Ford Explorer Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Useful Guide)

The Ford Explorer is America’s all-time best-selling SUV.

It’s well-rounded and fairly practical, boasting three rows of seating and plentiful room for hauling cargo.

In this article we’ll give you the full breakdown of maintenance, tune-up and running costs.

Here is the short answer to are Ford Explorer expensive to maintain:

The Ford Explorer has above-average maintenance costs. It would cost you around $732 to maintain a Ford Explorer every year, which is notably higher than the average of $573 annually for midsize SUVs. A tune-up will be around $401, including the replacement of spark plugs.

Are Ford Explorers Expensive to Maintain?

The Ford Explorer might not be the cheapest SUV when it comes to maintenance costs but it does still have a lot going for it.

When looking to buy a new vehicle it’s important to assess maintenance costs to ensure you’re able to properly look after it.

Failing to stay on top of routine servicing and repairs will lead to poor reliability and shorten the lifespan of your SUV.

Below you’ll find a complete price breakdown for some of the most common costs for the Ford Explorer, all data is from RepairPal:

Ford Explorer MaintenanceCost
Average annual repairs and maintenance$732
Tune-up cost $351 – $450
Alternator replacement $425 – $503
Oil change$128 – $142
Wiper blade replacement$71 – $79
Air filter replacement$44 – $57
Battery replacement$170 – $178
New brakes$163 – $210
Coolant change$130 – $164
New tires (set of 4)$600 – $1,400
New tire (one only)$150 – $350
New spark plugs$158 – $189
Tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance$79 – $100
New transmission$1800 – $3500
Tune-up$351 – $450
Insurance$1472 / year (average)

How Much is a Tune-Up on a Ford Explorer?

This will differ greatly depending on where you take your Explorer and you’ll likely have to pay more at a Ford dealership than your local independent mechanic.

You can expect to pay in the region of $351 – $450 for a fairly comprehensive Ford Explorer tune-up that includes, but is not limited to:

  • New spark plugs
  • A thorough inspection of engine components
  • Filters changed
  • Coolant flush
  • Cleaning IAC valve (idle air control)
  • Throttle body clean
  • Transmission and differential fluid change

Whilst your Explorer is under warranty it is advised to have it serviced at a registered Ford dealership.

Regular tune-ups are highly recommended because:

  • They can bring more power back to your engine.
  • Helps your engine run efficiently and start smoothly, which equates to lower emissions and better fuel economy.
  • Ensures long-term engine health and performance

Alternator Replacement Cost?

A new alternator on a Ford Explorer will set you back between $525 – $629 for a replacement which should last around 80,000 to 150,000 miles or 5 – 10 years

Labor costs are around $113 while parts are priced between $425 and $503.

While the battery is used for starting your SUV when the engines off, the alternator keeps your SUV alive when the engine is running. 

The alternator powers most electronic components while you’re driving around or idling and is also responsible for charging the battery of your SUV while driving.

You may also be interested in our article: Ford Explorer Beeping Problems? (4 Causes & Solutions)

Oil Change Cost?

The cost of an oil change should cost in the region of $128 to $142, this includes parts and labor, however does not include taxes and fees. An oil change is one of the most meaningful and vital services for your SUV.

An oil change should be performed on the Ford Explorer every 3,000 – 5,000 miles for conventional oil. 

Synthetic oil typically should be changed every 7,500 – 10,000 miles.

At most, oil change intervals should not exceed 10,000 miles, twelve months, or 350 hours of engine run time (whichever comes first)

Wiper Blade Replacement Cost?

Wiper blades for the Ford Explorer can be picked up for around $40, and installed by yourself for free. 

However, if you want a professional to fit them for you then you can expect to pay in the region of $71 to $79 for parts and labor with taxes and fees on top.

This is a relatively simple and quick fix, and you can easily save yourself a few bucks by buying your own wiper blades and installing them yourself, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on this. 

Most Ford Explorers use a 26″ wiper blade on the driver side and a 22″ on the passenger side, the rear is typically 11″ but you should always double-check first.

Air Filter Replacement Cost?

According to RepairPal, air filter replacement cost on a Ford Explorer is between $44 to $57, not including taxes and fees.

The good news is this task, which should be performed annually or whenever the filter is clogged or dirty, is another fairly straightforward DIY.

Simply open the hood, locate and open the air filter’s housing, remove the old one, insert the new one and replace the housing cover. 

This will help both your car and your bank account breathe a little easier, lots of tutorials on YouTube for this one also. 

Battery Replacement Cost?

According to RepairPal, the cost of a battery replacement for a Ford Explorer 1500 should cost between $170 and $178.

Whilst there are no specific mileage recommendations for when a battery needs to be replaced, they do eventually die.

In general, it’s a good idea to replace your battery once every 4-5 years.

  1. Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your SUV can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
  2. Limit short rides: Short rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
  3. Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.

