How Long Do Ford Explorers Last?

Ford is a pretty well-known brand, selling a variety of different vehicles, most notably SUVs and trucks.

The most common question when in the market for a car is how long the vehicle will last. 

Vehicle longevity depends on the make, model, and year of the car. 

How Long Do Ford Explorers Last?

Ford Explorers last somewhere between 100k and 200k miles. Some last for 115k, while others make it 200k, especially older models. Several maintenance issues make a Ford Explorer less likely to last longer with a few specific years, and all of this contributes to the vehicle’s lifespan.

Each Ford Explorer has a few different things that can impact the vehicle’s longevity, such as mileage, wear and tear, maintenance upkeep and issues, and the year of the Ford Explorer. 

Learn more about how long Ford Explorers last below.

Year and Mileage

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How long a Ford Explorer lasts is greatly dependent on the year of the car, the mileage it gets, and how well cared for it is. 

Several Explorer model years have had more significant issues than others. 

These problems generally stem from lack of maintenance, not excessive mileage.

Vehicle mileage significantly impacts the vehicle’s longevity and future sale price. 

Many vehicles have a maximum mileage before they become more trouble than they are worth.

This mileage “limit” varies depending on the brand and build.

Some vehicles use more reliable parts allowing them to rack up more mileage. 

The Ford brand is around the middle of this equation, giving us some pretty reliable cars that work well for a variety of things, but also don’t last quite as long as we might hope. 

Ford Explorers specifically have around four or five bad model years. 2002 through 2006 Explorers are less than stellar. 

The 2006 Ford Explorer has issues with the transmission, even when it doesn’t have many miles. 

2011 through 2013 Ford Explorer models are reported to have several issues. 

Each problem compounded until repairs cost more than the vehicle was worth. 

One of the more recent Ford Explorers is the 2020 model. The 2020 Ford Explorer has had some major issues, resulting in a few recalls. 

The issue of mileage is also subject to year. 

Older Ford Explorer models 

Some of the older Ford Explorers models can last longer than the newer models.

For example, the 1996 Ford Explorer is known to exceed 200,000 miles; meanwhile, newer models experience significant problems after 150,000 miles. 

One Ford Explorer owner claims that they drove their 2002 Explorer 185,000 miles so far. Another has driven their 2001 Explorer 192,000 miles. This goes to show that Explorers from this era will last you nearly 20 years.

Why are newer Ford Explorers less reliable? One reason for this is that manufacturers focus more on reducing emissions and improving efficiency. 

A more fuel-efficient vehicle requires lighter parts. However, these lightweight materials tend to be more fragile than the heavier ones.

Frequent Maintenance Issues

There are several different issues that car owners of Ford Explorers will run into, and each one comes with its own brand of trouble the older the vehicle is. 

Some of the most common problems arise in the transmission, specifically for the 2006 model. 

The 2006 Ford Explorer ran into several issues like banging and clanking when shifting, trouble when shifting into drive, and more. 

Transmissions are one of the hardest parts in a car to find that works well after several years, but the 2006 Explorer didn’t work well with its transmission regardless of how old the car got. 

Many 2006 Ford Explorers experienced transmission failure.

Another problem people run into frequently with Ford Explorers is rough idling and engine stalling, especially in older models. 

This issue is generally easy to solve and shouldn’t impact the vehicle’s longevity much.

Some Ford Explorer owners have experienced A/C unit malfunctions. 

These problems span several model years. Usually, it’s something to do with the coolant.

The 2020 Explorer has had several recalls on a variety of different issues. 

And it’s been on select models as well. There was the possibility of fuel leakage, which would cause a fire. 

Issues with the airbags, there was faulty wiring where it may contact other parts inside the vehicle and cause damage that would, in turn, cause failure to other parts, such as the A/C belt or the harness. 

It seems a lot of the other recalls are much smaller issues than the ones already mentioned, but it puts into perspective how many things can go wrong. 

It is especially concerning to see so many recalls when the vehicle was just recently released on the market.

If you want your Ford Explorer to continue running for a long time, take care of it.

This means changing the oil every four months, getting fluids serviced, rotating your tires, and more. 

The type of weather and terrain you drive it on will also have an impact on the longevity of the Explorer. 

Finally, there will be certain parts that need replacing as the car gets older, but keeping them in good shape will ensure a long and happy, even generational, life for your Explorer. 

The Best Ford Explorer

We’ve already discussed how the 2006 Ford Explorer is the worst model so far, but which model year is the best?

Ford Explorers made before 2002 receive few consumer complaints. 

Drivers can also rely on Explorers produced between 2007 and 2012. 

That said, the 2010 and the 2011 Ford Explorer are by far the best models so far.

Drivers consider 2010 one of the best model because it is the last of a generation.

 Newer Explorers took on a different look; meanwhile, the 2010 Ford Explorer maintains this image.

The 2011 Ford Explorer kicked off a new generation of exploring. 

As an adventure vehicle, drivers needed the ability to customize the drive for the terrain. 

While previous models used simple 2WD/4WD switches, the 2011 Ford Explorer introduced the terrain control.

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