Ford Explorer problems outweigh the positives when shopping for a new car! 


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