The Ford Explorer offers drivers a range of SUVs- and is manufactured by Ford Motor Company. The Explorer arrived on the scene in 1991- with the first four-door SUV produced by Ford- as a replacement for the two-door Bronco II.
With popularity, as well as reputation of stability, the Ford Explorer continues to be a great-selling vehicle for Ford. In fact, the Explorer is in its sixth generation, offering various powertrain layouts and technology that rivals its competition.
The 2020 Ford Explorer
According to the Ford Motor Company, the 2020 Explorer “…has been completely redesigned — inside, outside and under the hood. In addition to capability enhancing features like rear-wheel drive, there are also two available trims. Ford now offers a commanding, no-compromise Explorer Limited Hybrid as well as the most powerful Explorer to date, the Explorer ST. With 400 horsepower, 415 lb.-ft. of torque and top speed of 143 mph, an ST brings the adventure to you.” Additionally, 2020 is a year that brings several models of the Explorer. They include: The Explorer, The Explorer XT, The Explorer Limited and The Explorer ST. “Explorer helps you make the most of your next big adventure with the addition of a rear-wheel-drive platform and your choice between four powerful engines. For additional traction on your escapades, available Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System™ helps you get where you’re going. And with the ability to tow up to 5,600 lbs., when properly equipped, you won’t be slowed down, not even with a hefty camper in tow,” adds Ford.
Is The Ford Explorer Reliable?
Reports indicate that the Ford Explorer has a general rating of “3.5” on a scale of 5.0, being the highest. Annual repair expenses will run an Explorer owner between $700 and $1000. Generally, the repairs for an Explorer run between scheduled maintenance and issues. The problems that owners have with the Explorer seem to be low, thus making major repairs typically uncommon for the Ford Explorer.
How Long Do Ford Explorers Last?
For many Explorer owners, their vehicles last well over 100,000 miles. Let’s take a look at the longevity of owners, from Explorer enthusiasts.
Explorer Owner Number One
I have a 2002 Explorer with the V6[engine]. [It] Still cranks up and runs [well]. I had to change the rear wheel bearing at 195k and the tranny at 220k, but other than that only simple maintenance has been needed.”
Explorer Owner Number Two
“My four older Explorers are holding up rather well (96 to 2003). All are on the road and with the 90s models all having over 200K. Maintenance is the king? Oil, both engine and transmission are cheap.”
Explorer Owner Number Three
“It's early 2015 and I bought my 04 Explorer used with 20,000 miles on it. It's always run good and currently has 140,000 miles on it. I've averaged around 12,000 miles a year. The maintenance costs have been predictable over the years. I follow the dealer recommendations for oil/fluid/filter changes and this basic maintenance is done at my local Jiffy Lube. This basic maintenance might run about $300 a year. Then there is the more expensive maintenance like brakes or the occasional steering/suspension/alternator/exhaust component. This more costly maintenance usually runs around $1,000 to $1,500 a year.”
Explorer Owner Number Four
“[How long do Explorers last?] [They last] Pretty darn long. I have a 1995 V6 explorer that has 369,000 miles on it and is still running to this day. I've had to give it a bit of time up and replace a lot of stuff attached to the engine but the engine itself is still solid and sounds as quiet as my 05 Sonata I purchased for work. These babies last forever if you keep up with maintenance and change out small stuff here and there lime the alternator and power steering pump.”
What Year Is The Most Reliable Ford Explorer?
Reports indicate that the best model year of the Ford Explorer is 2011. “It was the first model of the fifth generation and signaled the change of the Explorer to become a crossover vehicle. It also saw the inclusion of a push button start feature and adaptive cruise control,” as stated by Moneyinc.com.
Common Problems with the Ford Explorer
With great advancements in automaking, comes great setbacks. As every automaker experiences such, the Ford Motor Company has experienced issues with the Ford Explorer. We take a look at some of the most common problems with the Ford Explorer.
One issue that seems to plague the Ford Explorer is the transmission. From slippage to failure, Explorer owners have experienced a full gamut of issues related to the transmission. Check out some complaints below:
Explorer Owner Number One- Explorer Eddie Bauer V8
“This is the third time we have had transmission issues. We have spent well over $4500 to dealer and independent mechanics over the years and the last major work was done less than 1 year ago and cost close to $2000 at a dealership and I just passed along this car yesterday to my 18 year old son who was over the moon excited to finally get his first car and it didn't last 24 hours!”
Explorer Owner Number Two- Explorer V8
“I have a 2004 Ford Explorer that I love. It began shifting super hard when I would put it into reverse. Putting it into drive was no problem until you applied pressure to the gas pedal to make it go and the engine would race and it would slam into the next gear. We took it in to be looked at to see if there was an “inexpensive” fix to the problem. However, they said that the overdrive had put sheered and put shavings into the oil pan etc. The mechanic said this is a known problem and has been a known problem for this model of Ford Explorers and yet somehow there is no recall for it.”
