hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,106 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2008 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2008 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #14

Nov 242015


  • 128,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. While driving 45 mph, an abnormal noise was heard from the engine and the radiator warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the thermostat housing failing and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 128,000. The VIN was not available.

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #13

Oct 192015


  • 80,000 miles
I smelled a strong odor of coolant while driving my vehicle during my work day. Suddenly, steam came pouring out of the engine compartment, and I stopped and let the vehicle cool off. Upon inspection, I found that the seam on the plastic thermostat housing had split, pouring coolant all over the center of the engine. Parts needing to be replaced were the thermostat, rubber gaskets and the entire thermostat housing, upper and lower. I replaced this part myself, as I used to be a Ford mechanic. I did this repair myself, and it cost approximately $200 with the coolant replacement cost. Again, this can create a hazardous condition, and should not be happening on a car with 80K and only 7 years old.

- Gansevoort, NY, USA

problem #12

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 #11

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 #10

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 #9

Jun 102014


  • miles
TL * the contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN and failure mileage were unavailable.

- Tujunga, CA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Feb 022014


  • 72,000 miles
While driving, the driver power seat starts to move backwards and forward, dome lights came on like if when I turn off the car. But the car is on and moving. And then two occasions while on the freeway driving the vehicle turned off. Pulled over and restarted the car and it turned on like if nothing happened. I had taken the vehicle to the dealer several times they have run diagnostic test and are not able to find any thing wrong.done some research on line and found more people with same issue. Extremely dangerous!!! do not feel safe driving especially in traffic. Its an accident waiting to happen.

- Paramount, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 112014


  • 72,931 miles
The car was traveling at 30 mph from store to school in midday two miles, started ticking and got louder as traveling back home(2 mile). At home popped hood, listened for noise, engine idling smoothly, but ticking or rather hitting noise from top of valve cover, drivers side front, was very prevalent. Turned off car and pulled chain tensioner out and looked inside with snake camera and saw broken plastic parts all around timing chain area.I searched online and found this has been happening from 1997 to current. Plastic, vinyl parts in the motor repeatedly shattering for years, costing consumers thousands in repairs.these V-6 and V-8 Ford motors are flawed because of these weak parts. This is a engineering bomb, and when you least expect it, the timing chain goes bad at 72931.5K. That should not happen. The motor has to be pulled to change the four chain cassettes, or single cassette, because vinyl parts are in the pan and in the oil galleys. 18-19 hours on book the repairs are expensive, unreasonable, and a cover-up. Ford could change the part, but chooses not to. An addition 3000$ to the cost of ownership is not acceptable in the first five years. That's what the N.H.T.S.a. is to be observing. The car is inoperable, for fear of having the valves contact the piston, and end up with metal in the bottom of the oil pan. Someone is responsible for the decision to make these parts out the inferior media. P.S. regular oil changes are documented.

- Westmont, IL, USA

problem #5

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 #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

Jan 252012


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2007 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the bolts that connected the exhaust manifold to the engine became fractured at the connection point. As a result, the exhaust was causing a leak onto the wheel base. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was advised that the exhaust manifold needed to be re-bolted back onto the engine. The contact did not have the exhaust manifold re-bolted. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Rockledge, FL, USA

problem #2

Jun 222012


  • 45,000 miles
Manifold bolt failure, causing exhaust gases to escape from the exhaust manifold. Many other owners complain of this on online forums.

- Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #1

Sep 282012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 65 mph, a chime sounded inside of the vehicle and the radiator warning indicator began to illuminate on the instrument panel. The contact maneuvered to the side of the road and noticed the coolant reservoir was empty. The contact dispensed water into the reservoir which leaked onto the ground continuously. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who stated the thermostat had failed which caused the coolant to drain from the radiator. The technician also informed the contact that the engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 78,000. Updated 11/28/12

- Opelousas, LA, USA

Not what you are looking for?