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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:
$1,688.00
Average Mileage:
45,654 miles
Total Complaints:
220 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (139 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (38 reports)
  3. TSB from Ford reprogramming the transmission control (11 reports)
  4. replace transmission module (7 reports)
  5. reprogrammed the transmission (4 reports)
  6. solenoid assembly replaced (4 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 11)

problem #220

Feb 012011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

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

I purchased the car used in 2010 (I think). I had never had an SUV before, so I didn't really know this was as abnormal as it was. I thought SUV's were just rough drivers. However, when my dad came to visit he asked why it was jerking like that. I said, " I thought it was supposed to". After that, I took it to the dealer and asked them if there was something wrong with my transmission, they assured that there was nothing wrong with it. I'm not car expert so I left it at that.

Well, it was under an extended warranty and I wanted to ensure that it gets fixed before it expired. Every time I would take my truck in for any type of service I would ask about the jerking, they would say it was fine. I recently met someone who has a 2006 Ford Explorer who described the problem and stated that he had the same problem with his which is why he got rid of it.

Now what I don't understand is why Ford isn't recalling this transmission. Are they waiting for deaths to be reported like Chrysler? This is ridiculous. If they know it's a problem, why wait? Whenever you put the car in gear, it stalls for a few seconds then it gives a hard jolt. That can't be safe. I understand saving money, but at the risk of lives? How can you sleep at night knowing this is a problem that can cause someone danger or even their lives. I wonder how many of them would drive the 2006 Ford Explorer on a road trip.

- , Baltimore, Maryland, USA

problem #219

Jul 302014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Oh, my Exploder. Let me show you it. Purchased 9/2009 with 25K miles. Three radiators, two thermostat housings, tire sensor errors, and one astoundingly wonderful 3rd Gear Ratio Error that causes the transmission to go into failsafe mode - resulting in a rebuilt transmission. And the thing is, I still love it, it's like driving a big marshmallow. But when it fails, it fails spectacularly, and expensively.

Oh Ford, I had a 98 Mustang that never needed anything other than routine maintenance. Why did you fail my Explorer like this?

- , Gaston, SC, USA

problem #218

Oct 132014

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I am so frustrated, I just paid this 2006 Ford Explorer off in August. And 2 months later I am dealing with a issue that is awful. I am very good and hands on with vehicles. My service light came on, I took my vehicle to Firestone and the guy advise me I will need a new transmission due to my solenoid being bad. I asked him why not just replace the solenoid. He said since the solenoid is in the transmission pan we would have to replace the entire transmission. I am thinking to myself, are you crazy? If it's just the solenoid, replace only the solenoid.

I spoke with my brother-in-law who works on vehicles part time. He said it may just need transmission fluid. I found out that you cannot check your transmission fluid level. Because the DING BATTS at Ford remove the transmission dip stick. That is a whole new issue, anyway I take my Ford to Napa to fill the transmission fluid. The service light were still on. The Guy at Napa ran dx on my Ford, found the code P0765 pressure control solenoid.

I agreed to let them replace the solenoid. And they replaced the solenoid, picked up the vehicle on 11/04/14 and is having to take it back on 11/08/14. The vehicle is still showing dx code p0765 Solenoid Circuit Malfunction / transmission will not shift gears, sometimes stays in 2 gear no matter the speed, its like the vehicle is in limp in mode.

I will not buy another Ford after this. Ford Creators are DING BATTS ( asked Archie from All in the Family) meaning if you don't know. And that's my TRUTH.

- , Wylie, TX, USA

problem #217

Jun 012014

Explorer Eddie Baurer V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

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

A couple of my family members worked at Ford in VA., this is one of the reasons I wanted to buy a Ford, plus 60% of the family drove a Ford. But here in recent years Fords are not what they use to be. I bought my car new, only had 3 miles on it when I test drove it. I will not buy a Ford ever again.

I faithfully serviced my Ford, oil changes every 3000 miles, rotated tires every 6000. Keep my maintenance by the book. A couple of moths ago I started having problems with my gear going to reverse. Sometimes it takes me 2-3 minutes to get the gear from park to reverse. Once I was taking my mom to her doctor's appointment and we were parked on a slight hill and the car lunged so hard she hit her head against the window. She asked if I was trying to kill her.

I took my car to Dealership, wanted over $2500, would not pay. Came home and researched internet, found out that I am not the only one with this same issue. So I decide why should I be loyal to someone who does not care about me. If Ford was willing to pay half the expenses I could deal with this. Since both of my kids drives a Ford, they will not be getting a Ford neither. Thanks for listen.

- , Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #216

Oct 032014

Explorer XLT V6-4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

This is a problem that Ford has known about but fails to recognize.

- , Topeka, Kansas, USA

problem #215

Jul 222014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I have an 06 ford explorer. It has 130,000 miles on it. When I get ready to put it in reverse, sometimes it doesn't want to go into reverse. the gearshift will not move. I have to really force it to go. also, when I'm backing up ,it's like I can't get the vehicle to move, if I push the gas pedal in more then it's like it wants to "ram" I guess the word is, back. and last thing.. I've noticed when I start it the engine goes up to 2-3 rpms while being parked..it goes back and forth for a few minutes....can you tell me what might be wrong with my ford. thanks

- , London, KY, USA

problem #214

Feb 112010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

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

At about 30k mile I started having problems when shifting from reverse to drive the rpms go higher then usual and when it goes into drive it makes a loud noise. it sounds like someone hitting it with a metal bat. I live on an ave. with a lot of traffic and I have to back out of my driveway every time I leave my house. I've been honked at a couple times because of this problem. I feel I've been robbed by buying this car.

