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Ford Explorer Years to Avoid: Expert Advice & Best Years

Whether you’re a middle-class family or a new business, a Ford Explorer is the best way to get around, which is both cheap and easy. This guide shows you how to choose the best Ford Explorer for your needs by reviewing different model years of the Explorer. Here is a list of the best and worst years for the Ford Explorer.

Best Years for Ford ExplorerFord Explorer Years to Avoid

For some reason, Ford Motor Company keeps figuring out how to fix the biggest car problems. This is why so many people still drive old Ford Explorers. Ford has a long past because it is popular and has been built up over six generations.

12 Best & Worst Years for Ford Explorer

The most useful and cheap car for a middle-class family or a new business is a Ford Explorer. This blog compares Ford Explorers from different years to help you decide which one is best for you. Here are the best and worst Ford Explorer models.

For some reason, Ford Motor Company keeps coming up with ways to fix the most important problems in the car business. This is why old Ford Explorers have such a cult-like following. Ford has a long past because of how popular it is and how it has changed over six generations.

Also Check: What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Ford F150

If you read this whole article, I’ll tell you what to look for and help you decide whether or not to buy a Ford Explorer. I will also answer some of the most-asked questions to help make things clearer.

6 Best Years for Ford Explorer

Best Years for Ford Explorer

So that you can make an informed decision, I will explain everything in detail, from the choices and model years to the quality of each.

These types are suggested because they are well-made and have new features, and their owners have said good things about them. You can trust these types because they are some of the best on the market. 

The six best years for Ford Explorer are listed below, based on how often and how bad problems were mentioned by owners.

YEAREdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating


Due to the many improvements, it has over its peers, the 2022 Ford Explorer is thought to be one of the best years it has been made. The 2022 Explorer has a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that can make 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of power. With this engine, the Explorer has more speed and moves faster.

As the 2022 Explorer has a longer wheelbase and a wider track, the body is bigger than in the last model. This makes the Explorer more comfortable for everyone, especially those in the third row.

The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite that comes standard on the 2022 Explorer includes high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot tracking.


Regarding Ford Explorers, the 2021 model is one of the best. The NHTSA gave the 2021 Explorer a full five stars for safety, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety called it a Top Safety Pick+.

The 2021 Ford Explorer reliability by year’s 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine, which makes 365 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, gives it plenty of power for both city and highway drives.

The 2021 Explorer has many standard features, like a 12-inch touchscreen entertainment system, a 10-speaker sound system, and Ford’s Co-Pilot360 set of safety features.


The 2019 Ford Explorer is a great worker among midsize SUVs thanks to its powerful engines, which add to the vehicle’s high performance and efficiency while moving, and the amazing technological improvements made for this model year.

It has a 3.5-litre V6 engine with 290 horsepower and an automatic transmission with six gears. It’s strong and comfy because it can soften the effect of road bumps.

This type is safe and relaxing. It has a safety rating of 8.3 out of 10 and an interior rating of 7.2. You can be sure that this car has not been recalled a lot or had a lot of complaints from users.


Many people think that the 2018 Ford Explorer is one of the best years for the Ford Explorer because it has a lot of improvements over the ones that came before it. Among these changes are a more powerful engine, a more comfortable seat, and a state-of-the-art safety system.

In the 2018 Ford Explorer reliability by year, a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 motor makes 365 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The engine is strong enough to be used both in the city and on the highway. The Environmental Protection Agency says that the Explorer gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is pretty good for a car in its class.

The interior of the 2018 Explorer is roomy and comfortable. Both front and back seat passengers will like how roomy the interior is and how well-made the front seats are. The inside is also very nice, with soft materials and shiny surfaces.

Some of the high-tech safety features that can be added to the 2018 Explorer are a forward collision warning with automatic braking, a lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. Because of these changes, driving can be better and less risky.

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Many people think this model is perfect for them because it is easy to ride and has a lot of useful extras.

