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CarComplaints.com Notes: The previous generation of Explorer was so awful that the redesign in 2006 was greeted with much optimism. That didn't last long.

The transmission continues to be the Explorer's worst reliability problem. Owners report shifting hard & lunging, typically starting as low as 40k miles with a $1,600 average repair bill. On top of that, the radiator is prone to failure around 60k miles. Repairs for the radiator run $500 to $1,000 & many owners report they've had to replace the radiator multiple times for leaks, indicating a possible design defect in the OEM replacement parts.

Ford did make some significant changes to improve handling and safety. Electronic stability control was added in addition to side impact air bags, but beyond that this is a vehicle that should be avoided at all costs.

7.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,669.00
Average Mileage:
42,896 miles
Total Complaints:
207 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (133 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (34 reports)
  3. TSB from Ford reprogramming the transmission control (11 reports)
  4. replace transmission module (6 reports)
  5. reprogrammed the transmission (4 reports)
  6. solenoid assembly replaced (3 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 11)

problem #207

Oct 032012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

THE jerking started gradually then when I punched it down to pass I thought for sure it would fall apart. Had bolts tightened but didn't help .HAPPENED MORE THEN ONCE. ford should admit the problem and help fix this. I hate to pass it on to someone else.

- , Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #206

Sep 032013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

VARIOUS STAGES OF THIS COMPLAINT. WHEN COLD, CAR SHIFTS INTO THIRD AND 4 TH ok. As car warms there is noticibly hard, LIKE THUMPING up-shifting and downshifting. If hard acceleration shifts smooth again. Been to a transmission place they found no problem with their code reader, thought the idle might be high. Went to my mechanic to check idle and found no codes wrong and idle at about 850 that they said was normal.

Possible solutions low fluid, condensate dripped on the master valve connecter at the side of the transmission for which there is a Ford repair kit that redlirects the water. Trying one more mechanic with these ideas and if it gets fixed '''great' if not it will be gone. Appreciate any ides.

Update from Dec 4, 2013: After talking to 3 transmission shops, Ford service advisor and 2 mechanics shops I was really confused, especially about what the repair was going to cost. I read the service and operations manual and came up with an option. When I read about the battery part it said that if the battery was disconnected or replaced thee ECM and TCM would have to RE-LEARN my driving habits. The directions it gave were to have all accessories off, run the car in Park for a minute and then run it for one minute with the A/C on. Drive the car ( it would take some miles to RE-Learn) for a while. The manual said shifting might be a bit harder but should adjust. So far I took the Explorer for a 10 mile ride on city streets, through 15mph school zones and on the expressway. It has RE-learned something and has operated NORMAL???? I will have to see what the new normal will be but for right now so far.....so good.

- , Reno, Nevada, USA

problem #205

Dec 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My first and last Ford Explorer. The car is actually very beautiful but the fact that EVERYONE has problems with the transmission and Ford refuses to acknowledge the problem is crap! I have been a loyal Ford customer for 15 years and I will never buy a Ford again solely because of this. Seriously, trannys are not cheap to fix, and jolting into gear is not enjoyable or safe. At 50,000 miles, a well cared for car shouldn't have transmission problems! I swear I will sue Ford if this issue ever causes anyone injury. Thanks for nothing Ford, letting this issue slide has cost you HUNDREDS of future customers!

- , Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #204

Mar 022012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Ford has really let American auto supporters down. This was my 3rd and last Ford Explorer. 2006 XLT. I also had a 2002 Ford Explorer and it did the same thing. Hard jolts between shifting if it shifted at all. I just learned my mechanic and a licensed Ford mechanic that problem is that the AC drains right on the transmission instead of away from it. There are two cylinders where the wiring harness connects to the transmission. These are to prevent water from seeping into the transmission. All Ford had to do was run a small tube with an elbow from the ac drain away from the transmission. Even you if have replaced the transmission replaced the solenoid etc... this will happen again.

