really awful
Crashes / Fires:
22 / 24
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
33,801 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 engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #131

Jan 202009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. The contact heard a huge explosion coming from her driveway and noticed that the vehicle was engulfed in flames. The vehicle was destroyed. There were no warning signs prior to the failure. The contact called the fire department and they extinguished the fire. The cause of the failure was undetermined. A police report was filed. She called her insurance company and is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 143,000. Updated 03/17/09. Updated 03/17/09.

- House Springs, MO, USA

problem #130

Nov 022008


  • 157,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer to be repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 06V286000 (vehicle speed control). After the repair, the speed control no longer worked. A private mechanic also stated that the wiring inside the column, which connected to the air bag, was melted and caused the air bags to malfunction. The contact returned to the dealer with the report from the mechanic. The dealer denied the free repair request and stated that the repair would not be covered under the recall. The dealer also stated that to remedy the issue, the contact would have to pay $2,500 to replace the wiring, air bags, and the part used for the speed control repair. The manufacturer has not yet been notified. The current mileage was approximately 158,000 and failure mileage was approximately 157,000.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #129

Dec 022008


  • 107,800 miles
1998 Ford Explorer spontaneously caught fire in engine compartment 8am, 12/02/08. Car was previously driven 12 hours prior to incident. Engine was not running. Doors were locked. No signs of entry prior to incident. Fire engulfed engine and spread to passenger compartment before alameda fire department extinguished vehicle. Insurance company has claimed vehicle as totaled and is investigating. Suspected cause is cruise control shutoff switch, subject to Ford recall 05S28.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #128

Oct 132008


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While parked in the driveway, the vehicle caught fire without warning. A family member safely extinguished the fire. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The contact has a copy of the report from the fire department. The manufacturer stated that her vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V286000 (vehicle speed control); however, they would not assume financial responsibility because the component already failed. The contact stated that she never received a recall notice in the mail. As of October 14, 2008, she has not received a remedy for the failure. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Basville, NJ, USA

problem #127

Jun 172008


  • 159,000 miles
I had a 1998 2dr Ford Explorer that caught on fire for no reason at my job on June 17, 2008. It was a under the hood fire. I arrived at work at 8:26 a.M. a couple of minutes after 11:00 a.M. is when the building manager knocked on my door and told me the fire department was looking for me because my truck had caught on fire. The car ended up being a total loss. Everything on the inside was severely smoke damaged. My radio melted and I loss certain paper work that I had in my glove compartment. My heater cord was left on the ground along with some other wires after the tow truck towed my truck away. That's how burned up my truck was.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #126

Feb 072005


  • 149,382 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While parked at the contact's job, the vehicle began smoking and then caught fire under the hood. Everything under the hood was melted. The contact did not know if the vehicle was destroyed. When he called the dealer, he was informed that there was no safety recall pertaining to his VIN; therefore, he would be responsible for the repair costs. NHTSA campaign id number 00V422000 (vehicle speed control) was referenced. The correct incident date was unavailable. The current and failure mileages were 149,382.

- Chesterville, ME, USA

problem #125

Apr 162008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 153,000 miles


Fire in engine bay originating at the cruise control deactivation switch.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #124

Jan 042008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While parking his vehicle (2 mph), the vehicle surged forward and crashed into the wall of the parking structure while the brake was depressed. The contact stated that the vehicle would not stop until he shut off the engine. The current and failure mileages were 150,000. The purchase date was unavailable.

- Marina Del Ray, CA, USA

problem #123

Oct 302007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles
My wife's 1998 Ford Explorer XLT caught on fire while parked right in front of my kid's school, she drove for 1 mile from our house to the school to pick up my kid, luckily it didn't burn in the garage. The fire according to the fire department looks like it started around the brakes master cylinder under the hood directly in front of the driver and according to the burn marks on the hood looks like it was there where it burned the hottest, the whole engine compartment burned and luckily the fire dptm is real close so it didn't burn completely. Upon investigation on the internet I came to know about a safety recall for these vehicles involving the cruise control switch that is located by the brake master cylinder and that can result on fire, so I strongly believe that this incident is a consequence of this recall that I had no idea of. The vehicle is totaled and now we are struggling without our primary family vehicle, I'm just thankful that my family and my house are safe.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #122

Aug 272007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While driving 5 mph into the garage at the repair shop, the vehicle accelerated and crashed into a wall. The dealer stated that the throttle failed and referenced NHTSA campaign number 00V422000 (vehicle speed control). The current and failure mileages were 37,000.

