Close this search box.

What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid? Revealing the Risky Models

What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid

Table of Contents

The year 2002 Ford Explorer is one to avoid due to reported transmission issues. The 2002 model’s transmission problems make it a risky choice.

When buying a used Ford Explorer, it’s crucial to be aware of potential trouble spots that can impact the vehicle’s performance, safety, and overall value. While the Explorer has been a popular SUV choice for many drivers, certain model years may have specific issues that buyers should consider.

By avoiding problematic years, such as the 2002 model, consumers can make a more informed decision when selecting a Ford Explorer that meets their needs and budget. Vehicles, like the Ford Explorer, vary by year, so thorough research is essential to ensure a satisfactory purchase.

What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid: Revealing the Risky Models


Common Issues With Ford Explorer

If you are considering purchasing a Ford Explorer, it is crucial to be aware of the common problems associated with this vehicle to avoid any potential headaches in the future.

Transmission Problems

  • Delayed shifting between gears.
  • Transmission fluid leaks.
  • Transmission failure results in costly repairs.

Engine Troubles

  • Issues with the ignition coils.
  • Engine stalling or misfiring.
  • Carbon buildup leads to decreased performance.

Safety Recalls

  1. Fire risk due to faulty seat recliner mechanism.
  2. Airbag deployment failure in certain models.
  3. Brake pedal issues pose safety concerns.

The Most Unreliable Ford Explorer Models

1st Generation (1991-1994)

The initial models of Ford Explorer from 1991 to 1994, though popular, faced reliability issues.

  • Frequent transmission problems
  • Engine overheating concerns
  • Electrical malfunctions

5th Generation (2011-2019)

The fifth-generation Ford Explorers spanning from 2011 to 2019 exhibited notable unreliability.

  1. Common engine failures
  2. Continuous electrical glitches
  3. Transmission issues

Factors Contributing To Explorer’s Reliability Issues

The Ford Explorer has been a popular SUV choice for many drivers, offering ample space, power, and comfort. However, several factors have contributed to reliability issues in certain model years, affecting the vehicle’s performance and safety. Understanding these factors can help potential buyers make informed decisions and avoid potential troubles down the road. Let’s explore the key elements that have impacted the Explorer’s reliability.

Design Flaws

The design of a vehicle plays a crucial role in its long-term reliability. Certain model years of the Ford Explorer were plagued by significant design flaws, including structural weaknesses, which led to various safety concerns. These design vulnerabilities have impacted the vehicle’s overall performance and safety ratings.

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects have been a notable issue in specific model years of the Ford Explorer, resulting in mechanical failures and compromised durability. These defects have led to frequent breakdowns and costly repairs for many owners, tarnishing the overall reliability of the vehicle.

Quality Control

Inadequate quality control during the production process has also contributed to the reliability issues of certain Ford Explorer model years. Poorly executed quality checks have allowed numerous defective components to be installed, leading to a higher probability of malfunctions and safety concerns.

What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid: Revealing the Risky Models


Best Practices For Buying A Used Ford Explorer

When it comes to buying a used Ford Explorer, there are a few best practices that can help you make a smart and worthwhile investment. By following these guidelines, you can confidently navigate the used car market and find the perfect Ford Explorer without any regrets. In this section, we will discuss two essential best practices: thoroughly inspecting the vehicle and purchasing from reputable sellers. Utilizing these strategies can significantly reduce your chances of buying a lemon.

Thorough Inspection

A thorough inspection is crucial when buying a used Ford Explorer to avoid any unexpected surprises down the road. Before making a purchase, visually examine the vehicle’s exterior for any signs of damage, such as dents, scratches, or rust. Take note of any suspicious discrepancies or mismatched paint, as it may indicate previous accidents or repairs. Additionally, pay close attention to the condition of the tires, ensuring they have sufficient tread depth and even wear.

Next, inspect the interior of the Ford Explorer. Check for any signs of excessive wear and tear, such as torn upholstery, worn-out pedals, or a faded dashboard. Test all the electronic components, such as the air conditioning, power windows, and audio system, to ensure they are in proper working condition. Don’t forget to thoroughly examine the seats for any hidden damages or stains.

When inspecting under the hood, ensure there are no visible leaks, loose wires, or damaged engine components. Check the fluid levels, including oil, coolant, and brake fluid, and ensure they are at the appropriate levels. The presence of any unusual odors or smoke during a test drive can also be a red flag indicating potential engine issues.

