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.
Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE
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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How it Works
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Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.
CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert
Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.
Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.
Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles
Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.
Second Hand — Not Second Best
Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.
But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.
CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories
CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.
Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.
We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.
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There’s no point in buying a vehicle if it’s going to prove to be unreliable. After all, who wants to spend extra money on unwanted repairs, and being stuck begging friends and family for rides? Thankfully, the Ford Explorer has an overall reputation for being reliable.
The Ford Explorer typically manages to impress critics. It also typically sells well, and that’s because people expect it will last. It’s not perfect by any means, but it manages to keep rolling while other vehicles are stuck sitting in the junkyard.
The Ford Explorer has quite the rep
RELATED:How Reliable Is the Ford Explorer?
Ford might not be a luxury brand, but it does invest in building reliable vehicles. Consumer Reports has a lot of good things to say about the Explorer in general, and the reliability rating is part of that.
The 2020 and 2021 models haven’t fared well in that area. In fact, both are being roasted in reviews. The used models are getting much more love, however. For example, the 2019 model earned a four out of five in predicted reliability. The 2018 model earned a three out of five.
Used Ford Explorers have become increasingly popular thanks to the fact that they have passed the test of time. In fact, Explorers some of Ford’s best-selling used vehicles.
So why exactly do consumers rely so much on an SUV that doesn’t come with a luxury label? As it turns out, it’s all about the mileage.
The SUV that keeps on going
RELATED: The Best Used Ford Explorer You Can Buy Today
While the Ford Explorer has its issues, there is one area that it gets a lot of love, and that’s the insane mileage owners get out of it. For anyone looking for a vehicle that will last them for years, the Ford Explorer has what it takes.
According to Motor and Wheels,
“A Ford Explorer can last up to 10-17 years with regular maintenance. An average Ford Explorer can easily achieve 80,000 to 200,000 miles. If you visit Explorer forums, you will find several examples of users with over 300k miles on the odometer.”
It’s a great investment if anyone is sick of making car payments. There’s a catch to this longevity, however. To get this great mileage, it will require owners to keep up with car maintenance.
Car maintenance really does matter
RELATED: The Necessary Car Maintenance You Probably Aren’t Doing
Having an excellent rep is a great sign that you’re investing your money in the right vehicle. You can’t just rely on that, however. There are some things you can do to help extend the life of your vehicle.
Things like oil changes, tire rotations, and checking the transmission fuel can go a long way toward making sure your vehicle will stand the test of time. Yes, finding the time to do so can be frustrating, but it’ll save you both time and money when it comes to expensive repairs.
If you’re looking at a used Ford Explorer, investing in a CarFax can also help. It’ll tell you if the vehicle has been in any major wrecks. It’ll also show many owners the vehicle has had.
The fewer the owners, the more likely you’ll be to purchase a vehicle that has been well cared for, which means it might just live up to the Ford Explorer rep of reliability.
Released in 1991 to replace the Bronco II model, the Ford Explorer has become one of the most beloved family vehicles in America.
Considering its exceptional utility, cargo-ferrying capacity, and stellar safety records, you might want to know how long this vehicle lasts.
How long do Ford Explorers last?
A Ford Explorer can last up to 10-17 years with regular maintenance. The life expectancy depends on user habits, maintenance, terrain, and several other factors. Assuming you perform regular maintenance, a Ford Explorer can serve your family for 16 years if you average 12,000 miles annually.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Ford Explorer?
An average Ford Explorer can easily achieve 80,000 to 200,000 miles. If you visit Explorer forums, you will find several examples of users with over 300k miles on the odometer.
Earlier in its life, the Explorer was one of the most unreliable products from the Ford. However, it is now mostly free of life-threatening factory defects, and most users get their money’s worth.
That being said, you will need to treat your Ford Explorer really well for it to make those mind-boggling miles. Performing recommended servicing will probably take you past 150k miles.
After that point, you will likely need extensive mid-life upgrades of the transmission, suspension, and steering, especially if you use your Explorer as a daily driver.
By 200k miles, you can expect timing chain issues to come up. Dealing with these problems quickly is an important factor if you want your Explorer to enjoy a Methuselaic life.
