Ford Explorer & Light: 14 Questions Answered (For Newbies)

The Ford Explorer is an excellent family SUV that offers a wide range of powerful engines under the hood.

It is at home on the pavement and on the trail, thanks to its rugged and yet comfortable design.

To enjoy using the Explorer, you need to know how the lights work.

This article provides full details on all necessary information about Explorer lights and functions.

Which Light Bulbs Sizes and Types Do Ford Explorer Use?

Here is a breakdown of the appropriate light bulbs for different Ford Explorer models.


The 1991 to 1994 Explorer uses bulb 9004 and 1995 to 2001 Explorer uses bulb 9007.

The 2002 to 2005 models have some specification for the headlights:

If the original bulb share the same bulb for high and low beam headlamps, the bulb size will be 9007 / 9007LL.

If the high and low beam headlamps are different bulbs, the high beam bulb size is 9005; low beam bulb size is 9006.

The 2006 to 2010 Explorer use bulb size H13

The 2011 to 2017 Explorer with halogen capsule headlamps use 9005L+ while the model with HID headlamps use bulb size D3S.

Starting from 2018 to 2020, the Explorer headlight use LED lights.


The  1991 to 2006 Explorer use bulb size 3157R.

The 2007 to 2010 Explorer has a taillight upper bulb number of 194/7441 while the tail light lower bulb number is 4057R.

Starting from 2011 to 2020, Explorer switched to LED taillights.

Fog Light

The 1995 to 1998 Explorer fog light bulb size is H3 or 899. 1999 to 2000 Ford Explorer uses H1 bulbs.

The 2001 Explorer bulb size is H1 or 9145, while the 2002 to 2010 Explorer used 9145.

From  2011 to 2015, Explorer bulb was changed to H8/H11/H16, then back to bulb size 9145 in 2016 and 2017.

Starting from 2018 to 2020, the fog lights for the Explorer are LED.

Parking Light

The Explorer model years 1991 to 2000 uses bulb size 3157 for its parking light.

In 2001, Explorer switched to bulb number 3157NA, and back to bulb size 3157 from 2002 to 2005.

The 2006 to 2010 Explorer uses bulb size 3357NA, and 2011 to 2015 model years uses bulb size 3457.

The Explorer 2016 to 2018 model uses 3757NA, and 2019 to 2020 uses bulb size 3757A.

Click here for the best Ford Explorer light bulb prices on Amazon.

How to Turn Off Daytime Running Lights On a Ford Explorer

Here are the step-by-step instructions for turning off the Daytime running light on Ford Explorer.

  • Use your information display screen.
  • Use your five-way control switch, located on the left side of your steering wheel.
  • Scroll to settings, vehicle, lighting.
  • Scroll to daytime running lights.
  • If daytime running lights are set on and you want to switch it off, turn the lighting control off.

Ford Explorer Light Indicator Symbols Explained

These are some of the light indicators that you will come across on your Explorer. They are in 2 parts which are:

Feature Lights

These come on when certain features on your Explorer are activated. They include:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): This light portrays an image of a car next to a speedometer. The green light indicates that your adaptive cruise control has been activated.
  • Cruise Control: It looks similar to the ACC. The light comes on when your Explorer is in cruise control.
  • Parking Lamps Symbol: the light illuminates showing two headlights facing away from each other.
  • Stability Control: When the stability control system is active, a symbol of a car with curved trademarks behind it appears.

Problem Lights

These lights come on when to indicate a problem with your vehicle. They include:

  • Anti-Lock Braking System: If you see the letters ABS inside a circle, your anti-lock braking system is malfunctioning.
  • Battery: The red light looks like a battery and means that your battery is malfunctioning. When this sign pops up, check your battery.
  • Brake System: The red light for a failing brake system shows an exclamation point inside a circle beside a circled P. At the sight of this light, pull up as soon as possible and contact an expert to check your Explorer.
  • Electric Park Brake: When your electric parking brake is malfunctioning, a red light that looks like a lightning bolt with a base of a circled arrow pops up.
  • Engine Coolant Temperature: When the engine temperature of your explorer is too high, a light portraying a thermometer inserted in a liquid pops up. Park the Explorer as soon as possible, then turn it off to let the engine cool.
  • Engine Oil: When the engine oil level of your car is low, a light symbol like oil can pop up.
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning: When the tire pressure is low, a light symbol showing the bottom of a flat tire with an exclamation point inside shows on the dashboard.
  • Service Engine Soon: When you see a red light showing an asymmetrical block look alike, this means your engine needs servicing as soon as possible.

Make sure to also read our article about the Ford Explorer in snow and winter driving.

How Do You Adjust the Light on a Ford Explorer?

To adjust the light on your Explorer, you need a tape measure, tape, and a screwdriver. Follow these steps to adjust your SUV’s headlights:

  • Park your car 25 feet away from a wall with the lamps on.
  • Measure from the floor to the center of your headlamp.
  • Place a tape on the wall at the same height you measured in step 2.
  • Open the hood and locate the adjuster on your headlamp.
  • With your screwdriver, twist each one until your beam is at the right level.

Does Ford Explorer Have Automatic Headlamps?

The Explorer has automatic headlamp.

The auto lamps come on when they sense darkness.

You can also read on our article about Ford Explorer & Keys: 12 Questions Answered

How Do I Turn Off the Lights On a Ford Explorer?

To turn off lights, use the headlights control switch.

Turn the knob to the right side beside the steering to turn off the light.

How Do I Turn Off the Ford Explorer Trunk Light?

The trunk light of the Explorer should go off automatically when the trunk is closed.

Open the trunk and check if there is any object in the lock and if the lock clips proper.

If all this is in place and the light does not go off, it is likely that the lock sensor for the trunk light is faulty.

Also check out our article about how long the Ford Explorer lasts.

How Does the Auto Light Sensitivity Work?

The Auto light sensitivity will automatically turn on lights when the surrounding ambient light level is low or when natural light decreases.

It is what activates the auto lamps.

What Can Cause the Drive Light to Blink?

When your Explorer drive light flashes, this shows that there is an issue with the transmission.

If the problem persists, it is best to visit a mechanic shop to scan it and figure out the issue.

Can I Use Headlight Covers On an explorer?

You can use a headlight cover for your Explorer.

The headlight cover protects the headlight, but make sure it is legal to use it in your state.

Also read our article about 11 Ford Explorer statistics you should know

The Dome/Interior Light Isn’t Working

The first thing is to look at the dome light.

It is the easiest light to fix. Check the bulb and change it if the old one is burned.

If the light does not come up afterward, then you need to check for a blown fuse.

Ford Explorer Light Sensors Explained

The Explorer light sensor detects changes in brightness and automatically switches on the headlights.

Common places where the light sensor is mounted are on the windshield, behind the rearview mirror, and on the dash near the windshield edge.

Do Ford Explorer Have LED Lights?

The Explorer uses LED lights.

Ford started using LED lights for the vehicle’s taillights in 2011.

The 2018 to 2020 models use LED lights for their headlights and taillights.

The Lights Come On But the Car Won’t Start

If the light comes on and the explorer won’t start, your battery may be weak

The other reason why a car won’t start but the light comes on is a faulty starter.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)