Powertrain, suspension, and structural issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The Ford Explorer, launched in 1990 as a 1991 model, is a top vehicle on the roads these days. The manufacturer claims that the SUV is “the ultimate exploration vehicle.”. But there is a growing volume of complaints from owners beset with problems relating to a faulty powertrain, a dangerous suspension fault, and various structural issues.
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Most Common Problems
Powertrain problems top the list of complaints to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Suspension issues are also high on the list, although two of these are coupled with powertrain problems. There are also several complaints about the structure of the SUV.
In addition to these complaints, which we will look at more closely, there are complaints about 10 other components or structures. These are back over prevention, the electrical system, engine, forward collision avoidance, fuel system/gasoline, seat belts, brakes, vehicle speed control, visibility, and visibility/wiper.
In addition to 21 complaints about the 2022 Ford Explorer to the NHTSA, there are several recalls on file. The most recent of these, issued on September 14, 2022, warns that a fuel line may be loose. It states that, “An improperly tightened fuel line connection may result in a fuel leak, increasing the risk of fire.”
A complaint made by an owner in Ohio relates to an Explorer “giving off strong exhaust fumes through the cabin.” This happened on May 14, long before the recall mentioned above. While the dealer confirmed the odors, they couldn’t find leaks and were unable to fix the problem. Perhaps the fuel line was loose. There is no indication of an outcome. Ironically, the complaint was filed on September 5, shortly before the recall was announced.
2022 Ford Explorer Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Back Over Prevention|
|Back Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings|
Problems with the Powertrain
There are several issues with the 2022 Explorer powertrain, including suspension defects.
An owner from Texas reports that the engine randomly disconnects from the transmission, and the vehicle starts idling. At the same time, it loses motive power while attempting to accelerate. The complaint states that this has happened on six separate occasions, lasting for about four minutes each time. During the failure, the message, “Brake Applied; Power Reduced” displays.
The local dealership replaced the brake sensors, but the failure continues to recur. At the time of the first failure, the SUV only had 1,200 miles on the clock.
In August 2022, an owner from Florida experienced a different problem with the SUV not going into reverse for 3-5 seconds. The complaint states that the “Car rolls forward for those 3-5 seconds, sometimes up to 20 feet depending on the slope.”
The suspension-related recall (see below) states that “a disconnected driveshaft can result in vehicle rollaway when the vehicle is placed in ‘Park’ without the parking brake applied.” So, clearly this was the problem.
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Powertrain & Suspension Defects
On April 19, 2022, a safety recall notice, 22S27, was issued by Ford Motor Company to all U.S. Ford and Lincoln dealers. The reason for the recall was “Rear Axle Bolt Fractures.” It warns that some affected vehicles have a rear axle mounting bolt that may fracture during vehicle acceleration. There is a fairly long explanation of what will happen. But, ultimately, “If the parking brake is not applied, the loss of the primary park torque will allow the vehicle to roll in park, increasing the risk of crash and injury.”
Ford warns dealers not to demonstrate or deliver any new vehicles they have in stock if they are involved in the safety recall.
On April 20, 2022, the Office of Defects Investigation Enforcement acknowledged Ford Motor Company’s notification of a safety recall of certain 2022 Ford Explorer models from 202 to 2022. The recall potentially affects as many as 252,936 Explorers.
NHTSA Campaign number 22V255000, also mentioned in the previous section, is titled Vehicle Rollaway from Driveshaft Disconnect. The remedy is for dealers to “replace the bushing and axle cover, or update the electronic parking brake software,” depending on the vehicle model.
The problem is that three months after the recall was announced, NHTSA complaints show that parts to do the repair weren’t available.
A complaint about the bolt issue emphasizes the seriousness of the issue. An owner from Virginia complained that Ford was offering “a software tweak to fix a very dangerous physical issue with all 20-22 Ford Explorers.” His argument was that this fixes “a software update that will reduce power to avoid acceleration which will put stress on the bolt. Ford decided to remove the second bolt from all the Explorers which subsequently will put stress on the one bolt they left intact. Ford needs to recall and put that bolt back on the subframe as the vehicle was originally designed to have.”
A complaint from an owner in Florida points out that the part required to do the driveshaft disconnect problem wasn’t available 3 months after receiving the recall notification.
Issues with the Vehicle Structure
There are 3 NHTSA complaints filed under the Structure category.
Ford isn’t immune to structure-related issues. It was only a few years back that models contained door latches that were faulty, causing false ‘door ajar’ warnings that caused plenty of panic, especially with children secured in the back. Thankfully, the warnings were a simple malfunction.
Yet another complaint reports that the rear liftgate randomly opens “when standing or walking near the rear, the rear left, or the rear right of the vehicle. In each situation, the key is on my person (pocket or purse) and the key fob is not being engaged in any manner.”
The owner of a 2022 Ford Explorer from California had a very nasty experience in his 2-month-old SUV. While driving at 25 mph on a city street, “the hood smashed into my front windshield. I have never opened the hood since purchasing the vehicle and the hood ajar light never lite up until after it smashed into my windshield.”
At the time of the complaint, Ford was reportedly “deferring responsibility.” The owner goes on to say: “Even if I wanted to open the hood, I would have to pull the open lever upwards six inches twice to open (which I never did). And even if I accidentally opened the hood, the door ajar light should have turned on, which it did not. This was very scary and I am very fortunate I did not run into another vehicle or object since it blocked all viability.”
Additionally, a complaint filed as Unknown or Other describes how 2022 Explorer moonroof spontaneously shattered while in a parking lot.
There is also a complaint filed under Visibility/Wiper that is also essentially a structural problem. An owner from Michigan states, “The windshield just cracked on its own, no rock hit it. I rolled down (the) side window to order food and when I rolled it up it spread all over and now leaking inside (the) windshield. Also, driving with side windows down, the windows vibrate.”
Your Lemon Law Legal Rights
We have no idea what percentage of 2022 Ford Explorers are ‘lemons’ but from complaints to the NHTSA it is clear that some are. If you think your Explorer might be a lemon, we will assess your problem and advise you free of charge.
All you need do is fill in our contact form or call our Helpline. Remember that every year, auto manufacturers like Ford replace, buy back, or pay out cash settlements for vehicles deemed to be lemons. Ultimately, the law makes them pay the legal fees when lawyers are involved.