Another point to call out here is the provenance of the vehicle. It’s difficult to achieve 200k-mile longevity if the former owners of a vehicle mistreated it.
You should also be reading our article which explains about 3 Most-Common Problems With Ford Explorer
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Ford Explorer?
If you drive a Ford Explorer, especially model years 2000 and later, you can expect rust on it after about four years.
Ford used to build Explorers with steel. But in its quest for lighter, more fuel-efficient designs, the company sacrificed the more durable steel for aluminum.
Aluminum is lighter, so it reduces weight while improving fuel economy. But the lighter metal lacks the density and durability of steel.
Many Ford Explorer owners complain that the vehicle suffers from premature corrosion. The problem starts from the hood as paint bubbles and progresses to other parts of the vehicle.
There is a class-action lawsuit against Ford concerning the corrosion problem of the Explorer. Since 2004, the company has issued several technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealerships on how to deal with rust on Explorers.
If you plan to buy a pre-owned Explorer produced from the year 2000, check the hood and other body parts for bubbles, rust, and peeling paint. Buying a corroded or corrosion-prone vehicle may lead to expensive repairs and reduce resale value.
Early model Ford Explorers that have steel panels do not suffer from premature corrosion. Unfortunately, these may be too outdated for today’s buyers.
How Long Do Ford Explorers Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
Ford Explorers have come a long way since their turbulent early years.
Compared to direct competitors such as the Honda Pilot, Jeep Cherokee, and Chevrolet Traverse, the Explorer can hold its own in terms of reliability and longevity.
The Pilot can exceed 400k miles with regular maintenance, and the Jeep Cherokee can last for 15-20 years. These figures are similar to the Explorer’s 17 years and 300k mile life expectancy.
However, these models will need exceptional care to achieve such long service years.
How Reliable Is a Ford Explorer?
The Explorer was bedeviled with several problems at inception.
First and second-generation models had a tendency to roll over mid-transit. And there were extensive cases of transmission failure and timing chain wear.
A huge scandal erupted over the failure of the factory-installed Firestone tires that came with the Explorers.
The Ford Explorer doesn’t score very high in the reliability department. J.D. Power rates the 202 Explorer 3.5 out of 5, placing it 19th out of 26 in the midsize SUV category.
This doesn’t mean the Explorer is unreliable. However, it is not a top performer in its class.
Nevertheless, the Ford Explorer has improved since its turbulent early years, and you can now enjoy years of trouble-free driving from the model.
The Best and Worst Years for Ford Explorers
The best Ford Explorer models are those produced between 2007 and 2012.
According to the consumer complaint aggregation site carcomplaints.com, users submitted fewer than 200 complaints about models produced during this period.
Conversely, 2002, 2004, and 2006 model years are reported to be the worst of the Ford Explorers. In fact, the Explorer’s entire third generation (2001-2005) attracts an uncharacteristically high number of negative feedback.
The major issue with the 2002 Explorer is premature transmission failure. Most users report the problem around 94,000 miles and spend an average of $2800 on repairs. The 2004 Explorer also experiences myriad issues, the biggest of which are slipping transmissions and hard shifts.
The most common issues with the 2006 Explorer were cooling and transmission system failures, which surfaces around 49,000 miles. Users also reported radiator leaks, engine failure, and wheel bearing wear.
If you want peace of mind, we advise you to avoid the 2002 and 2006 model years of the Explorer. These models are prone to several problems, require higher maintenance costs, and can quickly turn into money pits.
The most recent model years from 2017 to 2020 have exceptional reliability, with users reporting less than 100 complaints.
What About Recalls for These Models?
Ford has issued 74 recalls for the Explorer during its almost 30 years’ production run.
The table below outlines the number of recall actions each model year has been involved with.
Note that the recall numbers are arranged in descending order from the highest to the lowest:
|Model Year||No. Of Recalls|
Ford Explorer Model Year List
In its 30-years of production, the Ford Explorer has evolved through six generations, including:
- 1991 – 1994 [First Generation]
- 1995 – 2001 [Second Generation]
- 2002 – 2005 [Third Generation]
- 2006 – 2010 [Fourth Generation]
- 2011 – 2019 [Fifth Generation]
- 2020 -? [Sixth Generation]
Are Ford Explorers Expensive to Maintain?
