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


Recall Date

NHTSA Campaign ID

Issues noticed

Additional remarks



November 14, 2018


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. 


August 28, 2019 


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. 


May 5, 2021


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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