really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,031 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.

2008 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #20

Sep 262016


  • 186,000 miles


While driving down the street my SUV completely shut off, steering wheel locked up and I couldn't steer it and the brakes locked up. The SUV stopped dead in it's tracks. I drive 95% on the highway and had this happened on the highway I wouldn't be here today to write this. Took it to a repair facility and had to pay $1200 to replace the PCM ( powertrain control module) or the brain to my SUV. This is what tells the truck to run basically. Terrified me to think I could have been killed.

- Collinsville, OK, USA

problem #19

Mar 012016


  • 77,000 miles
Transmission keeps trying to downshift, this was a problem a few years ago. Fredrick Ford in seaford Delaware had to reprogram the computer. Now it's starting to do the same thing again. I see where there are some recalls on later models, for the same problems.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #18

Oct 152014


  • 63,090 miles
Vehicle lurches in and out of gear. Vehicle lurches into reverse from park, and is delayed from park to drive. Vehicle feels like it has been bumped hard from behind as it is downshifting. In snow especially, this can cause a significant sdafety hazrd and risk of accident. These events occur when vehicle is staionary, and while in motion there is a significant delay in transmission engagement, which can cause a collison. Definite hazard when pulling out in traffic, when it does not respond normally. The fix for most units is expensive, requiring replacement of valve body in the transmission. My particular vehicle was 5 years old and had 63000 miles on it when the problem occurred. Ford refused to assist with this repair.

- Gansevoort, NY, USA

problem #17

May 262015


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. While driving at 35 mph, the vehicle jerked violently when shifted into gear and decelerated when shifted into drive. The engine warning light illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the shift solenoid needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred two months later. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 78,000.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #16

Dec 132014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Transmision problems going into gears slipping poping noise when put into park Ford is aware of problems with there transmisions and no care to help 1 bet they need the gov to step in now so help us Explorer owners.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #15

Feb 112012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Transmission starting shifting hard going into 2nd and 3rd. I've talked to a number of Ford Explorer owners. They all have experienced similar problems. Transmission have been replaced. All out of warranty. Googled Ford transmission problems and seems like Ford doesn't want to recognized that their 5 speed transmissions have a problem.

- Eastpointe, MI, USA

problem #14

Jun 232014


  • 86,000 miles


Upon driving during the month of may and June, I would notice a burning smell from the engine and the dashboard would demonstrate elevated engine temp, each time I would checked under the hood and I noticed that my coolant reservoir would be empty. After several weeks of this, I took it in to Firestone and I had to get the radiator housing, thermostat and hoses replace because of a bad leak. Now as of September, I started noticing that smell again and noticed my coolant reservoir was either low or empty again, I had to refilled it several times since the June 2014 repair, now after another vehicle check by Firestone is was noted that I need to have my radiator replace because I have a leak from the radiator now. I currently have about 87000 miles on my vehicle, this too soon to be replacing a radiator. For several months now also whenever I shift from park to drive or reverse to drive, it is hard to move the gear shift, when the gear shift is finally moved it the trick gives a pull force and then my transmission sounds like it is in overdrive or on 3, it takes up to 25 minutes for the transmission to click or shift over.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #13

Aug 182014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 110,200 miles
I was driving my Explorer down the road when once again the engine shut down. Leaving me with out power steering or power brakes. This is my 2nd time reporting this to NHTSA. This problem of shutting down while driving has happened to me many times before mostly on busy highways. I have had the Explorer to the dealer 3 times the first 2 times they said the can not find the problem. On the third time I asked to speak with the service manager, and he finally admitted that it is the powertrain control module. He also said that my Explorer is not the only one with this problem, and that the part is in such hi demand that the are backorder for months. I asked if Ford was planning a recall and his answer was "no the part is very pricey and no one has been killed yet" NHTSA please look into this matter, something needs to be done before someone is injured or killed by this problem that Ford knows about, but will not do anything to fix it.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #12

Apr 012014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
4/1- a couple days before 4/1, the check engine light came on. On 4/1, I was driving the car on a side street and it shut off on me, without warning. I got it towed to a dealer near by and was told it was a faulty alternator. Dealer changed it... 4/10 - the wrench and the check engine lights came on the dashboard. I took it back to the dealer to have it checked. The dealer was very passive of the situation - but ultimately, he said they were old codes that needed to be cleared from the computer. He cleared them and all was suppose to be well. 4/17 - my husband and I were out running errands, when again the wrench and the check engine light came on at the same time. Moments later, the car shut off on us while we were driving in the middle on the street. Luckily we were able to get it out of the middle of the road. We called the dealer and arranged to have them check it out. We managed to get the car started and drove it to the dealer. 4/24 - the dealer told us that the PCM was busted - and that alot of 2008 Explorer were having this issue. Unfortunately, Ford did not have the part available anywhere and we would have to wait until August 2014 in order to get the part fixed. Right now, our car is sitting at the dealer - not working. Ford has done nothing to compensate or to alleviate the mental and financial stress of not having car has done.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #11

Dec 262013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 39,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while starting the vehicle a warning indicator illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who noticed a small amount of transmission fluid leaking. In addition, the steering wheel seized intermittently while driving or upon starting the vehicle and then resumed normally. The dealer informed the contact that the steering malfunction was contributed to the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 07V453000 (power train). The VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 39,500.pdated 06/10/14 updated 06/17/2014

