After performing admirably as a long-distance hauler, the Explorer developed a fault that was driving us crazy. The Blind Spot Monitoring and Cross-Traffic Assist systems (those things are linked) started glitching and decided to tell us about it every 30 seconds. Even when I turned the systems off, the fault alerts would not stop. It all started on the last leg of a 900 mile trip. We stopped at the only dealer on the route, but being a Sunday, the service department was closed. Our only recourse was to don our headphones and do our best to ignore it for the last four hours.

Come Monday, to the shop it went! They hooked up their diagnostic tools ($100) to see if they could find the fault. Bingo! The driver’s side sensor ($1,583) would not respond and needs to be replaced. Then they came up with the laundry list of repairs that need to be made, including an oil change ($75), a transmission service ($222), cooling system flush ($172), replace right front strut mount to eliminate the clunking noise ($424), replace the glitching backup camera ($784), replace the air filter ($32), replace the cabin air filter (another $32), replace the spark plugs ($432!), replace the wiper blades ($40 front, $22.50 rear), do a fuel injector service ($278), replace the driver’s side fog light housing (not just the light, $128), replace the front brake pads and machine the rotors ($218), and replace the broken B-pillar trim panel ($128). They also discovered that the SYNC system was out of date, but that was covered as a no-cost update.

For those who aren’t doing that math, that’s over $5,000 in repairs!

So, I authorized the oil change and transmission fluid change so they would waive the diagnostics fee, but I plan to tackle the rest of it myself. I’ve already sourced the parts and if I pick up a used sensor and a used backup camera, I can get everything for less than $700.

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When I went to pick it up, I discovered that they screwed up and replaced the air filters instead of doing the oil change. After some discussion, they decided to just do the oil change for free.

But the BEST PART was that the SYNC system update fixed the constant chiming problem. It makes sense that the blind spot and cross-traffic systems would let you know that there was a problem, but that should be once per startup, not every 30 seconds. It appears I wasn’t the first person to complain about this software glitch and Ford fixed it.

What was going to be a relaxing Independence Day weekend has now become an Explorer repair weekend. Ah, well, at least my kids will get to dig a little deeper into the world of auto repair.