really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,699 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.

2013 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

May 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100 miles


The vehicle has always had a issue with the cabin filling with exhaust fumes when under heavy acceleration. Merging onto a highway etc with the engine above 3500 RPM's will fill the cabin with a burning exhaust smell. This has been highly exposed on the Explorer forums online. Many users are experiencing it, the tsb for has for the smell does not work. If I ride in the car too long in heavy highway traffic where I am accelerating and decelerating a lot it makes me and my family sick from the smell.

- Blaine , MN, USA

problem #22

Feb 282014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
During stop and go conditions the vehicle exhaust fumes with enter the cabin of the vehicle and being to make the occupants feel ill. Brought this issue to a Ford service dealer, which confirmed this was exhaust fumes entering the vehicle. There has not been a solution from the manufacturer yet.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #21

Sep 012013


  • miles
I have a 2013 Ford Explorer Sport with approximately 8500 miles. The interior cabin often fills with exhaust fumes. Many occurrence over several months whether ac running with fresh or recirculating air. I called the dealer and they were unaware of any issues with this problem. Of course I will take the vehicle to dealer but based on other complaints, I have reviewed I don't expect much will be done unless Ford Motor Co takes a deeper look to resolve the problem.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #20

Jun 132014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,000 miles


There is a foul smell in the vehicle, maybe burning plastic on the vehicle or exhaust. The fumes gets inside the vehicle that can make it unbearable when you have the ac on. You can not stay in the car. The ac has to be turn off and all windows open in order to continue driving. I brought the vehicle back to the dealership for service, last year. The service representative informed me that it was a plastic bag that got stuck in the exhaust. Once its burned off the smell will be gone. However. It does not seem to be the case. The foul smell is getting worse that its unbearable to stay in the vehicle with the ac on.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #19

May 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,800 miles
The first thing I noticed was that the car felt like it was sputtering and running roughly. When I came to a stop light, it ran really rough and just died. It started back up and I was able to drive it home. Not knowing if the problem was just a fluke or not, I drove it the next day. After having gone about 8 miles, it did the same thing again. The engine runs rough and then just dies. It also happened to my husband as he left our neighborhood. It started to die on him but he put it in neutral and gave it gas. He took it to the local Lincoln Mercury (bayway) on gulf freeway in houston, tx. They kept it for almost 3 days, could not find anything wrong and one of the service managers drove it the last day and it never happened to him so problem was not found. Today as I was traveling down the gulf freeway (I-45) service road I slowed down for a light, the car sputtered and died while sitting at the light. The car was hard to start up and I was able to get it going and trying to drive it to mcree Ford where I bought it last summer. It stalled and I had to have it towed to dealership. Last week when I was driving around in it, the whole A/C system turned off and it started blowing hot air. All the A/C lights had gone out. Don't know if that was part of a problem or not.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #18

Apr 192014

Explorer 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2013 Ford Explorer ecoboost. Today (April 19, 2014), I was on highway 280 South heading towards san jose and my car decelerated twice. 1. the first time I noticed the deceleration, I pulled over to the shoulder and turned the ignition off. I did not see any warning lights on the dashboard and the fuel indicator was normal, meaning it was above the reserve line. I started the ignition, left the gear lever in neutral and pressed the accelerator pedal for a few seconds, it seemed normal. I moved onto the highway and resumed driving. 2. after about 2 miles, the car decelerated again, this time, I was afraid it might stall and pulled over to the shoulder. Again, I did not see any warning lights on the dashboard and the fuel indicator was normal, meaning it was above the reserve line. I started the ignition, left the gear lever in neutral and pressed the accelerator pedal for a few seconds, it seemed normal. I moved onto the highway and resumed driving. After about 1 mile, the fuel indicator popped up the message that the car reached reserve stage. Then the car worked fine for the next 4 miles. This is a serious technical issue. If the car decelerates suddenly without warning, it can cause issues for drivers.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


Exhaust enters the vehicle cabin any time the engine is operated at higher rpms, such as climbing a long hill or traveling at highway speeds and passing other traffic. The problem appears to have been present since purchasing the vehicle (new), but we initially thought the odor was coming from surrounding vehicles. We shortly discovered that the exhaust odor occurred without the presence of any other traffic. The vehicle was taken to the Ford dealer who contacted Ford engineering for a fix. The "fix" didn't help. I contacted Ford customer service and established a "case" in August, 2013, and was promised the problem would be taken care of. Ford told us to operate the ventilation system in the recirculation mode until the problem was solved. This only amplified the odor because the exhaust still entered but was then trapped in the cabin. At Ford's direction the car was taken back to the dealer where it sat for 3 weeks but was not touched. The dealer then called and asked us to come get the car because they didn't know how to fix it. Since then, despite my continuing efforts, I have been repeatedly stalled and told "we're working on it". the odor is present year round but seems to be stronger in warmer weather.