Ford Explorers are not expensive to maintain unless you bought a problematic model year.
The maintenance cost of most Explorers fall within the average for SUVs, but there will always be outliers.
Data from yourmechanic.com suggests that annual maintenance cost for a Ford Explorer is around $618. Depending on user habits, service providers, and several other factors, you can expect to spend between $80 to $2,165 on Ford Explorer maintenance per year.
You can reduce your Explorer maintenance expenses by DIYing regular services.
That way, you only spend more for complex repairs.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
You can expect your Ford Explorer’s brakes to last an average of 40,000 miles.
Depending on your driving style and terrain, the brake pads can deliver between 25,000 to 65,000 miles before replacement.
Thankfully, a replacement cost around $200.
How Long Do the Hybrid Batteries Last?
Ford claims its hybrid batteries, including the Explorer’s, can last eight years or a minimum of 80,000 miles.
But we know little about the Explorer Hybrid since it debuted in 2020. Judging by the reliability of the Ford Escape Hybrid, we expect the Explorer hybrid’s batteries to last a long time.
However, replacement batteries can cost upwards of $5,000.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
If you are a typical American driver who covers 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually, your Ford Explorer tires should serve for about five years.
Ford recommends swapping your tires six years after the production date, even if they still have considerable tread life.
We advise you to take the advice seriously considering that tires play an oversized role in the safety, performance, and handling of a vehicle.
How Long Do the Transmission Last?
Ford Explorer transmission systems without factory design flaws and regular maintenance can last up to 80,000 to 180,000 miles.
In previous sections, you will notice that transmission problems are common to several Explorer generations.
Most of the issues are related to manufacturing defects and would likely be covered under warranty.
That said, user habits and the terrain of your region will likely affect the longevity of your Ford Explorer’s transmission.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Regular Ford Explorer spark plugs can last for about 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
If you buy the long-life Iridium or platinum-tipped spark plugs, these can serve you reliably for 60,000 to 150,000 miles.
What About Insurance Cost?
According to Finder.com, it costs an average of $171 per month and $2,052 per year to ensure a Ford Explorer.
However, factors such as your driving record, annual mileage, region, and insurance provider can affect your actual cost.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Ford Explorer
Here are tips to keep your Explorer on the road for as long as you want:
Follow the Manufacturer Recommended Maintenance Regimen
Many of the problems people face with the Explorer is the result of not following manufacturer recommendations.
To keep your vehicle in tip-top shape for longer, always service your Explorer as at when due.
Monitor the Oil
Lubrication is the lifeblood of your vehicle.
Check the oil level for your engine, transmission, power steering, and other components and refill or change as required.
It will save you a lot of headaches.
Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
To prevent excessive tire wear, poor handling, and uncomfortable rides, always keep your tires properly inflated.
Improper tire pressure can cause costly problems for your Explorer.
Invest in a tire pressure gauge to avoid these issues.
Be a Conscientious Driver
Failing trannies, worn wheels and hubs, poor fuel economy, and several other issues can result from your driving habits.
Don’t go too hard on your Explorer if you want it to enjoy a long life.
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)
High mileage 2013 ford explorer
How Much Is A Ford Explorer?
Prices for a new Ford Explorer range from the low $30,000s to the low $50,000s, which is slightly higher than other comparable SUVs. The 2021 Explorer base model starts at $32,675, followed by the XLT at $34,825, the Limited at $45,005, the ST at $48,750, the King Ranch at $52,350 and the Platinum at $52,480.
But depending on age, mileage and specific trim package, used Ford Explorers tend to average approximately $10,000-$20,000 less than a new model, falling within the range of $20,000 to $30,000.
As far as features go, the lone major difference is between a new Explorer and those manufactured before 2020 is the drivetrain. Historically, Explorers have always been designed with front-wheel drive. But in 2020, just shy of the SUV's 30th birthday, Ford moved the Explorer's drivetrain from the front to the rear. In general, RWD makes for better handling and improved balance on SUVs regardless of the make and model, which means the vehicle is less likely to tip over and roll.
