really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,497 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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1998 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Sep 032013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 53,360 miles


Upon getting into my car the seat suddenly fell backwards, thank goodness I was not driving down the street I could have been injured or killed. The post that holds the drivers seat in the upright position broke. After checking on line for recalls I found that there is a problem with this and a recall had been issued but my VIN is not in the dealers data base so they will not make the repairs. I did not receive a recall letter and do not know what to do next.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #25

Jun 142008


  • 50,000 miles
About 3 years ago I started to notice the driver's side seat reclining and I couldn't reset it to the upright position. Through the years the recline got worst and I contacted Ford and advised them that this may be related to their recall # 03V281000. Ford responded by telling me that I already got serviced for this recall and that my vehicle has no outstanding recalls. I purchased another seat and recently had it installed. Upon inspection of the original seat my mechanic and I noticed a stress crack on the reclining bracket of the seat. My argument is that Ford's recall remedy didn't solve the problem because it is a defective reclining bracket that is causing this problem not the upper bolt they replaced. I have worked as an aircraft mechanic and know a stress crack when I see it. This is definitely a factory defect and should be investigated immediately. I had roughly a inch left before the back of the seat would snap and recline totally. Depending on the speed and terrain you are driving on this could be tragic. I have contacted Ford numerous times and in their last letter they indicated that they will not communicate with me anymore. I kept the original seat and can send you photos if you need them.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #24

Aug 182010


  • 190,000 miles
August 18th 2010 1:30 pm pearland tx. A Ford Explorer 4 doors get hit it in the back by other vehicle will is in stop position; about 40/50 miles P/H. the front panel get broke, the stereo flu to the front hitting the driver. And the air bag "do not open" driver could be injured on the face and at the arms. Also the driver seat is broke in the back

- Pasadena, TX, USA

problem #23

May 052009


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the front driver's seat reclines all the way back until it touches an object behind the seat. She could potentially lose control of the steering wheel or foot pedals due to this issue. His vehicle model year was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V281000 (seats:front assembly:recliner). The vehicle has not been properly repaired. The failure and current mileages were 100,000.

- First , TX, USA

problem #22

Jun 262008


  • 157,565 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer to have it repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V281000 (seats:front assembly:recliner), although no failures were occurring at the moment. The dealer refused to repair the issue after consulting with the manufacturer because the bolt failed. After being denied of the recall repair, the failures began to occur a week later. The driver's seat would recline backwards on its own. The issue occurred over ten times, but the dealer still refused to repair the vehicle. The contact spoke with the manufacturer and was informed that because she did not take the vehicle to the dealer in a timely fashion, the bolt sheared; therefore, they could not assist. The current mileage was approximately 170,000 and failure mileage was 157,565.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #21

Aug 182008


  • 85,002 miles
Driver side seat recliner lever broke off..now is safety issue, can't adjust seat back.. many angry people on the Ford truck "explorerforum.com" have same problem...should have been a recall...Ford sells a redesigned stronger part #xl2Z7862649aa..

- Mukilteo, WA, USA

problem #20

Dec 172003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 183,000 miles


On December 17,2003 the drivers side seat release on my 1998 Ford Explorer broke while I was trying to adjust the seat back. The steel that attaches the positioning lever to the mechanical part of the seat shirred off in a clean break and came off in my hand. My seat became stuck in a forward position while I was in the seat forcing me into a forward position. I had to drive in this position to the dealer where they used a large vice grip type wrench to release the seat back into a position so I could drive the car. At this time the seat is jammed in a static position while the remaining part of the steel is still in the reclining gear.

- Adrian, MO, USA

problem #19

Sep 122003

(reported on)


  • 78,000 miles
The driver side seat back recliner lever broke off without being used. Consumer feels that the recall defective component for the high back bolt 03 V 281 000, is the possible cause of the lever breaking because it's part of the same structure.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #18

Feb 282003

(reported on)

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The brake sensors were faulty, the driver seat bolt had broken and fell while driving, the driver door lock was defective, and the brake warning lights system was inoperative. Scc

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #17

Jul 272002


  • miles
On two separate occasions driver's seat has collapsed backwards while parking in reverse. Dealer notified. Feel free to provide any further information.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 172002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


When making turns, especially right turns, vehicle slides and almost turns over.. consumer states vehicle is experiencing acceleration problems, and there was a humming noise coming from the engine, signals are not working, dealer replaced a defective connector and multi-function switch, Firestone tires have experienced tread separation, which were replaced in July 2001, the rear seats move/bounce when driving, the rear seat belts were inoperative, the dealer replaced the buckles, there was smoke coming from the steering column, dealer replaced the multi-function switch, the windshield was chipped, the alarm would not chut off at times, dealer replaced a bad loose wire.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 062002


  • miles
While driving, the left side driver's seat retaining bolt (that holds the seat back to the base of the seat) sheared causing the seat back to fall backward into the rear seat. The driver fell back also causing him to run off the edge of the road. Local dealer has been notified and wishes to charge for a complete seat replacement.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #14

May 052001


  • miles
Vehicle was rear ended. Upon impact, driver's seat collapsed, resulting in minor injuries to passenger sitting in seat. Dealer has been notified.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Apr 072001


  • miles
This was second time that seat has reclined back while consumer has been driving. First time being at 26,400 miles. This time consumer was traveling at 55mph, and seat reclined straight back, and wouldn't go back into postion. Consumer called dealer, and they couldn't give any information without seeing vehicle.

- Layfette, IN, USA

problem #12

Jan 032001

(reported on)

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Drivers seat catches consumers clothing. Nlm

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 122000


  • miles
A 'bolt' failed in the driver seat, allowing the seat to fully recline without any method of stopping the recline. Fortunately, I was stopped when this happened. Since the part failed at two years and 48000 miles, this seems like a part that may fail on other vehicles. If the seat had reclined 3 minutes earlier or later, the outcome could have been tragic. The dealer charged $100 labor to change the $2 bolt.

- Cross Plains, TN, USA

problem #10

Sep 131999

(reported on)


  • miles
Design of the arm rest assembly is weak which resulted in collapsing under weight of consumer. Mjs

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #9

Jul 261999


  • miles
These defects happens just months after warranty was out live far from dealership but I tried to get it there as soon as I could being that it was my only source of transportation. I felt that capital Ford should of still honored these defects and try to at least offer to help me in anyway they could I feel that they didn"T care about it all they had to say to me that the warranty is out and it's going to cost a lot to have these defects fix they wouldn't even give a price all they said is it's going to be a couple of hundred of dollars. I was very dissapointed in their service and the way they handled this situation. If something isn't done, then I plan to return my SUV at the end of it's lease and go elsewhere to buy my next usv. I hope that you can resolve this problem I purchase several Ford in the past years and have never had any problems with them so I hope you will honor these defects. I look forward to hearing from this request thank you time. No safety defect (s) listed in summary.

- Benson, NC, USA

problem #8

May 271998


  • miles
Brother was checking underneath vehicle & noticed the under carriage was rusty. Contacted dealer & manufacturer & was informed it's normal due to heavy road salt that was used. Also, seat & anchor attachments were rusty. Vehicle sold as new due to low mileage, according to dealer.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #7

Feb 231999

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Power seat. Rocked back and forth and got worse. Dealer replaced. Seat started to get loose again and dealer replaced it again. Also seat belt was not retracting back in. Dealer replaced. Additional defect not noted was the 5 speed manual transmission having to be rebuilt at 22,868 miles. Would be glad to fill out additional form or provide service records etc. If needed. Thanks for your time. Keith

- San Andreas, CA, USA

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