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Here Are The Ford Explorer Sport Trac Years To Avoid

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White Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Ford Explorer Sport Trac by Order_424 — CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a truck from the Ford brand that was only around for a brief time, beginning manufacturing in 2001 and ending in 2010. This pickup boasted four doors rather than the typical two of a truck. If you want this vehicle in a used model, you might wonder which Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid.

We’re here to help you out with your decision. There are some Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid and some that will serve you well on the road. The ideal model combines both safety features with inexpensive repairs to keep a driver happy and safe. We hope this helps you out with that process.

Ford Explorer Sport Trac Years to Avoid

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac was and still is a unique model that has stood the test of time. However, there are several Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid if you want to get the most out of your vehicle. 

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to stay away from include:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2007

These are some of the worst years for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

A few issues help make each of these years the worst for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. We’ll talk about these next, so you can get a better idea of what to expect with these faulty models.


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What Makes These Years Worth Avoiding?

There were a few distinct factors that made these years worth avoiding. We’ll talk about these specific complaints lodged within each category to give you a solid understanding of the issues with this vehicle.

According to CarComplaints.com, some of the top reasons that make these years worth avoiding include:

  • Engine issues
  • Transmission problems
  • Electrical troubles 

These were the most prominent issues that appeared with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac models we talked about earlier.

If you want an excellent used car, you want one that has reported minor issues over the years. Let’s talk about the reasons these are the Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid so you can make the best choice for your life.

Engine Troubles

Engine problems came to life most often with the 2001 model, 2005 model, and 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac model. Consumers found the average cost for the vehicle repairs involving the engine to be far above the overall cost of the used model.

Some of the specific engine problems include:

  • Broken timing chain adjusters
  • Constant check engine light on 
  • Chirping/rubber belt noise

These, and more, are what drivers faced with these models.

As most drivers know, issues with the engine can be dangerous and costly. Some models won’t give you as much trouble with their engines. If you don’t want to deal with extensive Ford Explorer Sport Trac engine failure, avoid these models to make the most out of your purchase.

Transmission Problems

Transmission failure is the secondary issue with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. The transmission is another expensive component to deal with in a car, especially if it’s prone to break down constantly while on the road. The 2007 model and 2002 model were most commonly reported to experience transmission troubles.

Some of the transmission failure issues included:

  • Difficult shifting
  • Transmission failure
  • Slipping transmission

A bad transmission is more than inconvenient. In extreme circumstances, it can ruin your day with expensive bills and a car that doesn’t work correctly.

Transmission troubles can be just as cumbersome and problematic as an engine prone to failure. Avoid the 2002 and 2007 models to steer clear of transmission issues.


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Electrical Troubles

We’ll discuss the last commonly reported issue is the Ford Explorer Sport Trac’s tendency to fall into electrical troubles. These aren’t as expensive as engine or transmission failures, but they can be an inconvenience to the fullest extent of the word. 

Some of the most common electrical troubles experienced by users included haywire gauges, inaccurate fuel gauges, and a car that dies while driving. These troubles were most prominent in the 2004 model of this car, making it one of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid. The 2004 model frequently sparked electrical issues.

Other Ford Explorer Sport Trac Problems

Here are a few potential problems with the Explorer Sport Trac that aren’t as severe or prevalent but are still worth knowing:

  • Head restraints were moving backward during a crash – Head restraints are designed to prevent your head from moving backward during a collision. Apparently, some owners had to find out the hard way that the head restraint can move backward due to being out of spec.
  • Faulty dash gauge cluster – 1st generation Sport Trac owners reported that their dash gauge cluster just turns on and off intermittently. This issue occurs when the key isn’t in the ON position and is due to a wiring issue.
  • Coolant leaks – Sport Tracs equipped with a 4.0-liter engine are prone to coolant leaks. Reports claimed that coolant leaked into the ground with a sweet smell in the air or moisture on some coolant components. The leak was traced to the thermostat housing in 2001-2005 models.
  • Blend door actuator failure – Owners reported hearing thumping and clunking noises from behind the dash. Plus, some reports claimed that their A/C stopped working correctly. This issue could be due to the cracking of the blend door housing. 

Which Years are Safe to Buy Used?

We’ve talked a lot about the Ford Explorer Sport Trac years to avoid. But what about the ones that are safe to use? It’s just as critical to know the best models as it is to know the worst. With this information, you can make a well-rounded choice by understanding all options available.

According to CarComplaints, some of the best years for the Ford Explorer Sport Trac include:

  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010

These years have been some of the best to date with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

The later you go with this model of vehicle, the better. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac experienced a redesign in 2007. Although better than the 2007 iteration, it still had some improvement to go. This betterment is evident in the 2008, 2009, and 2010 models. The more recently the Sport Trac was made, the better a vehicle you will get.


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Any vehicle is a substantial investment, so you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when you decide on a car. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is an excellent truck model from the Ford brand. There are plenty of used options available for interested buyers, and some of them are better than others in terms of quality.

We hope this information has been helpful! There are many options when investing in a used car. Narrowing down the year isn’t any easier. Although there will always be issues that arise with a vehicle, some are better than others. Now, you can use your newfound knowledge to narrow down the version of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac that works best for you.

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