The Ford Explorer is undeniably one of the best-selling models in the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. However, like any other SUV on the market today, it has its few common problems. Read to the end and discover here the common faults of the Ford Explorer .
Whether it’s a 2020 Explorer or an older model, it’s important to know its reliability ratings and common problems associated with the vehicle.
How good is the Ford Explorer?
The Ford Explorer has scored pretty well in all major reliability ratings . In addition to being a reliable SUV, the Explorer also has a great reputation in terms of safety.
The 2020 model earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Previous generations also scored well for security. For example, the 2010 Ford Expedition earned a 5-star rating in both frontal and side crash simulation tests.
All these data show that the Ford Explorer is a good bet in the SUV segment. With proper vehicle care and maintenance, a Ford Explorer can last up to 16 years with few problems at an average of 12,000 miles per year.
Common faults of the Ford Explorer
As reliable as a vehicle is, none is perfect, so it’s not uncommon for you to have problems. In fact, even the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer isn’t spared from issues and recalls. Let’s take a look at some common Ford Explorer failures that owners have experienced over the years:
The main problems of the Ford Explorer are:
1- Leaks in the radiator
Aside from transmission-related problems, some 2006 Ford Explorer owners have also reported problems related to the cooling system . A significant number of the complaints concerned radiator leaks. Most owners reported that they began experiencing leaks at an average of 63,800 miles.
Some owners have had to replace their radiators multiple times to resolve this issue. If you notice the signs of a faulty radiator, find a high-quality radiator replacement right away.
2- Problems with the wiring harness
The 2020 Ford Explorer had wiring harness issues that led to a recall. The recall affected 10,655 Explorers that were equipped with either a 2.3-liter turbo-four or a 3.3-liter V6 engine.
The wiring harnesses on most of these Explorers were reportedly not securely fastened. This means that the wire harness insulation could rub against the air conditioning pulley, increasing the risk of a short circuit . To remedy the situation, Ford installed a wiring harness tie-down strap on the hand-shock tower clip, free of charge.
The recall began in October 2019, and Ford has reported that most of the vehicles involved were still in dealerships at that time. Aside from the widely reported wiring harness problems, however, the 2020 Ford Explorer had other problems.
Some sources indicate that extensive quality control problems forced Ford to divert thousands of Explorers to secondary facilities for repair in September. People knowledgeable about Ford’s assembly plants report problems ranging from faulty transmissions to faulty air conditioning systems .
3- Oil leaks
This is another of the common failures on the 2001 Ford Explorer. The leak is coming from the front differential breather hose and is caused by oil overflowing from the breather hole. To solve this problem, a new front diff case cover will need to be fitted which will aid the routing of the breather hose.
4- Failure in the wheel bearings
Some 2002 Ford Explorer owners have reported problems with their vehicle’s wheel bearings. Most stated that the problem appeared on average around 88,900 miles. Some have complained of noise when driving (or accelerating), which is a common symptom of a bad bearing .
In most cases, you will have no choice but to replace the faulty wheel bearing and/or any of its associated components. Once you start noticing the symptoms of bad wheel bearings, get them replaced right away to get your Explorer back on the road in no time.
5- Problem with the “Check Engine” warning light.
If you have noticed the “ Check Engine ” warning light come on , you will need to run a diagnostic check on the engine. Most likely it is one of the following faults:
Depending on the exact nature of the problem, you will have to install the exhaust manifold gasket, or the new oxygen sensor.
6- Crack in the panel under the rear window
This is another of the common Failures of the 2002 Ford Explorer, and it lies in the appearance of cracks in the rear panel. The crack usually runs through the Ford logo or emblem, so it is usually visible at first glance .
Although owners can technically file a complaint with NHTSA about it, most choose to swap out the rear panels. There are plenty of rear panels available on the aftermarket today, so you won’t have any trouble looking for a replacement if necessary.
7- Tire blowout
When discussing Ford Explorer problems and recalls, it’s hard not to be reminded of the alarming controversy over the Ford-Firestone blowout tires. From 1990 to 2000, the NHTSA received a large number of complaints involving tire failure . Since then, Ford has solved the problem and replaced millions of Firestone tires.
8- Problem with the rear brake
On the 1991-94 Explorer there were known issues regarding the rear brakes locking up when the vehicle began to pull away. This is probably due to the brake lining absorbing too much moisture.
This can be fixed by installing the brake linings on the rear brakes, as the moisture issue has been resolved with the revised part.
9- Disadvantages in the front axle
This problem occurs on the 2001 Explorer when you hear a small screeching noise coming from the front. The noise is more evident in cold weather . It is caused by the inner dust ring and the shaft supports rubbing against each other. Clean the area and apply high temperature grease before mounting the new dust rings. This should solve the problem.
10- Problems with the automatic gearbox
This is one of the common failures of the Ford Explorer manufactured between 1995 and 2001. The main problem is that the gears slip and sometimes do not go into 2nd or 3rd. The cause is a faulty valve body. The problem can be fixed by installing a valve body.
11- Failure in the blower motor
If you hear noises coming from the blower motor or strange smells, then most likely something is stuck in the motor. This is particularly common on 1991-1999 Explorers. You’re going to have to remove anything that’s stuck in the motor and put new rubber grommets around the wipers to prevent debris from getting into the motor.
12- Transmission Problems
2006 is said to be the worst year ever for the Ford Explorer. It was during this time that the Ford Explorer transmission problem was most prevalent. Although the 2006 Ford Explorer underwent a major design update, it still has plenty of transmission-related complaints.
A significant number of owners reported that the Explorer’s transmission lashes out. Some also experienced a harsh jolt or jerks when changing gears. This problem appeared on average around 49,450 miles, and is expensive to repair.