- Leslie, AR, USA

problem #16

Mar 082014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 3,491 miles
While waiting in line at the local car wash the engine in my 2013 Ford Explorer Sport began to rev up, then lost power and began to shake violently before the engine stalled completely. No warning lights were illuminated and no visible indications or warnings were displayed to give any indication as to what the problem might be. Several attempts to restart the engine failed and I had to push the vehicle out of line and into an adjacent parking lot. When I tried to restart the vehicle once tow truck arrived to tow the vehicle back to the Ford dealership where I purchased the truck it started up as if nothing had happened.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #15

Aug 132013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,513 miles
When I accelerate fast, the exhaust enters the vehicle from the ac unit. My car was in 3 times before the prescribed technical service bulletin (12-12-4) was performed, which by the way does not fix the issue. Cant even imagine hooking up our boat to this vehicle as it will probably kill us with carbon monoxide poisoning. My 10 year old son has had bronchitis 4 times since we have had this vehicle.. hmmm possibly related!! it is only a matter of time before a child that is strapped into his seat dies of C.M. poisoning! the smell is extremely worse in the back seat, nevermind sitting in the 3rd row! you would probably die a silent death rather quickly!! and the worst part of all... Ford's CEO [xxx] and Ford as a whole is very aware of this issue. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,200 miles
When accelerating, with engine rpms rising above 3500 RPM exhaust fumes begin to enter the cabin through the ac ducts. Odor is present regardless of ventilation mode (recirculation or fresh-air). All attempts at repair, including official tsb bulletin published by the Ford Motor Company (tsb 12-12-4) and inspection by field service engineer, by Ford dealership service center personnel have failed. Here is a part of a response from Ford to my service technician on 10/10/2013 this concern is currently under investigation. When a resolution is available, the dealer will be notified with a tsb, ssm, fsa, or broadcast message." I think this problem exists in every Ford Explorer manufactured since 2011 to present but consumers either don┐┐T know it is happening or they don┐┐T know to take it to Ford. Others with the same complaint on this website: 2011-10545178, 10537052, 10485394, 2012- 10466807, 10458341, 2013 - 10548667, 10547404, 10545106, 10534074, 10531802, 10522939, 10511749, 10503135, 10497684, 10493493, 10472937, 2014 ┐┐ 10536610 (so far). One case (10521718) even had to be taken to the hospital because of the carbon monoxide. Page 206 of my owners manual states ┐┐warning: If you smell exhaust fumes inside your vehicle, have this checked immediately. Do not drive your vehicle if you smell exhaust fumes. Carbon monoxide is present in exhaust fumes. Take precautions to avoid its dangerous effects.┐Ł Ford won┐┐T do the right thing and buy this vehicle back from me and because I bought the car certified preowned from Ford, when it was only 6 months old and 16000 miles, I can┐┐T lemon law the vehicle in fl. I have a dead vehicle that I can't drive because I won't risk mine or my family's health, so I'm at my wits end.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #13

Jun 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65 miles


Under heavy acceleration exhaust fumes enter the cabin. This is well documented on the Ford Explorer forums. www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?T=323597. A recall is needed or they need to buy these back!

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #12

Jun 112012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
When accelerating, with engine rpms rising above ~3500 RPM, a noxious sulfur-like odor is admitted into the passenger cabin through the climate control vents. The odor occurs during acceleration or whenever engine speed exceeds 3500 RPM, as when on a steep incline. Odor is present regardless of ventilation mode (recirculation or fresh-air), and type of fuel used (octane ratings from 85 up to 91), or where fuel was purchased (including seven different states in multiple cities). All attempts at repair, including official tsb bulletin published by the Ford Motor Company (tsb 12-12-4), by Ford dealership service center personnel have failed.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #11

Jun 162013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 1,800 miles
I was driving on a two lane road with a speed limit of 55mph. I was behind a slow moving vehicle and wanted to pass it. There was another vehicle approaching in the oncoming lane and I thought I had enough distance to pass. As I turned into the oncoming lane and began to accelerate to pass this vehicle, I heard a strange noise like a "poof" and my vehicle lost power and slowed. Fortunately, there was enough distance between me and the oncoming vehicle and the oncoming vehicle had a wide shoulder. After that, I noticed the vehicle seemed to have less power on acceleration. About two months later it started leaking oil on the left front side. It is a sport model.