The water corrodes the wiring harness which prevents the wires from making a successful connection to the transmission causing it to misfire. Resulting in the hard jolts and shifting. The worst part of the problem is that FORD knows what the problem is and will not correct or recall this vehicle. I have replaced the wiring harness and it runs like new for now. I will trade it in before it starts shifting bad again.

- , Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #203

Jul 192013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,589 miles

I was driving my vehicle w/ my 3 children and my vehicle wouldn't shift into 3/4 gear my vehicle jolted and when I went to give more gas then it shifted hard and I was able to drive past 40 but when I come to a stop then I couldn't go passed 20 wouldn't shift into any other gear besides 2. This is a safety issue god for bid I got into an accident I can't imagine what would of happened. Every place I called or went to stated this is a known fact issue in the 2006 Ford Explorers and no one will address the issues!!!! Now as a single mom I have to find a way to come up w/ $2200 for this repair!!!! Grrr

- , Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #202

Mar 052012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I've been a loyal Ford customer for many many years and very disappointed that I have a problem with my vehicle and can't get help to get it fixed. I work hard to keep my vehicles in excellent condition, now I can't drive it.....

Driving and without warning on the highway the vehicle stalls, putting foot to the floor, not going nowhere, people looking wanting me to get out the way...but I can't. The truck when parked and trying to get it in reverse to get out the driveway is a job in itself, it jerks. I'm unhappy with this experience. And yeah I called Ford customer service to explain the problem,,she said "Do the best you can"......UH?

People tell me.."Oh what a beautiful SUV that is"..but if they only knew that the transmission sucks. I can't recommend this truck to nobody!! Ford you ought to be ashamed...Henry would. Make it right for your clients and they will remain loyal. If not, hello TOYOTA

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #201

Jul 112012

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Very very upset with ford. I'm a student and finally could afford my dream truck, a ford explorer and what a disappointment. The truck still shifts good but when I go from park to reverse its awful. Feels like the transmission will fall. Mechanic says it will cost me at least 2000. Definitely can't afford it. And ford won't do nothing, I had always liked their SUVs but most likely won't buy another one. I guess next time I should do a research before buying a car. :-((

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #200

Jan 012010

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I am also a victim of the 2006 Ford Explorer transmission. This vehicle had 40,000 miles when it started 3 years ago. Its sporadic, sometimes no problem, sometimes annoying, sometimes it is scary. At its worse, shifting into reverse is delayed 2 to 5 seconds before a very harsh engagement. The speed the lever does not seem to impact this condition. It occurs about 30% of the time when regardless if the engine is cold or hot. This harsh engagement will spin the wheels and let out a loud squawk if on pavement. This engagement is very hard and feels like a minor collision.

With experience, we have learned to hold the breaks hard until it engages to avoid the tire spin and the car jumping. But the other day we gave everyone a scare when it didn't engage until after we let up on the breaks; by that time a mother and two kids had walked behind the car and everyone got good scare as the wheels spun and the car jumped about a foot towards them.

This problem also occurs going up thru the gears we will also experience a hard shift, as though someone hit the car with sledge hammer. Of all the shifts, this happens about 20% of the time now. Cold or hot it does not seem to be a factor.

Three years ago when this started it was occurring less than 10% of the time and has gotten worse. We have the fluid flushed & replaced, no improvements. Called Ford 2/25/2013, they reported no information with 2006 Ford Explorer transmissions. I was really hoping to know the cause of all of this.

Has anyone had their transmission disassembled and discovered the cause?

Also, this Explorer has same coolant leaking as others. We've been adding coolant every 2 months for 3 years now.

