2018 Ford Expedition Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake, exterior lighting, electrical suspension and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The 2018 Ford Expedition is one of the few eight-passenger SUVs on the market. It’s designed to be a family hauler and the newest models feature the slogan “Built to Stand Out.” Our research indicates that it was meant to stand out, but not in a good way. This large SUV features poor lighting, faulty electrical systems and some major malfunctions that lead it to be anything but reliable for today’s busy family.

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Problems with the Exterior Lighting

One of the most important aspects of having a solid family vehicle is to have the lighting needed to see the road at night. When the headlights don’t perform as they should, everyone is at risk.

One driver wrote this on the NHTSA website, “The standard halogen headlamps are awful and dangerous. I cannot see anything. My girlfriend also can’t see anything while driving the car. I have taken the car to the dealer who assured me that everything is functioning as it should. But I swear I have never driven a car with headlamps this dim or poorly designed. Especially for a car so large, the projector lamps cutoff is too sharp and too low. Of course, using the high beams does bring the lighting to normal, but I am blinding other drivers. This needs to be addressed by Ford ASAP.”

The company is extremely conservative with their level of service bulletins on this vehicle. Maybe it’s just that they don’t want the average consumer to see the number of problems it faces. With that said, there’s nothing from the company addressing customer concerns about the headlights. Until they decide to fix it, drivers remain in the dark.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford Expedition Headlight Problems:

The halogen headlamps on the 2018 Ford Expedition are completely inadequate for a 2018 vehicle. They are dim, and they are angled down with a low cutoff. I brought my vehicle to the dealer and they adjusted the lights as high as possible, which did not address this issue.

Ford offers an optional led headlamp system which appears significantly brighter and safer, but at the time of purchase they didn’t have these on the dealer lots. It’s wildly irresponsible to sell a brand new vehicle for $65000 + that has headlights from the 1990s. They also claim that this system cannot be retrofitted to the halogen headlamp models.

The halogen headlights in my 2018 Ford Expedition limited are too dim and unsafe for roads that are not lit or for driving in the rain on any road. I cannot see the road well and I feel that the halogen bulbs are not a good enough option in a 60k+ vehicle. I am extremely disappointed in ford motor company for cutting corners and not making the led headlight housing standard for all of their vehicles. The Ford OEM halogen bulbs are extremely dim and unsafe for consumer use. If there was something in the road, I don’t think my headlights would give me enough notice to avoid an obstruction. Very unsafe.

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system can be a blessing or a curse for an automobile. With the Expedition, most people find that the components are far too glitchy to be enjoyed.

One user wrote this on the Edmunds website, “After picking up our 2018 Expedition in January both my wife and were totally excited about what Ford had produced.We have driven full size SUV ‘S for 25 years.We enjoyed the handling, engine performance and technology feature in our new Expedition. But unfortunately that didn’t last long. After bring the truck to the car wash it would start flashing warnings on the dash repeatedly :Forward Collision Warning Blind Spot Detect System Trailer Harness Warning. 2 Trips to the dealer they couldn’t duplicate it despite the fact I had 40 warning sent to my Ford Pass. On the 3 visit they found a defective harness , but Ford had that part on Backorder . The part arrives in 20 days but after installed a secondary problem with the Air Bag System requires another part not available. Bottom line we have been without our Expedition since 6/26/18 today is 8/1/18. We have made every effort to contacts Ford Motor Company and to date can’t get anyone to talk to or address our issues. Wonderful product but Ford forgot about Customer Satisfaction Buyer Beware. A one time loyal Ford Customer Feeling Betrayed”

Again, the Ford camp remains exceptionally quiet regarding any electrical problems. As far as they are concerned, nothing is illustrating that the company is aware of these complaints at all. It’s as if the wires got crossed and the message was never received.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford Expedition Electrical Problems:

I bought this new Expedition June of 2018. It has put itself into deep sleep mode 8 times. Each time it had to be jumped with another large vehicle to start it up. The first time was June 11th just days after I bought it. We took it in and they said nothing was wrong. It has been in the shop 3 more times since then and they “can’t find anything wrong” they are now saying they will replace the battery but I feel it’s something with all the new technology in the car and it will strand me again. I have lupus and it has stranded me in 105 degrees and ford roadside assistance said they couldn’t come for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I can’t drive a car that has done this so many times and the ford corporation said it doesn’t qualify for a replacement. They want me to drive around with cables in my new $83k car and depend on others to help me when I am stranded!! I am dealing with service department of automat ford in Killeen Texas. They have been kind but unable to help me.

The vehicle failed to start 3 different times. The first time was immediately after purchase of the vehicle – it started after 30 min and was taken back to the dealership. They replaced the battery and no issues until 4 days then it occurred again. The vehicle was stopped and parked overnight and wouldn’t start the next morning. The battery had enough power – jump starting didn’t help. The 3 tow truck was finally called into tow the vehicle to the ford dealership. They replaced the ignition switch and then took the vehicle back up to the purchasing dealership. They did a full review of the vehicle and didn’t find any further problems. Then 4 weeks later it happened again where the vehicle would not start following sitting for a couple of hours.

Problems with the Transmission

An SUV must contain a functioning and hard-working powertrain, especially when it’s meant to carry so many people. With the additional weight, users want to know they have the capability they need.