- Forest Knolls, CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 032012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that after starting the vehicle, there was a burning smell emerging from the vehicle on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis but they were unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 10. Updted 09/30/13

- Lake Clacid, FL, USA

problem #9

Jul 192013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,500 miles
On a night with light rain, after traveling 1.5 hrs with cruise control on, I pulled off interstate exit to make a phone call. I did not turn engine off. After call I proceeded to get back on interstate, while merging back onto interstate I accelerated hard to attain merging speed, when I merged safely in front of semi the engine shook violently and lost power. To avoid being hit, I jerked vehicle into emergency lane. The check engine light was flashing and the car placed in limp mode. I turned the vehicle completely of and restarted the engine and every thing appeared to have returned to normal. I later read that night that the F150 with same engine was having similar problems. I took the vehicle to Ford the following Monday. The service advisor informed me that Ford has been having the same problem with my engine that is in the Ford F150 in humid areas. He stated that large amounts of condensation forms in the intercooler when driving for long periods without utilizing turbo, then next time you accelerate hard the turbos suck all the condensation into the engine causing a misfire and puts engine into limp mode. After a week of them contacting Ford engineers and running test, they told me they cannot repeat problem and the engine did not store any codes in the ECM from the problem. Ford also told the dealer that I'm the only person with a 2013 Explorer with the 3.5 ecoboost engine that has ever reported problem. Since then I have read about two lawsuits which have been filed against Ford involving the ecoboost engine and included the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport. Apparently this statement is not true. This is a very serious safety issue for me and my family. The Ford company is apparently denying the issue exist, leaving me to drive a vehicle that can potentially put my family others with the same vehicle in harms way. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- St. Johns, FL, USA

problem #8

Jul 092013


  • 9,200 miles
I started driving and engine started revving up, took foot out of gas pedal an vehicle continued revving up to 3,000 RPM in slow speed. Change transmission to "N" and vehicle continued at 3,000 RPM. Changed back to "D" and did not changed, once again change to "N" and back to drive and RPM came down.

- Carolina, PR, USA

problem #7

Dec 262012


  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when driving at various speeds, contact in the vehicle would become dizzy and nauseous for unknown reasons. One passenger became violently ill and was transported to the emergency room for treatment. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the seals would need to be replaced because the exhaust fumes were leaking into the air conditioning unit. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 7,500.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #6

Jun 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
Taking a trip in my 2013 Ford Explorer Sport (Texas to Florida) with the 3.5 turbocharged engine in raining conditions and vehicle began to shake violently, shudder and stall when I attempted to accelerate. Would not drive properly, check engine light came on and vehicle had to coast off highway and stay in hotel until dealership opened next day. Loss of time and very dangerous.

- Crosby, TX, USA

problem #5

May 092013


  • 399 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the intake hose from the turbo charger had become disconnected. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 399.

- Wantagh, NY, USA

problem #4

Mar 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 600 miles
I drove my recently acquired and new Ford Explorer Sport for first time on the highway on March 4, 2013. When accelerating to pass a truck, I lost control of front end to point of swirling and near collision with the truck. I don't consider this a fluke as same happened a while later during same highway trip. I'm very familiar with high horsepower passenger vehicles and sports cars for that matter. I am also very familiar with higher and allowable speeds having driven and handled sport cars and passenger vehicles on german autobahns while living in europe. It is my experience and belief that the combination of characteristics (weight balancing in combination with significant horsepower, possibly large tire size, traction and four wheel/front wheel drive aspects, thrust etc.) make this vehicle, the Ford Explorer Sport, extremely dangerous on highway while accelerating at allowable speeds. A local dealerships' expert (read: Dealer is an independent contractor) in Indiana confirmed my observations and beliefs and used term "squirlyness" to describe vehicles' handling when accelerating at highway speeds. Ford indicates that vehicle operates as designed, I content the design is bad, causing this Ford Explorer Sport version to be very dangerous. In my mind it is entirely foreseeable that accidents will happen to unsuspecting drivers of this vehicle based on the vehicle characteristics. Obviously this is something that will not be admitted to by Ford due to pre-emptive liability assumption in case of accidents. I offered Ford to take this new vehicle back. Once again I understand that they would not as this would imply admittance of safety concerns regarding the Ford Explorer Sport version.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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