Known as the ultimate exploration vehicle, the Ford Explorer offers luxurious space and comfort, making it perfect for a large family. With a seating capacity of up to seven people, there is enough room not just for people but even for cargo.
While the Explorer is a highly-capable vehicle, it also has some problems. Especially if you are buying a used car, you must know the Ford Explorer years to avoid.
Read on and we’ll share some of the models that you should cross out your list and find out what to consider instead.
The Most Common Problems with Ford Explorer
Before we list down some of the Ford Explorer years to avoid, we’ll have a rundown of some of the most common problems that you can anticipate.
The most recurring problem in Ford Explorer is with its transmission, which is also the most expensive to address. Many drivers report transmission slipping, making it difficult to shift gears. Additionally, it disrupts acceleration and generates a weird sound during shifting. The best solutions include the replacement of the transmission and solenoid valves.
You might also experience transmission lunges, which will create a hard jolt when you are shifting. It will result in problems during acceleration. The ride will end up being rough and you will have a hard time transitioning between gears.
More so, the transmission problem in Ford Explorer can also make the engine stall. The abrupt stops of the vehicle can be worrisome for most drivers. Other factors that can contribute to the problem include low transmission fluid and poor solenoids.
The failure to address the transmission problem will result in an unsafe and uncomfortable driving experience. Even if it is expensive, work with a mechanic to resolve the predicament before it can compromise the vehicle’s performance.
Wheel Bearing Problems
Aside from the transmission, another common cause of failure in the Ford Explorer is the wheel bearing. The issue affects the ability of the wheels to turn smoothly, which also harms the responsiveness of the vehicle. It is most common in 2002 models, with many users citing that it can be apparent after reaching 90,000 miles.
To know if the wheel bearing is the issue, one of the symptoms to look for is noise. There can be a loud rumbling, humming, or grinding noise. You can also feel that the steering wheel is loose. Plus, the ABS can malfunction.
While it is a beauty, Ford Explorer can also be prone to aesthetic problems, especially when it comes to its paint. Some models have paint that easily chips or bubbles. Even without exposure to harsh environments, such issues can be apparent, which can damage the look of the car over time.
Many users believe that bubbling is a factory defect that should have been addressed through a recall. This can be because there is moisture getting in the paint, which is what causes it to bubble.
Poor paint preparation can also be the culprit. Removing the bubbles requires professional work. Otherwise, you are risking more damage if you fix it yourself without the right tools and proper knowledge.
Ford Explorer Years to Avoid
Thinking of buying a used Ford Explorer? Avoid headaches and save money from costly repairs by staying away from the models from these years.
The 1991 model was the first-generation Ford Explorer, which was introduced as a replacement to the Bronco II. During such time, it was considered a station wagon with a 4×4 capability. It was then available in two- and four-door configurations. Because it was the first of the line-up, it encountered numerous problems.
While many problems were evident in the 1991 model, one that stands out is its transmission. It is an old model, and hence, it lacks the modern technologies for reliable transmission. The O-rings and seals harden, which bypass the transmission fluid that must pass smoothly through the transmission.
If you ask Ford enthusiasts about the worst model of the Explorer, it isn’t surprising that many of them will say it is the 2002 edition. Transmission problems, including failure and slipping, are the most common complaints. Nonetheless, after an initial fix, the problem can be addressed.
While there are easy solutions to the transmission problems of the 2002 Ford Explorer, it is costly. It is also recurring, which makes the repair a financial burden. On average, the repair costs can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on the extent of the problem.
With V6 and V8 engines, as well as a fully independent transmission, the 2004 Ford Explorer has impressive specs and features. Despite such, it is also considered by many to be one of the most problematic models.
Several recalls have been made because of different issues, such as the exterior lighting, which resulted in decreased visibility. There are also numerous complaints about paint and body problems. The paint on the panel below the window can easily peel. Rusting is also a common complaint. Transmission and shifting problems are also present, which will result in expensive repairs.
Aside from the mid-sized drive system, other highlights of the 2005 Ford Explorer include the stability control system to prevent rollovers and enhance safety. It has excellent handling, which makes it easy to drive, even in challenging conditions. Despite the good things, however, many people rank it as amongst the years to avoid if you are buying a Ford Explorer.
One of the most common issues with the 2005 model is the confusing layout of the controls, especially on the high-line models. To add, the cabin design also has some low-grade materials.
Many were also unhappy with the vehicle’s low resell value, which is a result of the many problems that negatively impact its durability and performance.
From its functional interior to generous space, the 2006 Ford Explorer model has several pros. Despite such, many car review websites and enthusiasts rank this model as the worst, and hence, you must avoid it. It has low mileage and high repair costs, so many people looking for a used Ford Explorer are hesitant in choosing it.
Among the fourth-generation models, the one from 2006 has the most complaints. The most commonly reported issue is the cracking of the panel below the window. It also has transmission and cooling issues, which are expensive to fix. Some people also note that it has a hard jolt when you are shifting, which hurts the drivability of the vehicle.
Buy Ford Explorer from These Years Instead
If you want the best bang for the buck and incredible performance, you should choose Ford Explorer from the following years instead.
One of the most reliable models of Ford Explorer, it has a high rating from many users, showing a high level of satisfaction. When you fold the seats, it offers a cargo space of up to 80 cubic feet, making it one of the largest.
We also like how there is an option for V6 or V8 engine. Not to mention, it is also economical, especially considering the benefits it can deliver.
Available in three trims, the 2008 Ford Explorer is another incredible option. It has excellent off-road capabilities, making it a great option if towing prowess is your most important concern. The smooth transmission is also a plus, so you can expect unrivaled comfort even on challenging terrains. It also heaped praises for its generous cargo space.
If you are looking for something sporty, this is a great pick. The Ford XLT model is a crossover that packs plenty of innovations. There is an option for a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which delivers good fuel economy. Some people might not like how the interior space is a bit limited, but this is not an issue for people who prefer a compact vehicle.
While it is available in five trims, most people prefer the Limited Edition of the 2019 Ford Explorer. This mid-size SUV has three engine options, all of which can deliver a superb performance. It is effortless to maneuver considering its size and also offers ample storage space behind the passenger seat.
The newest Ford Explorer deserves a spot on the best years of the vehicle’s models. While we have yet to see how it performs since it is a new model, the plethora of innovations makes it promising. It is one of the most anticipated family-duty vehicles. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter with 300 horsepower, which is more than enough for most people.
Some of the Ford Explorer years to avoid are those from 1991, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006. These models were the subject of numerous user complaints, with the most common being transmission issues. There are also problems with the wheel bearing, as well as paint chipping.