2015 Ford Explorer Life Expectancy

With regular maintenance and good driving habits, the 2015 Ford Explorer can easily last over 200,000 miles—but it doesn’t come without problems.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by R.E. Fulton
With an average life expectancy of anywhere from 80,000 to 200,000 miles, the 2015 Ford Explorer is a trooper—but problems over two generations of the Explorer drive down the average life expectancy.
  • The 2015 Ford Explorer can last over 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance
  • When buying a used Ford Explorer, there are specific factors you’ll want to look at to extend its life expectancy
  • The fifth-generation Ford Explorer (2011-2016) is subject to more problems than the average Explorer, which may affect its lifetime performance

How many miles can a 2015 Ford Explorer last?

Although Ford has a solid reputation for building cars and trucks that last, specific model years of the Ford Explorer, primarily the 2002-2006 and 2012-2016 models, suffer from reliability issues.
The bottom line: the expected mileage on a 2015 Ford Explorer runs from a low 80,000 to a reasonable 200,000 miles. An average annual mileage of about 14,000 miles per year puts your Explorer’s life expectancy between six and 14 years on the road.

How long does a Ford Explorer engine last?

A vehicle’s performance is only as good as its driver, so if you’re not maintaining your car, you can’t expect it to last. That said, if you’re following a regular
car maintenance schedule
and driving modestly, your 2015 Ford Explorer could last you upwards of 200,000 miles.
A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine is standard on the 2015 Ford Explorer, but it also comes with the option of a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 365-hp 3.5-liter V-6 on the sport model, all of which are equally as reliable when maintained properly. Experts agree that following a maintenance schedule is vital if you want your Explorer to last. Skipping repairs might help you save money on car expenses, but it will only lead to system failures that are much more expensive to fix down the road, especially where the engine and transmission are concerned.
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Can a Ford Explorer last 500,000 miles?

Nothing says that your Explorer can’t make it to the 500,000-mile mark, but it’s extremely rare to see a vehicle last that long, even following the recommended maintenance schedule and practicing good driving habits. That said, the 2015 Ford Explorer gets a 75/100 for quality and reliability from J.D. Power. Even so it’s uncommon to see an Explorer make it to the 500,000-mile mark.

Average life expectancy for a Ford Explorer

The life expectancy of a Ford Explorer is heavily dependent on the driver, but in general, you can expect to get between 80,000 and 200,000 miles from your Explorer with proper maintenance and good driving habits. According to a study by iSeeCars, the Ford Explorer makes it into the 20th slot for the percentage of cars kept by their original owner for 15 or more years, with an average of 3.7%.
But while the 2015 Ford Explorer could make it to 15 years, what’s the likelihood it will? Let’s swap potential life expectancy for a realistic look at the average life expectancy of a 2015 Ford Explorer.
According to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, the average lifespan of a passenger vehicle in the U.S. is about 11 years—that’s around the middle ground for the prediction for the Explorer to hit 80,000 to 200,00 miles. Although Ford may not rank in the top five for the most reliable vehicle brands, the owner dramatically influences how long the Explorer will last.
So, the average life expectancy for a 2015 Ford Explorer depends on the following:
  • Regular maintenance: This is one of the most critical pieces when it comes to vehicle longevity, and the life of your Explorer directly depends on how well you maintain it. And if you want to maximize your Explorer’s road life, don’t skimp on maintenance—keeping up with regular
    oil and filter changes
    tire rotations
    , and inspections is essential. You can find your vehicle’s maintenance schedule by logging onto the Ford website and entering your VIN. 
  • Mileage: High-mileage driving puts a lot of
    wear and tear
    on your vehicle, and if you’re someone who drives more than the average 14,000 miles per year, your Explorer likely won’t last as long as someone who drives less.
  • Accident history: The Explorer has good reliability scores, but even still, accidents and repairs can interfere with the integrity and longevity of a vehicle. If not repaired properly or with high-quality parts, a single fender-bender can significantly increase wear and tear on your SUV.
Remember that if you’re considering purchasing a 2015 Ford Explorer, you’ll want to thoroughly check the vehicle’s history and mileage before you sign the dotted line. If it’s been well-maintained, hasn’t had any major repairs, and has relatively low mileage, you can expect your Explorer to stay on the road for at least a few more years with proper maintenance and care.
However, if the Explorer you’re looking at has high mileage and doesn’t have a
clean driving history
, be sure to have it thoroughly inspected before you commit to buying.

How to extend a 2015 Ford Explorer’s life expectancy

Whether you have an old Explorer or a brand-new one, the key to keeping it on the road is simple: keep up with regular maintenance. Staying on top of things like oil and filter changes, tire rotations, fluid changes, spark plug replacements, and the like is the easiest way to keep your Explorer running in tip-top shape (and save on more costly car expenses down the road).
If you head to the For website, you’ll find a recommended maintenance schedule for oil changes, transmission fluid and power steering fluid flushes, and brake services (including pads and rotors) that can help keep your Explorer on the road for years to come.

Common 2015 Ford Explorer problems to watch out for

When you buy a new car, it’s easy to expect it to cruise past 100,000 miles with no issues, but if you’re behind the wheel of a fifth-generation Explorer—any 2011 to 2016 model—that might not always be the case. Whether you own a 2015 Ford Explorer or are considering buying one, there are some major problems you’ll want to keep an eye out for:
  • Corrosion: One of the biggest problems for the 2015 Ford Explorer is corrosion in the rear suspension toe link which can lead to a fracture. If you live in an area that uses heavy salt on roads, it can kick-start and accelerate the problem—
    the ball joint corrodes
    , swells, and can cause a fractured toe link—and if it’s replaced, will it do the same thing? Ford issued a recall in several stages through 2021 that applied to more than a million vehicles. 
  • Power steering: Owners may experience difficulty steering and turning the wheel at various speeds. The problem comes on suddenly and results from an electronic failure in the
    power steering system
    . Repair costs typically run around $1,600. 
  • Popping noise while turning: The
    steering rack
    in the 2015 Ford Explorer has been known to fail at low mileage points. According to carcomplaints.com, drivers hear a popping noise while turning at low speeds, which gets progressively louder over time. Repair for this is relatively simple but not cheap—you’re looking at around $1,800. 
  • Foul odors from the engine: if you spell a bad smell in your cabin, it could be coming from your exhaust. Under heavy acceleration, smells coming from the exhaust recirculate into the cabin and could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Repair costs for the HVAC system range from $700 to $900.
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If you’re looking to maximize your vehicle’s time on the road, taking care of your vehicle with good driving habits and regular maintenance is key. But hitting the 300,000-mile mark is big—and just 0.03% of cars actually make it there! However, care for your Explorer properly, and it will take care of you in return.
Ford’s may not take the top slot for vehicles with the highest recorded mileage, but they can hold their own—just as Jeff from Indiana, whose 2003 Ford F-350 Lariat racked up more than 375,000 miles. But Jacob from Ohio’s 1997 Ford F-150 with the 4.6-liter V8 engine takes the top spot, with over 500,000 miles on the odometer, proving that if you care for your Ford, it can last well over 200,000 miles.
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