The Ford Explorer’s first and second iterations contributed to the SUV’s reputation for durability. The third generation, however, completely altered everything. The 2002-2005 vehicles suffered from rear suspension issues and transmission issues, according to . Under 100,000-mile transmission failures frequently required a rebuilt replacement that cost close to $3,000.

Before they reach 90,000 miles, the 2002–2005 Explorers also have wheel bearing failures. Depending on how many wheel bearings need to be replaced, a typical repair can cost between $500 and $1,000. The Explorer model years from 2002 to 2005 also have a broken rear panel. The ruptured piece is a major inconvenience even though it has no effect on how the car operates or performs.

Not only was the third generation of Ford Explorers problematic, but the fifth model, which was produced from 2011 to 2016, also had issues. These SUVs’ rear suspension toe links were prone to rust, which made them fragile. When the ball joints rust and the toe link malfunctions, vehicles in cold climates where salt is used on the roadways are more prone to failure. Ford announced a number of recalls to address the nearly a million vehicles issue.

Ford Explorer models from 2012 to 2017 have also received reports of coolant leaks and damaged engine blocks from owners. The National Highway Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) division started looking into exhaust manifold cracks in 2016 after complaints of unpleasant cabin scents and possible carbon monoxide poisoning. The exhaust issue was mentioned in 2,400 reports involving 2,051 different automobiles, according to ODI.


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