One driver on the NHTSA website was quite disappointed in the powertrain. This is what was written, “The truck was being backed into a parking spot. The truck turned off, I pushed the pedal to start the truck back up and it propelled into the wall of the establishment that I was going into to eat dinner, causing a great deal of damage to the building and my vehicle. My biggest concern is this problem not being looked into. I have a family and we all ride in this truck. I would never want to put their lives in danger knowing that this is a problem going on with these trucks.”

What’s different about the powertrain issues is that Ford does address some problems. In fact, on April 4th, they issued two separate recalls related to the same problem. Both NHTSA Campaign Number 18V214000 and NHTSA Campaign Number 18V213000 talk about trouble getting the Expedition into Park. One cause is a missing roll pin while the other is due to a dislodged or unseated gear shift cable clip. Sadly, there are numerous complaints of families experiencing rolling away SUVs as a result. Hopefully, the lights work if the SUV starts rolling away at night so others can move out of the way.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford Expedition Transmission Problems:

I was backing up and the truck took off without my foot on the gas pedal. I have about 15k in damage to my vehicle. I have found a few others that have had the same problem

Problems with the Suspension

No one expects that a large vehicle capable of holding eight passengers will be as smooth as a luxury sports car, but the suspension should be able to handle the bumps of the road. Unfortunately, the Expedition suspension has bigger issues than just comfort.

One reviewer wrote this on the NHTSA website, “Took my vehicle for an oil change at a local mechanic. He advised all four struts are leaking. The vehicle only has 10,000 miles on it. I went back to Ford. They advised there is a service bulletin and they are only supposed to monitor the issue. A Google search shows this has been a problem with Expeditions for years. Why isn’t Ford resolving this after all of these years and finding a strut that works properly?”

The tech that this owner spoke to is exactly correct. Ford issued Service Bulletin #SSM 47624. It states that the shocks might leak fluid and that the automaker wants more details about the problems. Of course, that was back in October 2018 and nothing has been done yet to repair the situation. We wonder how long one has to look at leaky struts to figure out there’s something wrong?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford Expedition Suspension Problems:

TL* The contact owns a 2018 Ford Expedition. The contact stated that all of the shock absorbers were defective and caused the rear of the vehicle to bounce when driving over a pothole. The vehicle’s rear would also bounce sideways when making turns. The vehicle was taken to Hixson ford where the rear shocks were replaced with new ones under the warranty. The manufacturer was not contacted.

Vehicle as delivered new from the factory had a very loud and distinct clunking in the rear suspension when driving. It clunks repeatedly with each downshift of the 10 speed transmission and once very hard upon acceleration. It was later determined that the rear differential retainer bushing had been left loose and not fully installed, allowing the whole rear suspension system to rotate when it should have been fixed. This resulted in premature tire wear and apparent fluid loss in the shock absorbers. The end result is a vehicle that has a very harsh ride.

Problems with the Brakes

One of the other major components a driver wants working properly is the brakes. When traveling with children, this large SUV must stop in time, but that’s not what’s happening.

Just listen to the experience of this driver from the NHTSA website. “Today, I experienced a complete failure of the brakes on my 2018 Ford Expedition EL. The brake pedal would not build any pressure which almost caused an accident with my children in the vehicle. To answer the specifics requested by NHTSA, the vehicle was being driven at 45mph or less on a city street and the problem still persisted when the vehicle was stopped. The only way to build brake pressure was to turn the vehicle off and pump the pedal. This vehicle is less than 6 months old and for how much Ford charges for a Limited Edition Expedition you expect to not have your brakes fail. This is unacceptable Ford!”

What a scary situation this driver found themselves in. Once again, Ford has no communication to address the problem. What we did notice were two structure related recalls that could make a crash even worse. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V805000 discusses how the second-row of seats might be missing a J-Channel reinforcement bracket which allows the seat to move during impact. In NHTSA Campaign Number 17V775000 they also talk about how that same second row might have “excessive forward adjustment capability and/or may have an improperly installed bolt” which also increases the risk of injury during an accident. If the brakes fail on the Expedition, you don’t want to be sitting in the second row, that’s for sure.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Ford Expedition Brake Problems:

TL* The contact leased a 2018 Ford Expedition. The contact stated that while his spouse was driving the vehicle at 10-15 mph, the brake pedal was depressed but failed to stop. The vehicle crashed into the rear of another vehicle. There were no injuries sustained by either drivers. A police report was filed. The vehicle was driven from the scene to the residence. The contact stated that the abs warning light was illuminated. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle to the residence, the brake pedal was depressed several times and went to the floorboard. The vehicle was taken to bill brown ford located but was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated in the four months since the crash, the vehicle had remained at the dealer due to the abs module and software not being available to have the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed of the failure. Case number: 21685353. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • B.H.

    My 2018 Ford Expedition XLT Max has been in the service department for a transmission warranty issue for 76 days to date (as of 2/8/21) and they tell me it will be at least 6 weeks before they can get to it due to lack of technicians. They don’t know what’s actually wrong with it because no one has even looked at it yet.

  • Ed

    My 2018 expedition max has been put in servive a few times for a clicking metal sound when i put the truck in reverse or there is has a hard bump.The dealer keep saying they have fixed the problem but it still persists

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