There are five different trim options for the 2016 Ford Explorer: XLT, Limited, base, Platinum, and Sport. A powerful EcoBoost V6 engine, heated front and back seats, and dual-zone climate control are some of the other features.

It looks even better with features like a forward impact warning, a dual-panel sunroof, variable speed control, and many more.


Consider purchasing this 2008 Ford Explorer as your next SUV. It is stated that driving this SUV is a pleasurable and exciting experience because of how user- and family-friendly it is and how well it handles.

More room for passengers and luggage means a quieter, more comfortable interior. This model’s high safety potential and impressive towing and hauling ratings mean you can travel with peace of mind.

The NHTSA report rates this vehicle as “Excellent” in frontal barrier crashes and “Good” inside barrier crashes but “Poor” in rollover crashes.

The most reliable Ford Explorer year performs admirably and scores highly in crash tests, so it is both family-friendly and highly recommended.

6 Ford Explorer Years to Avoid

Ford Explorer Years to Avoid

What year Ford Explorer to avoid? Even though there have been some good model years for the Ford Explorer, you should try to avoid the ones with complaints and safety problems.

These cars have been taken off the road because they can be uncomfortable. Most problems are not small ones that can be fixed with a small amount of time and money.

These problems can hurt how well and reliably the car works, which could make you lose interest in it. Here is a list of the 6 Ford Explorer years to avoid:


The 2020 Ford Explorer has a lot of problems, so many people have told others not to buy one.

The main problems with this model are caused by its bad electrical system, bad fuel system, bad engine, bad service brakes, and bad design. People who own this type have to fix it repeatedly because the same problems keep coming up. Hence, the 2020 Ford Explorer years to avoid.

When your car has leaks, the chance of a fire goes up. Further, if it’s hard to change gears, or the brakes don’t work at all, the chance of an accident goes up, putting you and others in danger. This type has also been called back for repairs more than once, so it’s best to avoid it.


The 2017 Explorer seems to have some issues with its transmission. A lot of people who own this car have complained that it suddenly loses power or stops working while they are driving. A lot of people have been having trouble with their 2017 Explorer cars, and Ford has had to recall them several times to fix the issue. However, some owners have said that even after getting their cars fixed, the problems still haven’t gone away.

Significant wear and tear on the 2017 Ford Explorer model after only 25,000 miles might be exceedingly expensive to repair.

Another big problem with the 2017 Explorer is that some people who own it have said that when they run the car, exhaust fumes come inside the car. This is really dangerous because it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Ford has asked people to bring their cars back because of this problem, but we don’t know if everyone who brought their car back has had the problem fixed.


The 2015 Ford Explorer is not a good year for the model because it has several issues. 

A lot of people had trouble with their 2015 Explorers because the power steering would stop working. This made it really hard or even impossible to turn the steering wheel. The repairs may cost as much as $1,800. The 2015 Explorer had some issues with its transmission. People reported that it would slip, jerk, and have trouble changing gears.

In 2015, some Explorer cars had issues with their engines. These problems included misfires, stalling, and overheating. 


The 2014 Explorer had a six-speed automatic transmission that wasn’t very dependable. A lot of people who own this thing said that sometimes it has trouble changing gears smoothly, or it might even stop moving suddenly. Sometimes, people had to change the transmission.

 The Explorer from 2014 had some issues with its suspension, as well. A few owners have said they had issues with the front struts, rear shocks, and control arms. Sometimes, we had to replace the suspension.

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The 2013 Ford Explorer seems to have had some issues with safety. There have been a lot of recalls, investigations, and complaints about things like the power steering not working, strange smells coming from the exhaust, and the engine stalling. The big car also has the same transmission as Ford, which caused a lawsuit involving many people.

Some of 2013 worst years for Ford Explorer owners reported that they could smell exhaust fumes inside the vehicle. This was due to a problem with the exhaust system that allowed exhaust gases to leak into the cabin. The NHTSA investigated this issue, but no recall was ever issued.