The FWD-to-RWD swap came as a major move for Ford, setting the Explorer apart from most other midsize SUVs in its class like the Honda Pilot and the Mazda CX-9, most of which are front-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive comes standard on the Explorer Platinum and optional on the King Ranch, too.
Aside from the drivetrain, the only other major difference to keep in mind between new and used Ford Explorers is an updated infotainment system that's standard on 2017 and newer models and equipped with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto, whereas older models lack these features.
How Long do Ford Explorers Last?
Since 1991, Ford Explorers have been the powerful vehicle of choice of families all across America.
Why do people love their Ford Explorer? Besides their great looks and range of exceptional SUVs, people love the reliability of the Explorer. They offer outstanding handling, plenty of cargo space, and peppy yet powerful engines.
But how long do Ford Explorers last?
Are you thinking about upgrading to a Ford Explorer? Or, do you think your ford Explorer is too old? Here’s everything you need to know about the lifespan of this great vehicle.
The Average Lifespan of Ford Explorers
The life of a Ford Explorer ultimately depends on outside influences. How you drive, where you drive, and maintenance are the biggest influences that determine the lifespan of a Ford Explorer.
In most cases, a Ford Explorer can last anywhere from 10 to 17 years. With regular maintenance and annually driving 12,000 miles, you can expect a new Ford Explorer to last you closer to 15 years or longer.
Why does this matter?
Any responsible and budget-savvy vehicle owner wants to invest in a vehicle that’s going to last. Whether you’re buying a new or used Ford Explorer, it’s still an investment. A long-lasting vehicle will give you a greater return on your investment and should save you money.
What Influences the Explorer’s Longevity?
Many influences are affecting the lifespan of your Ford Explorer. Being aware of these influences will help you make smarter decisions and ensure your vehicle lasts as long as it possibly can.
How You Drive
Hard reckless driving will take a toll on your vehicle. Hard driving, such as fast accelerations and sudden stops will wear down your Explorer’s engine, transmission, brakes, and other aspects of the vehicle.
Towing trailers, campers, and other heavy items will also take a toll on the Explorer’s longevity.
Over time, this will shorten the lifespan of your Explorer. It will also cost you more to maintain and fix.
Be gentle with your Explorer. Avoid sudden accelerations and sudden stops if you’re not in an emergency.
The environment you live in will affect the lifespan of your vehicle. Those living in mountainous areas may regularly drive up steep mountain passes and highways. This climbing requires more effort from your engine and will cause it to wear.
Those living in colder climates will experience more snow and long winters. Most towns and counties will salt the roads to prevent ice. This ice will eat away at the metal on your Explorer’s undercarriage causing rust and holes.
You mitigate these issues by driving through mountain passes at a slower pace. Regularly wash your vehicle to clean off salt, dirt, and other debris that can affect the exterior of your vehicle.
Do you want to know the secret to ensuring your Ford Explorer lasts for a long time? Practices good maintenance habits.
Regularly maintaining your vehicle involves regular oil changes and occasional fluid changes. Keep an eye on your Explorer’s transmission and service it right away if you notice anything odd about it.
Regular maintenance will keep your Explorer running at its best for years and years.
Expected Mileage of a Ford Explorer
The average Ford Explorer can achieve anywhere from 80,000 to over 200,000 miles in its lifetime. Some vehicle owners have reported achieving 300,000 miles and more on their Ford Explorer.
If you want your Ford Explorer to reach or surpass these mind-blowing mileage numbers, you need to take care of your Explorer.
Regular performance maintenance should get you to 150,000 miles with ease. Your Explorer may need significant upgrades to the suspension, transmission, and steering.
Around 200,000 miles your Explorer may experience issues with the timing chain.
Fixing these problems right away will help your Explorer run better and last longer.
Consider the history and former owners of any old Ford Explorers you’re thinking about buying. If possible, request a car history report.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any effective way to tell whether a previous owner mistreated their Explorer. If you’re buying used, do your best to maintain and care for your Explorer.
Exterior Rust and Damage
Those owning Ford Explorer models from the early 2000s and later can expect to see rust in about four years.
The first Ford Explorers in the 1990s consisted of durable steel. As demands for lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles grew, Ford switched to aluminum for the vehicle’s body. The only drawback is the aluminum isn’t as durable or dense as steel.