- Cedarhurst, NY, USA

problem #121

Jun 182007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. The contact received recall notice # 06V286000 (vehicle speed control). She called the dealer to schedule an appointment for the repair and the dealer asked if any failures had occurred. The contact stated that the engine and ABS warning light indicators had illuminated. The dealer then stated that there would be a service charge of $100. When the dealer was told to only service the vehicle for the recall, they stated that the $100 service fee would still apply. The mileage information was unknown.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #120

Jun 102007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While driving in reverse with a trailer attached, the vehicle accelerated at full speed. The contact stated that there were recalls for this year, make, and model, however he was never contacted about the recall. The manufacturer offered to sale him another vehicle. The vehicle's entire rear end is damaged, the trailer is completely destroyed, and the boat that was parked in his yard now has a hole. The current and failure mileages were 110,000.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #119

Mar 292007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 105,736 miles
On March 29, 2007, my wife drove our 1998 Ford Explorer XLT to a doctors appointment at 9:00 a.M. and then to her work location. At 9:36 a.M., my wife parked the Explorer, turned the engine off and went into work. At 10:50 a.M, my wife was notified by an employee from another business that the Explorer was smoking. At that time, my wife noticed that the engine compartment started burning on the driver's side. The firefighters were summoned to the scene. Upon their arrival, my wife noticed that the entire engine compartment was on fire and there was a cloud of dark heavy smoke. The firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and confine the fire damage to the engine compartment. The interior compartment was saturated with smoke. The county fire marshall was contacted and advised us that similar spontaneous engine compartment fires in Ford trucks and SUVS have been linked to a defective cruise control deactivation switch and that Ford is currently recalling vehicles with those defective switches. The fire marshall indicated that this engine fire may have potentially been attributable to a defective or faulty cruise control deactivation switch. The firefighters documented the incident. Upon being apprised of the recall. We researched the issue and confirmed that Ford is conducting a recall of vehicles with defective and faulty cruise control switches and that the vehicles being recalled include the 1998 Ford Explorer. However, we have not received any notification of the recall from Ford Motor Company and/or its affiliated dealerships. We contacted Ford Motor Company customer relations to register a complaint and inform them of the engine fire. We also contacted our insurance company to file a claim. To clarify the questions following this narrative, the county sheriff's office was contacted they did not need to generate a report in light of the firefighters incident report. Additionally, the only property damage was to the vehicle itself.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #118

Feb 262007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Last night I pulled into my driveway after coming home from work, my family had dinner and I was sitting down in the living room to play with my 2 year old son. I heard a popping sound and asked my wife what was that noise, she looked out the window and yelled your car is on fire ! my car burned to the ground!!!

- Lantana, FL, USA

problem #117

Jun 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles
- the contact stated that after the 1998 Ford Explorer had been sitting for more than 30 minutes she proceeded to drive when the accelerator pedal felt stuck. Constant pressing on the gas pedal will release it, but in the process the vehicle lunges forward with great force. Updated 2/27/2007 -the vehicel was taken to the dealer who cleaned the throttle body. The problem has not returned.

- Centerville, VA, USA

problem #116

Dec 152006

(reported on)


  • miles
1998 Explorer caught on fire to a defect with the vehicle. The consumer received a recall regarding a possible problem with the speed control switch, which could cause a fire.

- Webster, NY, USA

problem #115

Oct 072006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,000 miles
: the contact stated while parked in a driveway, flames erupted from the under the front of the hood. There were no warning signals prior to the incident. The fire department was contacted and extinguished the fire. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer were notified, but the contact planned to do so after filing a complaint with the NHTSA. The contact noticed on the internet that there were NHTSA recalls #06V286000, #00V422000, and #99V062001 which pertained to the vehicle speed control. A recall letter was never received and pictures were available. The vehicle was deemed totaled.

- Fulton, MS, USA

problem #114

Sep 011901

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer is out of town and will respond to complaint concerning 1998 Explorer when she return. The consumer received a recall regarding the cruise control.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #113

Apr 192006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My car caught on fire while sitting in my driveway. It was not running and it had not been driven in over 3 hours.

- Paducah, KY, USA

problem #112

Nov 011999

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Proceeding slowly at idle speed with foot on brake. Auto suddenly accelerated spontaneously requiring much harder braking to stop. Happened two times within 10 minute span. Similar problem occurred about 3 years ago and was fixed by Ford dealer. No injuries occurred.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

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