2018 Ford Explorer Problems and Complaints

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2018 Ford Explorer SUV Problems, Issues, Complaints, Recalls, and Which Year to Avoid

Updated on: April 28, 2022

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Ford Explorer started out as a solid SUV but lost its steam gradually with the arrival of modern and better rivals. Due to it lacking in major areas, the reliability of the Explorer has been put into question several times across the years, making the 2018 Explorer face a similar fate. With 3 recalls and 170 complaints, the SUV can be said to have decent enough reliability. Among the total complaints, the powertrain issues and the roof rail rack issue make up a major share. The 2018 Ford Explorer faces heat in its segment from the lies of the Honda Pilot, the Chevrolet Traverse, and the Toyota Highlander.

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Ford Explorer user complaints and problems

Safety problems

  • Faulty brakes: One owner complained about faulty brakes against the 2018 Ford Explorer. In the report, the complainant said that while driving and applying brakes, the rear brakes of the vehicle suddenly started to make abnormal noises which were followed by no braking power even if the pedal was floored. The owner was able to bring the vehicle to a halt at the side of a road by pumping the brakes repeatedly.

Engine problems

  • The abnormal smell of gasoline inside the cabin: A lot of models of the 2018 Explorer were affected by this issue. In a majority of the cases the owners said that while driving and accelerating, there was a strong smell of gasoline inside the cabin. In several cases, there was a strong odor of exhaust fumes while the air conditioning was switched on. In a few cases, the exhaust fumes caused breathing troubles to the drivers and in one instance, an owner’s wife suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and crashed the vehicle.

Exterior problems

  • Roof rail rack issues: Plenty of reports are there regarding this problem. A major share of the complaints mentions that the roof rack would come off suddenly while driving. The reason was that the racks are not attached quite securely which would make them come off while driving.

2018 Ford Explorer recalls

S.No.

Recall Date

NHTSA Campaign ID

Issues noticed

Additional remarks

Remedy

1

November 14, 2018

18V807000

Fuel Pressure Sensor may Leak Fuel

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can increase the risk of a fire.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel line assembly, free of charge. The recall began on December 7, 2018. 

2

August 28, 2019 

19V633000

Reduced Seat Back Strength/FMVSS 202 & 207

A seat back with an improperly assembled recliner mechanism may have reduced strength and may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Ford will notify owners, and Ford and Lincoln dealers will inspect the seat structure and replace them, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on October 21, 2019. 

3

May 5, 2021

21V316000

Roof Rail Covers May Detach

A detached roof rail cover can create a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

Dealers will install push-pins and replace any damaged rail clips and roof rail covers, as necessary, free of charge. The interim owner notification letter was mailed on June 22, 2021. Owner notification letters (remedy available) were mailed on October 1, 2021.

Should you buy a used Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer has definitely lost its charm along the way and is more suited as a police interceptor. However, you do get a generous list of features, a decent performance, a comfortable and spacious cabin along with better styling for the current model year. Going forward with a used example of the Ford Explorer would be a decent idea given you find a well-maintained model and a trusted dealer. On the other hand, you can look at the Chevrolet Traverse which is a better option and has a better reliability history as well.

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Used 2018 Ford Explorer For Sale

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2017 Ford Explorer26
Price Drop, $300
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2017 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor

Police Interceptor 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 304 hp 6A)

$11,200
Est. $152/mo
Excellent Deal
$4,709 Below market
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Price Drop, $2090
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XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

$21,900
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2017 Ford Explorer35
Price Drop, $1
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2017 Ford Explorer Limited

Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 290 hp 6cyl 6A)

$19,444
Est. $263/mo
Excellent Deal
$8,079 Below market
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2017 Ford Explorer4

2017 Ford Explorer SUV

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$18,749
Est. $254/mo
Excellent Deal
$7,751 Below market
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2017 Ford Explorer40

2017 Ford Explorer XLT SUV

XLT

$18,751
Est. $254/mo
Excellent Deal
$7,749 Below market
RMV: $26,500
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2018 Ford Explorer29

2018 Ford Explorer XLT

XLT 4dr SUV (2.3L 280 hp 4cyl 6A)

$20,994
Est. $285/mo
Excellent Deal
$8,596 Below market
RMV: $29,590
Fairfield, OH
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2018 Ford Explorer27

2018 Ford Explorer SUV

XLT

$21,899
Est. $297/mo
Excellent Deal
$9,001 Below market
RMV: $30,900
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2019 Ford Explorer28
Price Drop, $300
Previous Price: $2299818 Jun 2022

2019 Ford Explorer XLT

XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

$22,698
Est. $308/mo
Excellent Deal
$9,301.5 Below market
RMV: $31,999.5
Mesa, AZ
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2019 Ford Explorer37

2019 Ford Explorer SUV

Base

$20,000
Est. $271/mo
Excellent Deal
$7,998 Below market
RMV: $27,998
Oklahoma City, OK
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