It may not look markedly different from the previous generation, 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 thousands less.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

We expect the 2022 Explorer will be much less reliable than the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2020 and 2021 models. Select the used car model year to see reported issues with those similar past models.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2021 Ford Explorer has been recalled 4 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
02*
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06*
07
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20*
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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 over 300,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2021 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 2021 Ford Explorer owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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.

Paint/Trim

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

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.

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

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.

Engine Minor

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

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.

Engine Major

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

Transmission Minor

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

Drive System

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

Exhaust

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

Body Integrity

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

Brakes

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

Engine Cooling

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

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.

Climate System

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

Compare 2021 Models

Similar Cars
Chevrolet Traverse
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Palisade
Kia Sorento
Kia Telluride
Mazda CX-9
Subaru Ascent
Toyota Highlander
Volkswagen Atlas
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
SUSPENSION
Nov 10, 2021
A rear suspension module with incorrect components may affect vehicle handling, ride height, and braking characteristics, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2021 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. Incorrect rear suspension module components may have been installed due to a labeling error.
What should you do:
Dealers will inspect the rear suspension module, and replace any incorrect parts, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 29, 2021. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 21S47.
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.nhtsa.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 21V870000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 20
BACK OVER PREVENTION
Sep 22, 2021
A rearview camera that does not display an image reduces the driver's rear view, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Explorer, Lincoln Corsair, and Lincoln Aviator vehicles equipped with 360-degree cameras. The video output may fail, preventing the rearview camera image from displaying.
What should you do:
Dealers will update the Image Processing Module (IPMB) software, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed November 16, 2021. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 21S44.
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.nhtsa.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 21V735000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 228297
AIR BAGS
Aug 23, 2021
Improper deployment of a side air bag increases the risk of injury during a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2021 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. The side air bag attachment weld studs could detach during the deployment of the side air bag, resulting in an improper deployment. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 214, "Side Impact Protection".
What should you do:
Dealers will replace the side air bag assemblies, free of charge. Owner notification letters were mailed September 10, 2021. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 21C19.
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.nhtsa.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 21V652000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 592
ENGINE
Dec 17, 2020
With a loose motor mount, motor vibration may cause the axle to disconnect from the engine and could result in loss of power, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. The right hand motor mount fasteners may have been incorrectly tightened, and may loosen over time.
What should you do:
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will remove and replace the right hand motor mount fasteners, free of charge. The recall began February 3, 2021. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 20S72.
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: 20V788000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1405
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