What Year Ford Explorers Have Transmission Problems?
Reports state that the 2006 Ford Explorer seems to be the worst, with a multitude of transmission problems reported. CarComplaints.com decided that the 2006 Explorer as the worst Explorer manufactured, due to the costly transmission repairs- even with low mileage.
Rough Idling and Engine Stalling
Another problem that Ford Explorer contend with, is rough idling and the engine stalling. Check out what drivers had to say about these issues:
Explorer Number One- 4.0L V6 SOHC 119,000 mi
“Truck starts, runs and drives great. [But] the problem is it idles rough. This only started about two weeks ago there is no dashboard lights on. I just had it tuned up and a fuel control tune up as well. [But my Explorer] still idles rough my mechanic said the next step would be to change the injectors which is a big investment on top of what I just did. And it’s not guaranteed…”
Explorer Number Two- 4.0L V6 SOHC, 164,000 mi
“I started having trouble with my 1993 Ford Explorer XLT. Engine would stall from time to time, sometimes idle roughly. [My Explorer also] leaked coolant from the intake and I knew it had to be the upper intake gasket. So, I replaced the intake gaskets and I replaced the idle air control valve gasket (IAC). Not that I needed to, but to be on the safe side I did anyway. It was a successful repair and now it's drive great again.”
Another issue with Ford Explorer vehicles is faulty radiators. Take a read of what some Explorer owners have endured with a bad radiator.
Explorer Number One 4.0L V6 138,000 mi
“Bought it used 1 1/2 years ago with 118,000 miles. I filled up the coolant of my Explorer every couple of weeks for the last months and last weekend all the coolant was under my car. Ford replaced the radiator and 2 hoses, they charged me $1,300. I don't know if the previous owner had the same problem already.”
Explorer Owner Number Two- 4.0L V6 65,299 mi
“All the coolant leaked out onto my garage floor overnight. Repair shop replaced the radiator and mentioned that radiators for 2006 Ford Explorers are becoming hard to locate due to the number of complaints that are being reported recently. I contacted the Ford dealer prior to getting my vehicle into a nearby shop. The Ford service reps never bothered to get back to me on this problem.”
The air conditioner for a lot of Explorer owners seems to be a top issue. Check out what some owners had to say.
Explorer Owner Number One- Explorer Limited
“Two months after I bought the car, the AC went out. It was blowing, but it was not cold. I went to get it fixed and it ended up costing me about $900. They said that there was a leak in the line and they had to take everything out to replace the line. A few months later the water pump went out. I had that replaced as well, but I got a really good deal…”
Explorer Owner Number Two- Explorer 4.0L
“Took the car off the lot brand spanking new. Tried the AC after driving the car about 10 miles, and found that it did not work. Returned the car first time, and they refilled the refrigerant, and said that it was not properly filled at the factory. About three weeks later (on a trip of course) the same thing happened. We returned the car, they researched the issue, and after it being in the shop for a few days, Ford dealer said that they did not refill it properly when it was returned the first time…”
What Is The Best Model Of Ford Explorer?
Data indicates that the 2017 Ford Explorer seems to be the best Explorer made. The vehicle offers cutting-edge technology, a host of safety features and a multitude of options. There’s also the advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) system of the 2017 Ford Explorer- that makes is a capable vehicle for off-road travel.
Ford Explorer Recall on 2020 Models
According to the nhtsa.gov website: “Ford Motor Company[is] recalling certain 2020 Ford Explorer vehicles equipped with 2.3L or 3.3L engines. The wiring harness may not have been properly secured and may contact the air conditioner compressor (A/C) pulley, potentially damaging the harness or the A/C belt.”
What Is Wrong With The 2020 Ford Explorer?
As Ford has issued a recall on the 2020 Explorer, it centers around a problem with secured wiring harnesses that has improperly fitted. Vehicles that are outfitted with either the 2.3-liter turbo-four or 3.3-liter V6 engines are a part of this recall. Cnet.com adds: “Should the SUV house one of the bad wiring harnesses, it may rub against the air conditioner pulley. This may damage the wiring harness or the air conditioner drive belt. In a worst-case scenario, contact from rubbing against the pulley could expose the wiring harness to an unfused circuit and cause a short circuit or fire.”
Additional Ford Explorer Recalls
Other Ford Explorer recalls included a recall of specific Explorer model year 2011-2013 Explorer vehicles. The recall was issued, due to issues with the interior door handle return spring.
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