Some 2013 Explorers developed rust problems, particularly in the rear wheel wells and rocker panels. This was due to a manufacturing defect that caused the paint to peel away from the metal, exposing it to the elements.


The 2006 Ford Explorer is rumoured to be one of the worst model years due to numerous customer complaints, high repair costs, and issues with extremely low mileage.

About 766 complaints were filed on for these worst years for Ford Explorer. Broken transmissions and overheating cooling systems are the main problems associated.

Problems with the gearshift, the dive, and the radiator were also encountered. After 49,000 miles, this problem is highly probable (7.9 out of 10). The cost to fix this is around $1800, and the cost to replace it is even higher.

Ford Explorer Problems: What Are They?

The worst-performing Ford Explorers were produced throughout specific model years. Don’t put your money into these models if you can help it.

If you want to buy a car without worrying about major problems, you should check out the best years list and read up on them.

Putting that aside, the primary issues with the Ford Explorer are not trivial since they might reduce the vehicle’s overall performance.

Listed below are the most often encountered issues.

Broken Transmission

As you may have noticed by now, transmission failure is by far the most common issue with models produced between 2002 and 2006. This is the number one, number two, and number three worst Explorer problem, according to

It’s worth noting that the 2006 Ford Explorer is the best-selling model, followed by the 2002 and 2004 models. This problem usually starts well before the car hits 100,000 miles and can be very expensive to fix.

Wheel Bearing Failure

Wheel bearings are critical to the smooth rotation of a vehicle’s wheels and so must always be in good working order.

This is another serious concern with the Ford Explorer, and it is more prevalent in the 2002 and 2003 models. It usually happens at 90,000 miles or so and can cost anything from $900 to $2000 to fix.

Problems With Body And Paint

Several 2013 Ford Explorer customers reported paint bubbling on the vehicle’s bonnet, most noticeably around the vehicle’s edges. Ford Explorers manufactured between 2011 and 2017 frequently have this problem.

The onset of this problem is supposedly between 30,000 and 50,000 miles driven. Furthermore, depending on the severity of the damage, repairs could cost as much as $1200.


What is the best year of Ford Explorer to buy?

The best year of a Ford Explorer to buy is 2008. The 2008 Ford Explorer was the most reliable Ford Explorer year.

Which Ford Explorer engine is best?

The best Ford Explorer engine depends on your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient engine, the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder is a great option. It gets up to 28 mpg on the highway, and it still has plenty of power for most driving situations.

Are 2017 Ford Explorers reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2017 Ford Explorer an average expected dependability rating of three out of five. Transmission, engine, and electrical problems have been reported on the Explorer.

Are Ford Explorers expensive to fix?

Ford Explorers are not necessarily expensive to fix, but they can be. The average annual maintenance cost for a Ford Explorer is $732, which is higher than the average for all vehicles. This is because Ford Explorers are larger and more complex vehicles than many other cars, which means that they have more parts that can potentially break or wear out. Additionally, Ford Explorers are often used for off-road driving, which can put additional stress on the vehicle and lead to more frequent repairs.

What is the most common problem with Ford Explorers?

The most common problem with Ford Explorers is engine trouble. Other common problems with Ford Explorers include:

  • Transmission problems
  • Wheel bearing failure
  • Body and paint issues
  • Suspension problems
  • Electrical problems
  • Cracked rear bumpers
  • Heat shields touching the gas tank
  • Faulty seat belts
  • Defective studs connecting the brake master cylinder to the vacuum booster
  • Ride quality that’s far too bouncy
  • Chilly feet when the defroster is on
  • Annoying rattles

Now that you know which Ford Explorer years are the best and worst, hopefully, you can make an informed decision.

All models from the finest years will perform well and reduce maintenance costs, so you can pick whichever one you prefer best. And if you don’t want to be uncomfortable, staying away during the worst years is your best bet.

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