- , Summerville, SC, USA

problem #199

Dec 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I could not in good conscience recommend a Ford Explorer ever again, this was our third explorer, the second one had the same problem at 40,000 miles and we traded for our third explorer. This vehicle has NEVER been ran hard, was taken well care of, only driven short distance to work and back, local driving to grocery stores etc. on short vacations. My wife and I are in our 60's and were not planning to have this extreme cost on a vehicle that has been well-maintained. We have spoken to Ford Motor with no resolve, nor did they really care, we took the vehicle back where we purchased it and they quoted us a repair cost of $3500.00 and were aware that this is a problem with the Ford Explorers, but can do nothing for us. We have always been a defender of Ford, but not anymore, all of our friends, relatives, neighbors and anyone we come in contact with will be enlightened with our problem. We like SUV'S, but there will be no more Fords in this household, NOT EVER again. Therefore we are taking the explorer to a local transmission specialist to have it replaced for the low, low cost of $2500.00. We have read many others complaining about the same problem. Since Ford is aware that this is an on-going problem, one would think that Ford would be doing some kind of recall or at the very least, doing the work for cost, not $3500.00. There needs to be a huge class action lawsuit regarding this and if enough people complain, perhaps someone will do something.

- , Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA

problem #198

Nov 102010

Explorer XLT 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

feels like being hit from behind when put on reverse shift gears will not take when i take off engine lights comes on sometimes and wrench lights come on never a ford for me i see all the complains to no answer from ford they (ford) should make a recall on the pc of crap they made other then that i love my vehicle just transmission problems

- , Bowling Green, FL, USA

problem #197

Dec 232012

Explorer XLT 6.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 93,300 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I purchased my 2006 Ford Explorer in 2010 and performed perfectly until mid 2011. Around March of 2011 my vehicle started having a REAL HARD JERK when shifting gears. I took it to the shop and had it fixed which was the Pinion seal on the drive shaft and rear differential was bad and leaking. Once that was replaced the problem stopped until about 3 months ago when the problem returned. I checked the pinion again and it was fine. I then drove the vehicle from Missouri to Alabama and while on the trip I lost Drive and Overdrive and had to drive approximately 600 miles in third gear. I contacted Ford due to having been told that the transmission had been recalled and Ford stated that there was no recalls on the 2006 Explorer period. I have since found the recall number and and am going to contact ford again and see if I can get them to admit it and fix it or else I am going to file a lawsuit for failing to maintain the extended warranty that I purchased with the vehicle. Due to the fact that when I first started having problems with the vehicle in 2011 I took it back to the dealership where the vehicle was purchased and they stated that I did not have a warranty however when I contacted Ford this time they stated that my warranty had expired at 86,000 miles. I will never purchase another Ford nor Recommend a Ford product to anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Dixon, MO, USA

problem #196

Sep 102012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I have been with Ford for over 12 years. This is the first set of problems I have had. My alternator went bad the first year, no help from Ford or dealership. Then my radiator and now, what I thought was simply a need to change transmission fluid, is a costly problem. A new transmission is needed. I do not feel safe in my truck anymore, I will get rid of it as soon as I can, but I will not go back to Ford. They no longer back their products.

- , Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #195

Nov 242009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,545 miles

I purchased my 2006 Ford in 2009, it had 50,000 miles on it and within 2 weeks I noticed my transmission would jerk and the gear would slip. I purchased the car with a extended warranty up to 100k miles or May 1, 2012. Ford put in a rebuilt transmission and a month later I noticed the gear would still get stuck or it would take some acceleration on the gas before it would go into the next gear. I took it back and the maintenance agent and his manager took a test drive, came back and said everything was fine. Two years go by and my radiator starts to leak Ford said I need to pay $900 to get fixed and that my cooling system is going to burn out my transmission. I took it to my guy and he fixed for $400, but the next day he said my water pump needed to be fixed. I never got it fixed but I have not had any leaks whats so ever. Guess what, that guy is not my mechanic guy anymore, he tried to hustle me. Now my car has 96,000 miles and I still have troubles with the transmission it sticks, but on my recent visit to Ford to get my oil change and tip off all fluids I got a all systems go report. NO leaks, no nothing. Two weeks later the director of marketing calls stating a customer wants to buy a used 2006 Ford explorer for his wife. She goes on to say " Ford will pay me to get out of my financing and purchase a brand new explorer!. I honestly thing this a ploy to recall as many explorers' because of all of the transmission complaints, or you guessed it. They want me to buy another car. I told the lady, I would play along. She said her manager is going to do a equity evaluation to see if I am eligible. I am thinking of speaking to a lawyer because I have had several problems with the car. My last story, I don't know if anyone else has had any electrical problems, but one that I had almost killed me and my son. I was taking him to his girl friends house about a 30 minute drive no traffic at 5am. I warm my car up everyday, so this particular morning was no different. I warm it for 10 minutes and go. So, I am driving about 7 blocks from my house and the car lights inside start to flicker and go out so the dash goes out but the car stays on. I drive back at about 10 miles an hour and I made it to my drive way. I call AAA, the tow guy said luckily I was not on freeway because the car could have turned off with no notice and a car could have hit us at high speeds. The car did not give any warning that the alternator was bad and I had just came back from Vegas 2 weeks before. I had pep boys replace the radiator and I have not had any electrical issues since.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #194