Purchase From Reputable Sellers

Buying from reputable sellers is another critical best practice when purchasing a used Ford Explorer. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of encountering dishonest sellers or buying a stolen vehicle. Reputable sellers usually include authorized dealerships, certified pre-owned programs, or reputable independent car dealers.

Before finalizing a purchase, always do a background check on the seller. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or trustworthy automotive professionals. Research the seller’s reputation and ensure they have a history of providing reliable and transparent services.

When possible, opt for sellers who offer warranties or guarantees on their used Ford Explorers. These protections can provide peace of mind and ensure you are covered in case of unexpected mechanical failures or defects.

Alongside the dealership and independent dealers, consider exploring online platforms that offer verified listings with detailed vehicle history reports. These reports can provide valuable insights into an Explorer’s past, including ownership history, accident records, and maintenance records.

By following these best practices, you can confidently embark on your quest for a used Ford Explorer that meets your needs while avoiding any troublesome or unreliable options. Remember, taking the time to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and purchasing from reputable sellers will ultimately save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

Conclusion And Future Outlook

For those considering a Ford Explorer, it’s prudent to avoid the 2020 model due to reported transmission issues and recalls. Looking ahead, Ford has made strides in their newer models, such as the 2022 Ford Explorer, offering better performance and reliability.

In this blog post, we have discussed the various Ford Explorer models over the years and highlighted the ones to avoid due to their potential issues. Now, let’s conclude our discussion on What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid and look ahead to the future outlook for this popular SUV. We will explore the improvements made in newer models and the consumer awareness initiatives that Ford has undertaken.

Improvements in Newer Models

The Ford Explorer has undergone significant improvements in its newer models, addressing the concerns and issues of the past. The following table summarizes some of the key improvements made in recent years:

Year Improvements
20XX New engine technology for enhanced fuel efficiency
20XX Upgraded safety features, including advanced driver-assistance systems
20XX Improved interior design and materials for added comfort
20XX Enhanced infotainment system with advanced connectivity options

These improvements reflect Ford’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, ensuring that newer models of the Ford Explorer offer a more reliable and enjoyable driving experience.

Consumer Awareness Initiatives

Ford recognizes the importance of keeping consumers aware and informed about the performance and reliability of their vehicles. To foster transparency and build trust, Ford has implemented several consumer awareness initiatives. Here are some examples:

1. Quality Reports: Ford publishes regular quality reports that highlight any known issues or recalls associated with their vehicles, including the Ford Explorer. These reports help consumers make informed decisions based on reliable information.

2. Online Forums and Communities: Ford actively participates in various online forums and communities, providing a platform for customers to share their experiences, seek advice, and have their concerns addressed promptly.

3. Customer Support Channels: Ford has established dedicated customer support channels, such as helplines and online chat services, to assist customers with any queries or issues they may have regarding their Ford Explorer or any other Ford vehicle.

By taking these initiatives, Ford demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction and ensures that potential buyers are well-informed before making a decision to purchase a Ford Explorer.

As we conclude our discussion on What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid, it’s essential to remember that car models evolve over time, and newer versions often address the shortcomings of their predecessors. With the improvements in newer models and Ford’s consumer awareness initiatives, the Ford Explorer continues to be a popular choice for SUV enthusiasts. Make sure to research and consider the latest models, as they offer enhanced performance, safety features, and overall driving experience.

What Year Ford Explorer to Avoid: Revealing the Risky Models


Frequently Asked Questions Of What Year Ford Explorer To Avoid

What Are The Best Years For Ford Explorer?

The best years for the Ford Explorer are generally considered to be 2011 to 2019, with improved features and reliability.

What Years Did The Ford Explorer Have Transmission Problems?

The Ford Explorer had transmission problems from 2002 to 2006.

Why Not To Buy Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer has a history of transmission and engine problems. It also has lower fuel efficiency compared to other SUVs. The ride quality can be rough, and it’s costly to maintain. Consider these factors before making your purchase decision.

Which Ford Explorer Engine Is Best?

The best Ford Explorer engine depends on your needs. The V6 engines offer a good balance of power and fuel efficiency, while the twin-turbo V6 provides excellent acceleration. Consider your priorities when choosing the engine that suits you best.


To sum up, being aware of the Ford Explorer’s problematic years is crucial. By avoiding the prone to issues, such as the 2011 and 2016 models, you can save yourself from potential headaches. Always conduct thorough research and consider expert advice before purchasing a vehicle to ensure a reliable and safe driving experience.


Get Curated Post Updates!

Sign up for my newsletter to see new photos, tips, and blog posts.