Ford Explorer Years to Avoid (Don’t Buy These)

There are specific years to avoid if you’re in the market for a Ford Explorer.

This blog post will tell you which years to stay away from and why. We’ll also provide tips for choosing the suitable model for your needs.

So whether you’re a current Ford Explorer owner or just thinking about purchasing one, make sure to read this post!

Ford Explorer: An Overview

The Ford Explorer has been a popular SUV in production since 1991.

While the Explorer has many features that make it attractive to buyers, it also has some drawbacks. One downside is that the Explorer is a gas-guzzler with poor fuel economy compared to other SUVs on the market.

Additionally, the Explorer has been often criticized for its handling, as it can feel bulky and difficult to maneuver. Finally, the Explorer has had several recalls over the years due to safety concerns.

Also Read: Is Ford Explorer a good car? Check it out here.

Ford Explorer Years to Avoid

Ford Explorer Years to Avoid

Here are five Explorer models to avoid.

  1. 2002
  2. 2003
  3. 2004
  4. 2005
  5. 2006

Problems with Ford Explorer 2002

The 2002 model year has several problems, including transmission issues, engine fires, and fuel leaks.

As a result, many owners have experienced difficulty when trying to keep their Explorers running correctly. In some cases, owners have even had to replace their engines entirely.

Thankfully, Ford has issued many recalls and service bulletins to address these issues.

If you’re considering purchasing a used Ford Explorer, be sure to do your research and consult with a qualified mechanic before making a decision.

Also Read: Ford Expedition Years to avoid (Don’t buy these models)

Problems with Ford Explorer 2003

One of the most common complaints with the 2003 Ford Explorer is that the vehicle is prone to stalling, especially when idling. It can be a significant safety hazard, as it can cause the car to lose power in traffic.

Another problem is that the transmission may slip or jerk when shifting gears.

In addition, many owners have complained about windshield leaks, airbag deployment issues, and paint chips.

Also Read: Ford Edge Years to avoid (Don’t buy these models)

Problems with Ford Explorer 2004

The Ford Explorer 2004 model year has been associated with several problems, including engine stalling, transmission problems, and issues with the brakes and suspension.

Many owners have reported that the Explorer is prone to leaks, particularly in the sunroof and seals around the windows.

Problems with Ford Explorer 2005

The 2005 Ford Explorer suffers from body paint issues, engine failures, transmission problems, and interior accessories issues.

The SUV is difficult to handle, particularly in snowy or icy conditions. Ford has issued many recalls for the Explorer, and the company is facing multiple lawsuits.

Also Read: Ford Escape Years to avoid (Don’t buy these models)

Problems with Ford Explorer 2006

The 2006 Ford Explorer was one of the most popular SUVs on the market, but it also had several problems.

Common issues included transmission problems, engine cooling issues, and leaks in the power steering system.

These problems could lead to expensive repairs. In some cases, Ford had to replace the SUV.

Also Read: Ford Flex Years to avoid (Don’t buy these models)

Common problems with Ford Explorer

Common problems with Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer has been one of America’s best-selling SUVs for nearly two decades. However, it has not been without its share of issues.

It suffered from engine failures, transmission problems, and chipping paint. Engine failures have been the most severe issue and have resulted in a class action lawsuit against Ford.

Transmission problems have also been widespread, with many owners reporting a sudden loss of power or gear-shifting issues.

While Ford has taken steps to address these issues, they have caused many owners to lose faith in the brand. 

Here are some common problems with Ford Explorer.

  • Body Paint Problems

The Explorer has reports of poor-quality body paint in recent years. The problem is especially prevalent in dark-colored vehicles, where imperfections in the paint job are more visible.

In some cases, the paint job is so poor that bare metal is visible underneath. Ford has acknowledged the problem and has issued several service bulletins to dealerships outlining how to fix it.

However, many owners report that the problem persists after multiple dealership trips.

  • Transmission Issues

These problems can include the vehicle hesitating when shifting gears, feeling like it is “slipping” out of equipment, or outright refusing to go into gear.

In some cases, the transmission may even suffer complete failure. These problems can be hazardous, as a sudden loss of power can make it difficult to control the vehicle.

As a result, Ford Explorer owners should be aware of these potential problems and have their vehicles checked by a qualified mechanic at the first sign of trouble.

Here is an excellent video by Mark Osborne on Easy fixes for transmission problems with Ford Explorer.

  • Engine Malfunction

The most common issue is engine failure, which can occur without warning and lead to a complete breakdown.

In some cases, this can even be a safety hazard. While Ford has issued recalls and made other repairs to address the problem, many owners have reported that the issues persist.

lso Read: Ford Fusion Years to avoid (Don’t buy these models)

Best Years for Ford Explorer

Here are the 6 best Ford explorer years.

  1. 2008
  2. 2010
  3. 2011
  4. 2013
  5. 2016
  6. 2019


Overall, the Ford Explorer is a good SUV option for those looking for space and features, but it is important to be aware of its drawbacks before making a purchase. These problems can lead to expensive repairs; in some cases, the vehicle may be unsafe to drive. As a result, many owners have chosen to sell their Explorers rather than continue to deal with the issues.

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