2013 Ford Explorer Problems and Complaints

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2013 Ford Explorer SUV Problems, Issues, Complaints, Recalls, and Which Year to Avoid

Updated on: June 23, 2022

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Being the first four-door SUV from Ford, the Explorer has been on sale for a little more than two decades now and it underwent significant development too. Apart from offering excellent value for money, the Explorer did not fail to impress in terms of dependability when used as a daily driver but the scenario changed with the introduction of the current generation. The post-launch scenario did not improve for the current model and the SUV received even more complaints and recalls than the last year’s model as well.

The current 2013 Explorer has seen 1516 official complaints with 11 recalls along with 5 investigations too. The investigations were carried out due to the exhaust odor, front brake hose failure, and electric power steering failure. The recalls focus on fuel leaks and rear suspension failures. The 2013 Ford Explorer competes with the Dodge Durango, the Toyota Highlander, and the Honda Pilot.

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Ford Explorer user complaints and problems

Engine problems

  • Exhaust fume smell inside the cabin: A sizable share of owners of the 2013 Explorer complains regarding this problem. According to all the reports, the owners experienced toxic exhaust fumes inside the cabins of their SUVs while driving or after starting the vehicles. Unfortunately, there aren’t any recalls yet for this issue.
  • Sudden engine stall: Many cases of sudden engine stalls were reported against the 2013 Explorer. The owners mentioned in the reports that they faced sudden stalling of their vehicles' engines while driving. In several cases, the engines stalled while idling too.

Safety problems

  • Locking up of brakes: Numerous cases of brake seizures were reported against the 2013 Explorer. The brakes locked up while driving or would seize partially resulting in a warping and burning smell.
  • Airbag failure: A few instances of airbag failures are there for the 2013 Explorer. During crashes, the airbags of the affected vehicles failed to deploy completely, resulting in injuries to the owners and other occupants.

Miscellaneous problems

  • Door latch failure: Multiple cases of door latch failures were reported by 2013 Explorer buyers. The front driver’s door latch failures were the most reported followed by the latch failures of other doors. The failures occurred even while driving which posed a safety risk too.
  • Power steering failure: Hundreds of cases with power steering failures have come up against the 2013 Ford Explorer. The complainants faced failures while they were driving their vehicles. The power steering failures occurred mostly without any prior warnings, making it extremely hard to maneuver or turn the vehicles.

2013 Ford Explorer recalls

S.No.

Recall Date

NHTSA Campaign ID

Issues noticed

Additional remarks

Remedy

1

March 27, 2013 

13V109000

Fuel Tank may Leak at Seam

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the fuel tanks and replace them as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on May 9, 2013. 

2

May 31, 2013

13V227000

Fuel Delivery Module may Crack And Leak

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel delivery module, free of charge. The recall began on July 20, 2013.

3

June 26, 2013

13V270000

Child Safety Lock may become Deactivated

If the child lock is deactivated, the door could be unlocked and opened from the inside which could lead to personal injury to an unrestrained child.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will test the safety locks. If necessary, the locks will be replaced free of charge. The recall began on August 2, 2013. 

4

May 29, 2014

14V286000

Loss of Electric Power Steering Assist

If the vehicle experiences a loss of power steering assist it will require extra steering effort at lower speeds, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.


 

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will update the Power Steering Control Module (PSCM) software, free of charge. If a vehicle shows a history of a loss of motor position sensor signal when the vehicle is brought in for the recall remedy, its steering rack assembly will be replaced, free of charge. The recall began on July 23, 2014.

5

March 24, 2015

15V171000

Interior Door Handle Return Spring may Unseat

If the interior door handle return spring is unseated, the door may unlatch in the event of a side impact crash, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect all four of the interior door handles and either repair or replace them, free of charge. The recall began on July 23, 2015. 

6

December 2, 2015

15V812000

Fuel Delivery Module may Crack and Leak

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel delivery module, free of charge. The recall began on December 21, 2015. 

7

August 28, 2017

17E048000

Hub Unit Bearing may Allow Wheel Detachment

A loss of the wheel or wheel end can increase the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify the distributors of the hubs specifying that they are to only be used on drive axles. It is believed that none of the hubs were purchased from Ford dealers for the incorrect application. 

8

June 10, 2019

19V435000

Rear Suspension Toe Links May Fracture

A fractured rear toe link will cause a sudden change in vehicle handling and increase the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear suspension toe links, and inspect both rear toe link ball joints, replacing the rear wheel knuckle(s), if necessary, free of charge. The recall began on June 26, 2019.

9

October 30, 2020

20V675000

Rear Suspension Toe Link Fracture

A rear toe link fracture can result in a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the cross-axis ball joint (CABJ) knuckle attached to the rear suspension toe link and replace it as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on November 27, 2020. 

10

July 15, 2021

21V537000

Rear Suspension Toe Link Fracture

A rear toe-link fracture can result in a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Dealers will inspect and replace as necessary, the cross-axis ball joint (CABJ) knuckle, and replace the rear suspension toe links, free of charge. Certain vehicles previously repaired will need to return for the new remedy. An interim notification letter notifying owners of the safety risk were mailed on September 10, 2021. Owner notification letters were mailed on March 16, 2022. 

11

September 22, 2021

21V746000

Rear Suspension Toe Link Fracture

A rear toe link fracture can result in a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Dealer will inspect for the presence of a CABJ. If a CABJ of any design is found, the dealer will inspect the tightness of the CABJ, and replace the CABJ, knuckle, and/or toe link as necessary, free of charge. Interim notification letters were mailed on November 10, 2021. Owner notification letters were mailed on March 17, 2022. 

Should you buy a used Ford Explorer?

The 2013 Ford Explorer has a reputation for the complete package it offers at a great price point. Starting off with superb crash scores, the SUV excels at offering high-tech features, an upscale interior, exceptional balance of ride and handling along with a striking design. However, the reliability of the current generation Explorer acts as a spoilsport for many shoppers and has caused enough inconveniences to the existing owners as well. If you plan on getting a used model of the Explorer, look for fourth-generation models since they fare better in terms of overall reliability.

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