Jan 012011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Just like everyone else with this vehicle 2006 Eddie Bauer Ford. We too were always about ford. But when I put the vehicle in reverse it lunges so bad I'm afraid I might hit something. Also trouble shifting gears 1st and 2nd very loud and it does feel like you just lost the whole transmission. Very disappointed. Not the only problem this vehicle has had. It would be nice for Ford to stand behind their product. but I don't see that happening.

- , Oak Ridge, TN, USA

problem #193

May 012012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I have the same problems with my 2006 Explorer. I have been dealing directly with Ford and get "canned" responses from them. I feel that it is a major safety issue and Ford needs to be held accountable for their manufacturing defect. I did some research and found that I can file a safety complaint with the NHTSA and they will do an investigation on the safety problem if enough people complain. Here's the link http://www.nhtsa.gov/. I encourage you to file a complaint regarding the transmission defect as well. Clearly it's a big, expensive problem that Ford expects us to pay for! I'm sorry..I DON"T pay for someone else's negligence and you shouldn't either. File a report and maybe together we can get a recall on the problem!

- , Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

problem #192

Jul 092012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

At 120000 miles my 06 EB Explorer bangs into gear from 1st to 2nd, and constantly slides in and out of gear while the engine is reeving at 2500 RPM. Also hesitates when shifting into reverse.

- , Eagle River, WI, USA

problem #191

Oct 032011

Explorer LXT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

I am also a victim of the 2006 ford transmission. This vehicle only has 48000 miles. When i shift into reverse it takes a few seconds to shift gear and when it shifts into gear it feels like the transmission fell on the ground . I just retired and bought this explorer hopefully to keep for a while i take great pride in maintaining my vehicles this is also my 2nd explorer the first one is 16yrs old and now my dog truck but i don't think the 2006 will give me that loyalty TOO BAD!!! Shame on ford now i don't know who to trust anymore

- , niantic, CT, USA

problem #190

Oct 102011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Transmission Module went out at 60,000 miles. Was not covered, cost me over $500.00 to repair.

- , White Stone, VA, USA

problem #189

Feb 042012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The transmission has never worked so well. It really never worked right in the first place. 1 year in the problems started. Took it to Ford numerous times, told me there was nothing wrong, They reset it a few times. As soon as the warranty was up, it got really bad. I will never buy a Ford again, they should have addressed the problem. Many other complaints, to numerous to list.

- , South Park, PA - Pennsylvania, USA

problem #188

May 282012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Dealer reprogrammed the transmission when it had about 25,000 miles on it. The lunging completely disappeared....for a while. After about a year and 15,000 miles the problem returned and has happened ever since on and off. Mileage now just short of 80,000 and has been hitting hard lately. The dealer let me purchase an extended warranty after the initial fix for $1000. This extended to 6 year or 75,000. I had wished the transmission had blown up. Now the replacement will probably be on me.

Thanks Ford. I have been driving your vehicles for 40 years and this is the worst problem, which you have not resolved. Please do something for this obvious service issue. There have been some scary incidences with close calls on accidents.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

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