The aluminum body is susceptible to corrosion, which you can notice in the form of rust, bubbling paint, and peeling paint.
You can help delay this corrosion by regularly washing your Explorer and storing it in a safe dry place when you’re not using it.
Ford Explorer Reliability
If you’re familiar with Ford Explorer’s, you might know some earlier models were far from reliable.
Today, that has changed. The Ford Explorer lineup features the latest safety and handling technology. Every model undergoes intense testing to ensure it’s safe, long-lasting, and durable to live up to your vehicle’s needs.
Ford Explorers vs Similar Vehicles
How does the Ford Explorer compare to other vehicles in its class?
Similar vehicles to the Explorer include the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, and the Jeep Cherokee. The Ford Explorer is just as reliable with a mileage expectancy close to the Honda Pilot and a life expectancy similar to the Cherokee’s 17-20 years.
Like the Ford Explorer, these similar vehicles will also need lots of care and maintenance to achieve these longer lifespans.
Be Aware of the Year
Like a fine wine, vehicle manufacturers will offer better vehicles during certain years and poorer vehicles during other years. No, they don’t do this on purpose. The reason depends on new technology, testing, and design.
The best years for the Ford Explorer were between 2007 and 2012 and 2017 to 2020. If you’re planning to buy a used Ford Explorer, these years will offer you the most reliable Explorer with fewer problems.
Anyone thinking about buying a Ford Explorer needs to avoid models made from 2002 to 2006. These models received the most complaints are the worse years for the Explorer. Common problems include premature transmission failure, radiator leaks, and slipping transmissions.
Fixing these issues will cost you around $2,800!
If in doubt, read customer and vehicle owner reviews. These will give you a better idea of what problems you can expect to encounter and how much they’ll cost to fix.
From there, you’ll make a smart decision when buying old cars such as a used Ford Explorer.
Maintaining Your Explorer
Are Ford Explorers expensive to maintain? The answer is no. But if the maintenance becomes too much, it may be time to sell your vehicle.
There is a caveat. If you bought a model between 2002 and 2006, maintenance will cost you much more.
The average maintenance cost of an SUV is between $200 and $400 per year. The cost to maintain your Ford Explorer falls within that budget.
Depending on your driving habits, who services your Explorer, and other factors, that cost can be as low as $80 per year.
Some individuals with cut maintenance cost by servicing their vehicles themselves. This practice is best for those with car mechanic experience and skills. If you don’t have the necessary knowledge or skills, you could cause more problems that will cost more to fix.
Lifespans of the Parts
While your Ford Explorer may last up to 200,000 miles, many parts will need replacing. Here’s a look at the expected lifespan of various parts on your Ford Explorer.
The Ford Explorer’s brakes have a lifespan of around 40,000 miles. Your driving style and the terrain you drive will affect the lifespan of the brake. Some Explorer owners have brakes that last well over 65,000 miles while others had brakes that last as little as 25,000 miles.
The cost to replace your brakes (not the entire braking system) is around $200.
The 2020 Ford Explorer models improved gas mileage by adding a hybrid battery. These have a minimum lifespan of 80,000 miles or eight years.
Since this technology is new, there’s little reported information on the lifespan of the batter. If it’s like the hybrid batteries found in other hybrid vehicles, these batteries will likely last the life of the Explorer.
The replacement cost of an Explorer battery is around $5,000.
Well-maintained Ford Explorer transmissions free from factory defects can last anywhere from 80,000 to 180,000 miles. Like most parts, how and where you drive will affect the lifespan of your Ford Explorer.
The Explorer year you choose will affect the life of your transmission. Fortunately, most issues that arise are manufacturer defects covered by a warranty.
For best results, follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance regimen. Servicing and minting your Explorer now will save hefty costs in the future.
Make the Most of Your Ford Explorer
Has your Ford Explorer just hit 100,000 miles? If so, it doesn’t mean it’s time to retire your trusty Ford.
With proper care, maintenance, and gentle use, Ford Explorers, new or used, can last at least ten to fifteen years or 150,000 miles. You’ll love the reliability and affordability of a Ford Explorer.
Have questions or want to start your search today? Let us know! We’re happy to help you find the right SUV to fit you and your family’s needs today!
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