- Hillside , NJ, USA

problem #10

Jan 182014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 102,350 miles


I was driving the vehicle on the highway when, a wrench icon appeared in the instrument cluster, and the engine immediately lost all power, I was able to pull over to the shoulder. I then put the vehicle into park and started it without a problem, and was able to drive without a problem no warning lights were on. This happened again about 3 weeks later, was driving about 45mph this time a wrench did not appear when the engine lost power, I again was able to pull over to the shoulder and was able to restart the vehicle, this time the check engine light came on. I am bringing the vehicle to the Ford service center for diagnostic testing.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #9

Oct 252013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Transmission shifts into neutral as 40 mph and will not accelerate further. RPM will max out until vehicle is slowed to lower gear. Unacceptable on freeways at high speeds. Dealer claims transmission needs to be rebuilt at 44,000 miles at my own expense. This is a known problem according to service reps at the dealer but no recall has been issued.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 122013


  • 82,649 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and the mechanic stated that the transmission had to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 82,649.

- Gloversville, NY, USA

problem #7

Jun 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 164,000 miles
My 2008 Ford Explorer transmission started lurching when shifting gears while driving. Also when I would put the car in reverse it would hesitate and roll back a few seconds and then "slam" into reverse. I expected to see my transmission laying on the ground. I have also had a 2005 Ford Explorer and it did the same thing. This is my only car and I am very disappointed with Ford. My last Explorer also had to have all four wheel bearings replaced under 75,000 miles and my 2008 had to have two replaced before it was 2 yrs old. This is crazy! too expensive to have these things happen so frequently!! will not be buying another Ford.

- Plymouth, NC, USA

problem #6

Jan 012013


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the 4X4 system activated without warning and caused the vehicle to lose acceleration power. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who advised the contact that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 63,283. The VIN was not available.

- Hamden , CT, USA

problem #5

Jul 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Visors fell apart and mirror fell out. Transmission clunks into reverse and skips gears when shifting.

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #4

Apr 172013


  • 135,000 miles
My vehicle, a 2008 Ford Explorer with a 4.6L 3V V8 engine, went into vehicle safe mode while in rush hour traffic on a major interstate (I-83). The vehicle was experiencing periodic misfire, which triggered a loss of communication with the transmission computer module (tcm). The vehicle engine began shuddering, all the dashboard lights lit up with a warning to service vehicle immediately and vehicle speed would not exceed 20mph. I was in heavy stop & go traffic in the passing lane at time of incident. I shut down the vehicle & attempted to troubleshoot the problem with a code reader. I received two codes, misfire on cyl 8 and loss of comm with tcm. I pulled the tcm fuse to reset the tcm and continued on my way without further incident. I immediately replaced all the cop's & then took the vehicle to a Ford dealership to have the sparkplugs replaced. I was aware of the issue with this particular model Ford engine and the 2-piece sparkplug/cylinder head issue and suspected the plugs to be the culprit. I paid the Ford dealership $420 to replace the eight sparkplugs in my vehicle. Only two plugs broke during the extraction and the cylinder head did not have to be removed. Ford is well aware of this issue as they replaced the poorly designed 3V engine midyear. They also produced a 13-page tsb, special extraction tool to replace sparkplugs. Ford refuses to acknowledge a design flaw & instead blames mechanic error for broken plugs. Ford mechanics broke two of my plugs, yet I still had to pay for their error! the vehicle runs like new again but will be put up for sale shortly. This was my first and last Ford as I'm very disappointed with Ford's response to this obviously poor design flaw. Most importantly, contrary to Ford's lame response, it is a safety issue when your vehicle suddenly goes into emergence safe mode on a 65mph interstate!

- Etters, PA, USA

problem #3

May 062012


  • 33,333 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked and shut off in a residential garage. The vehicle rolled away and the contact discovered that the vehicle had crashed into another vehicle in the driveway. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and the current mileage was 33,333.

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #2

Mar 232012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 89,500 miles
Transmission failure left me stranded in oncoming traffic with kids in the car. Won't stay in reverse and slips severely in low gear forward. Repair shop told me the fix was new transmission for $3000 or rebuild current transmission for $2000. I was told the bands were worn which has been a problem for Explorer for many years. I take good care of vehicle and do not drive it hard. Only four years old and fewer than 90,000 miles points to a design/manufacturing flaw.

- Madison, ME, USA

problem #1

Jun 032011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
When shifting into reverse from park, or any other gears, the shift is extremely delayed. It appears to be "hitting hard." It even lurches backwards about 2 feet while this happens. Which, if parked around other people this poses as an extreme danger, as I could accidentally hit the other car (and have to pay) or I could hit someone that looks like they are standing far enough away that it shouldn't be a problem; while I don't intend to put my car in reverse when someone is behind it ever in the first place but someone could be running behind it... regardless... it's a danger. I've heard about further problems that have occurred with cars showing these symptoms as well.. like shifting out of park into a gear and rolling backwards"! how does Ford not see this as a problem"

- Fort Hood, TX, USA

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