Sounds like fireworks? 2007 Explorer

2007 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer, 51,000 gentle miles…

Stopped at a light and suddenly it sounded like fireworks were exploding overhead! The car was acting completely normal.

Light turned, about 15 minutes to ride home, just heard an occasional pop here and there.

Got home. Turned off the car and walked up the driveway. Suddenly the popping happened again. Again it was like fireworks going off, or thunder.

Any clue? Is it safe to drive the car tomorrow morning? Doctor’s appointment early, before I can get it in.

Cannot imagine, Sunroof glass cracking?

Like Barkydog, I am having a hard time figuring out what is going on with your car.

All I can say is that, if the Check Engine Light isn’t flashing/blinking, if vehicle is idling, accelerating, braking, and steering normally–and if you don’t smell any unusual odors–it should be safe to drive.

Ok thanks! It’s normal other than the sound, no lights, no broken glass.

When somebody says their car sounds like “fireworks” or “firecrackers”, my first guess is an exhaust leak of some kind. If you totally removed the exhaust system of your car, that is exactly what it would sound like, firecrackers. Even if you were just idling in the driveway, you’d hear bang, bang, bang. And really loud. I sometimes go to see the local minor league baseball team play here in San Jose, and as amusement for the fans between innings they bring out a truck and drive it around the field, a truck which has no exhaust system. And that’s what it sounds like, really loud fireworks. It’s really quite a fun thing to see and hear.

But not when it is coming from your car. I can’t say via the internet whether it is safe to drive or not. If it is a bad leak it can pose a fire hazard, like if you drive over something flammable, like patch of weeds, it could start it on fire, and also a carbon monoxide hazard to the occupants. I probably wouldn’t drive it except perhaps slowly to a close-by shop. The staff there can quickly determine where the noise is coming from.

Thanks George! Ok, I just drove it 4 miles, mostly 25mph but slightly faster for a few blocks. No noise, no smells, no lights, all normal. Will call the dealer tomorrow ASAP.

Sometimes one of the valves gets a little sticky and doesn’t form a tight seal, which will allow unburned air and gasoline to be pushed into the exhaust system and explode there. Then it will unstick, and the noise goes away. That’s another possibility. Usually this symptom is combined with a noticeably poor running engine. According to Ray of Car Talk, it’s not an uncommon thing in Camry’s for some reason. But I’ve never heard of it associated with Ford products. Sometimes a simple fuel treatment will fix a sticky valve. Since your engine was acting normal otherwise, unlikely, but put it on the list of possibilities anyway.