It may not look markedly different from the outgoing model, but the Explorer has been completely redesigned for 2020. We enjoy its agile handling and spacious, quiet cabin, but the clunky transmission, noisy engine, and stiff-edged ride leave it with a middling rank among three-row midsized SUVs. Further, some comparably equipped rivals, such as the Hyundai Palisade and Subaru Ascent, cost about $6,000 less.
Alerts
There are 8 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2020 Ford Explorer has been recalled 8 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
02*
03
04
05
06*
07
08
09
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11*
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20*
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2020 Ford Explorer owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

Compare 2020 Models

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
POWER TRAIN:DRIVELINE:DRIVESHAFT
Nov 10 2020
Defective drive shafts may fail and cause a loss of connection between the transfer case and rear axle, possibly resulting in a vehicle rollaway when in Park or a loss of drive. Either condition can increase the risk of a crash. The drive shafts can also deform and separate from the driveline and potentially contact the fuel tank, increasing the risk of fuel leaks and/or fire.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles equipped with a 2.0L or 3.3L engine and a 10 Speed Automatic Transmission with the All Wheel Drive package. The drive shaft may fracture along the weld seam.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the drive shaft label inspected and replace it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 14, 2020. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 20S65.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 20V693000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 10905
VISIBILITY:REARVIEW MIRRORS/DEVICES
Sep 23 2020
Reduced rearward visibility can increase the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Explorer, Mustang, Transit, Expedition, Escape, Ranger and Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus and Corsair vehicles. Due to a poor electrical connection, the rearview camera may intermittently display a blank or distorted image. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, "Rear Visibility."
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rearview camera, free of charge. The recall began November 17, 2020. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 20C19.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 20V575000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 620246
SEAT BELTS: REAR:BUCKLE ASSEMBLY
Sep 10 2020
Vehicles with seat belt buckles that are not properly secured may fail to restrain an occupant during a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Explorer vehicles. The affected vehicles are equipped with second row center seat belt buckles that may not be properly secured to the seat.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the second row center seat assembly, free of charge. The recall began November 6, 2020. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 20S50.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 20V549000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 29
SEATS
Aug 21 2020
If the side air bag or seat back fasteners were not properly tightened, the side air bag deployment could be affected, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles. The side air bag and/or seat back module attachments may not have been properly tightened in the front seat backs.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will remove front seat back panels from one or both front seats (VIN-specific) and verify that the fasteners have been properly tightened, free of charge. The recall began September 10, 2020. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 20S48.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 20V497000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 488
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:HOSES, LINES/PIPING, AND FITTINGS
Dec 04 2019
A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source increases the risk of a fire.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. Over time, the protective sleeve on the vapor fuel line may chafe through the plastic liquid fuel line and cause a fuel leak.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a longer protective sleeve on the liquid fuel line, as necessary, free of charge. Ford issued owners and interim notification on January 29, 2020. Recall began March 23, 2020. A second notice will be sent once parts are available, expected to be late in the first quarter of 2020. A renotification letter was sent on July 10, 2020. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19S49.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V859000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 3857
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:WIRING
Sep 30 2019
The A/C pulley may rub through the wiring harness insulation and contact the unfused battery positive wire, resulting in a short circuit, increasing the risk of a fire.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Ford Explorer vehicles equipped with 2.3L or 3.3L engines. The wiring harness may not have been properly secured and may contact the air conditioner compressor (A/C) pulley, potentially damaging the harness or the A/C belt.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a tie strap to the wiring harness at the hand shock tower clip, free of charge. The recall began October 21, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19S32.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V687000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 10655
SEATS:MID/REAR ASSEMBLY
Aug 28 2019
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.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2018-2020 F-150 and 2019-2020 F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks, and 2018-2019 Ford Explorer, 2019-2020 Expedition, and 2020 Escape vehicles equipped with driver and/or passenger's manual front seat back recliner mechanisms. Also included are certain 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles equipped with rear outboard seats and manual seat back recliner mechanisms. The recliner mechanisms may be missing the third pawl required for seat back strength, resulting in a loose seat back. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 202, "Head Restraints" and 207, "Seating Systems."
What should you do:
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 October 21, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19C07.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V633000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 639137
PARKING BRAKE
Aug 05 2019
Without the cover, the MPR lever may be unintentionally moved, allowing the vehicle to roll away. Being in Factory Mode, the vehicle will not display warnings and/or gear selection on the instrument cluster. Both conditions increase the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. The Manual Park Release (MPR) cover may not be installed. In addition, the vehicles may be in Factory Mode, which disables warning alerts and does not display the transmission gear selected. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 114, "Theft Prevention" and 102, "Trans Shift Lever Seq/Starter Interlock/Trans Braking Effect."
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, install a MPR cover. Dealers will verify the instrument cluster is not in Factory Mode and clear any fault codes, free of charge. The recall began August 23, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19C06.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V575000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 13896
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