A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.

New Brakes Cost?

The average cost to replace your Ford Explorer brake pads, according to RepairPal, is between $163 and $210.

Ford Explorer brake pads can last between 20,000 to 25,000 miles in very severe use (such as heavy-traffic urban areas) and 40,000 to 60,000 miles in average use. 

Brake pads will wear out at different rates depending on factors such as climate and your style of driving.

Pro tip: To prolong the life of your brakes – Keep your speed low in heavy traffic and avoid any sudden braking.

Cost to Change Coolant?

If it’s just a top-up your SUV requires then this is a simple task you can perform yourself. 

You can pick up coolant at any gas station for a few bucks and top up to the level required.

If on the other hand, you require a coolant change, which simply involves draining the coolant from the base of the radiator and then replenishing with fresh fluids, this is going to cost you a bit more.

According to RepairPal, the average cost of a Ford Explorer coolant change is between $130 and $164 (excluding taxes and fees).

You may also be interested in our article: Ford Flex Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

How Much Does a New Transmissions Cost?

The average cost for an aftermarket or rebuilt transmission for a Ford Explorer is anywhere from $1800 – $3500. This range may vary depending on the model year.

Transmissions on the Ford Explorer typically last 10 – 14 years or around 150,000 to 200,000 miles, depending on how well they are maintained and how the SUV is driven.

Tire & Wheel Assembly, Rotate & Balance Cost

According to RepairPal, the average cost for a Ford Explorer tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance is between $79 and $100 – this does not include taxes and fees.

Tire rotation ensures each tire gets worn evenly whilst balancing ensures they roll smoothly and there’s no vibration (this also helps improve your fuel economy).

How much Insurance Cost?

According to, the average cost of Ford Explorer insurance is $123 / month or $1472 / year (that is roughly $25 below the national average for midsize SUVs).

These figures can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as your age, driving record and state requirements etc. 

It’s always best to shop around and get at least 3 quotes, make sure the company you choose is reputable.

Ford Explorer Repair Costs Compared to Similar SUVs

In this section we’ll compare the maintenance costs of the Ford Explorer to some of its biggest rivals, using data from RepairPal.

Ford Explorer Vs Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is comfortable, stylish and offers plenty of standard features.

The Ford Explorer is more expensive to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $732 Vs the Toyota Highlander’s $489.

Ford ExplorerToyota Highlander 
Reliability rating3.5/5.04.0/5.0 
Repair Pal ranking19th / 267th / 26 
Visits to a repair shop per year0.20.3 
Probability of a repair being severe15%13% 

The Ford Explorer should be your first choice if acceleration and towing capability are high up on your criteria list, while the Toyota Highlander has a big advantage in the fuel economy department.

You can find a full breakdown of Highlander running costs here.

Ford Explorer Vs Chevy Traverse

The Chevy Traverse is a handsome three-row SUV with eight seats as standard.

The Ford Explorer is more expensive to maintain with an average annual maintenance cost of $732 Vs the Chevy Traverse’s $656.

Ford ExplorerChevy Traverse
Reliability rating3.5/5.03.0/5.0
Repair Pal ranking19th / 2622nd / 26
Visits to a repair shop per year0.20.4
Probability of a repair being severe15%18%

Both of these all-American SUVs offer plenty of room for the kiddos, although some automotive journalists favor the Traverse for its more cohesive powertrain.

We’d advise taking both for a test drive if you’re unsure about which one to pick.

You may also be interested in our article: Chevy Traverse Tune-UP & Maintenance Costs

Ford Explorer Vs Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride offers style, comfort, and lots of desirable features.

The Ford Explorer is cheaper to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $732 Vs the Kia Telluride’s $807.

Ford ExplorerKia Telluride
Reliability rating3.5/5.0NA
Repair Pal ranking19th / 26NA
Visits to a repair shop per year0.2NA
Probability of a repair being severe15%NA

The Telluride scores points over the Explorer for its more attractive interior whilst performance is the Explorer’s main strength.

How Long is the Ford Explorer’s Manufacturers Warranty?

When you drive your new Ford Explorer off the dealership lot, you’ll be covered by Ford’s factory warranty of 36,000 miles / 3 years basic coverage and 60,000 miles / 5 years (whichever comes first) powertrain coverage.

This length of protection is actually quite common among car manufacturers however it is on the shorter side of warranties

You can check your vehicle warranty status, track your service history, view your Owner’s Manual and more with your Ford Owner account, If you cannot find the VIN number, the only real way to check your vehicle’s factory warranty is to call or visit your local dealership.

Whilst your Explorer is under warranty it is advised you get your SUV serviced at a registered Ford dealership. 

Related: Ford Explorer Alarm Going Off? (8 Causes & Solutions)


Related: 21 Best & Worst Ford Explorer Years (With Facts & Stats)



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...