Key Programming: Ford Explorer 1997-2015

Key Programming Ford Explorer 1997-2015

Ford Explorer 1997-2015 Key Programming Procedure


The following are the key programming procedures for the 1997, 1998, 2012 and 2015 Ford Explorer.

Ford Explorer 1997


1. Put the new key into the ignition. Turn it to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 minutes. Once the dashboard security light stops flashing, you have five minutes to begin Step 2.

2. Turn the ignition OFF and then back to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 additional minutes.

3. Repeat Step 2.

4. Once the dashboard security light has turned off for the third time, the key will be able to function in the car. It has been programmed into the car’s computer and has replaced ALL previous electronic key codes — the computer will not recognize any other key.


1. Put the current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition ON and back to OFF.

3. Remove the current key and insert the new key, turning it ON. You MUST do this within 15 seconds.

4. The security light will switch on for two seconds, confirming that the key has been successfully programmed into the vehicle.


Ford Explorer 1998 +

ADD KEY (Requires two working keys):

1. Put a current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition to ON, then back to the OFF position.

3. Remove the key and insert a second key. Turn it ON and back to the OFF position. You MUST do this within five seconds.

4. Before ten seconds have elapsed, put a new key in and turn the ignition ON. After one second, turn the key back to the OFF position.

5. The dashboard security light will glow for three seconds. This confirms the programming of the new key has been successful.


About Ford Explorer

Ford introduced a second generation Explorer for the 1995 model year. Following the first generation’s popularity, the appearance was essentially evolutionary, with the model line receiving front bodywork that was unique from the Ranger. Rear-wheel drive was retained as standard, with four-wheel drive available as an option; all-wheel drive was also made available as an option.

A 4.9 litre (302 cu in) V8 engine was added as an option to help compete against the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Airbags were added to the Explorer, which previously lacked them (a first for an American-brand SUV).

The Mercury Mountaineer, the Lincoln-Mercury division’s first SUV, was released in 1997; unlike the Mazda Navajo, the Mountaineer was only available as a five-door. Ford released the Ford Explorer Sport Trac mid-size crew-cab pickup truck in 2001, based on the Explorer five-door. The three-door Explorer used the second-generation bodystyle through the 2003 model year, following the launch of the third-generation Explorer in 2002.

The UN105/UN150 model codes are used on the second-generation Ford Explorer, which is based on the Ford U1 platform that was shared with its predecessor. The long-running Twin I-Beam/Twin Traction Beam front suspension was discontinued in favor of a short/long-arm (SLA) wishbone front suspension system, which was also shared with the 1998 Ford Ranger. The design allowed for greater on-road handling and feel, as well as more compact packing of front suspension components (allowing for a lower hoodline). The rear suspension remained a leaf-sprung live rear axle, as it was on the Ranger and F-Series vehicles.

The previous generation’s standard four-wheel ABS was reinstated, and the rear drum brakes were replaced with disc brakes. Rear-wheel drive remained standard, with part-time four-wheel drive as an option; for the first time, all-wheel drive was offered as an option.

The previous model Explorer’s 160 horsepower 4.0 L V6 engine was carried over to the second generation Explorer (shared with the Ranger and Aerostar). A 210 horsepower (157 kW) 4.9 litres (302 cu in) V8 (marketed as 5.0 L) was introduced as an option for rear-wheel drive XLT five-doors for 1996, partly to match the V8 engine offerings of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Land Rover Discovery. By 1997, the V8 was available in almost all trim levels (except XL) and with all-wheel drive; power was raised to 215 hp (160 kW) (from revised cylinder heads).

Ford released an overhead-cam variant of the 4.0 L Cologne V6 in 1997, giving the model line a third engine. The 210 hp engine, which differed from its predecessor chiefly because to its single overhead-cam powertrain, was able to match the output of the V8. The engine was first provided as standard equipment on Eddie Bauer and Limited trims, but by 1998, it was available on all non-XL trims. The overhead-valve variant of the 4.0 L V6 was phased out in 2001, and the SOHC engine became the standard (and the only engine of the Explorer Sport).

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