- , Fullerton, California, USA

problem #213

Feb 072013

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

At 135000 miles my 06 LX Explorer shifts really hard with a jerk when transitioning from 1st to 2nd gear. If feels like the back end is going to fall out. As a 1st time Ford owner -- this problem is so severe that I'll never buy another Ford product again. And Ford wonders why Toyota always out selling their products -- it's call: "Standing behind your product." When Toyota had any problems that got complaints about their product -- the looked out for their future customers to return to buy their product. Ford obviously don't have enough concern for the safety of their current customers let alone the return of their future customers. If they don't see this as a problem, me along with everyone person who has complained about this very same problem will not be a repeat customer for their product -- neither my grown children & grand children.

- , Hartsville, SC, USA

problem #212

May 012013

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I own a 2006 Ford Explorer and as so many other people, I am having a problem with the transmission slamming into gear. I found an article from the Detroit New printed in May 2006 that I thought was interesting. Did some of these transmission get put into vehicles? What do you think?

shifts production back into gear at seven plants after identifying transmission defect

By Eric Bryant RSS feed

Posted May 1st 2006 3:31PM

Ford was forced to halt production at seven assembly plants after finding a quality problem with a transmission component, but all seven plants affected by the stoppage should be up and running again today.

A supplied component, described as "a clutch mechanism that helps make the transmission shift smoothly between first and second gears" (sounds to us like the overrunning clutch), was found to be problematic, but the defect was caught before any suspect vehicles were delivered to customers. The supplier isn't being identified.

More than 4,000 units of light truck, van, and Lincoln Town Car production were lost, costing Ford somewhere in the neighborhood of $35M. The automaker says that making up for the stoppage won't be a problem, as they seem to have a bit of extra capacity to put towards the effort, and F-150 inventories are current running at about 107 days of sales.

[Source: Detroit News]

- , Davenport, FL, USA

problem #211

May 162014

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This was the day I was purchasing from a prior owner, they initially paid for it, then I bought it.

- , Walla Walla, WA, USA

problem #210

Apr 012013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

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

Does not always happen. When I engage the transmission into reverse I always make sure to have my foot on the brake solidly. At times at least 3 times a week, it hard lunges into reverse. Very disturbing. Also lately will do the same if I engage into drive.

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #209

May 012014

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

Bought my 2006 Ford Explorer in great condition (or so I thought) from a used car dealership in February 2012. When we first test drove the truck, we noticed a few shifting issues, but took it to a transmission shop (during the test drive) and they said everything was fine with the truck, nice looking truck and they would suggest to buy. So, we bought the truck from Kraft Nissan (go figure) dealership. Since it was a used vehicle there was no warranty.

A year later (2013), the truck started making all kinds of shifting noises, the engine light and the wrench light would light up on the dash every once in a while. So, we put it on a machine and it was throwing a misfire code (0300 or something like that). We replaced every spark plug and the ignition coils in the truck. The truck ran fine for about 6-8 months. Then the wrench light came back on. Then the wrench light went off. Then the engine light came on, and back off. The truck didn't seem sure of what it was doing when I was driving, but I couldn't afford to take it to a shop and my husband is a pretty good handy man so would check stuff here and there and the truck would always seem to fix itself...

It had a hard lunge anytime I was at a stop light (it would act like it was trying to go when I was stopped so I would put it in park, wait for the green light and put it back in drive so I didn't risk the chance of rear ending someone), it seemed if I pushed the gas pedal too hard it would act like it couldn't shift into the next gear correctly. It makes all kinds of loud banging noises and the tires would lose traction. So, in April 2014 we put it back on a machine and was throwing a code of U0101 - Lost communication with Transmission Control Module. We took it to a shop that had experience with "computer" issues with the Ford. They did a bunch of tests and sent the truck to a transmission shop. At this time, the engine light was on, the wrench light was on and the traction control light was on. We replaced the transmission value body and the Transmission Control Module. We got the truck back and it is still having the same issues.

We spoke with Ford who told us there was no way there was a 6-speed automatic BMW Transmission in our Ford Truck - we were right - we gave Ford the VIN for the truck and they came back and said "we are sorry, you are right it is a 6-speed auto transmission" (So basically FORD had no idea what transmission THEY put in the truck). Come to find out it is a Ford 6R Transmission which was only used in 2005 and 2006 Ford Explorer and it's obviously a piece of crap!

No one knows how to fix my truck! I have been without my truck for weeks and this is getting ridiculous. The truck has been to TWO transmission shops, a shop that has expertise in computer problems and another car shop. No one has answers for me. I can not get a rental car because my insurance will not cover rental unless I've been in a wreck. And now the transmission shop is talking about sending the truck to a Ford dealership and it could take a few months to diagnose and repair. Ain't nobody got time to be out of a ride for a FEW MONTHS!

Ford needs to recall their 2006 6R Transmissions...they know there is something wrong with them. There are HUNDREDS of complaints already out there and Ford is not listening to its customers. Basically, I am out of a ride and I still have to pay monthly payments for and keep insurance (because it's financed). Paying for something I can not even use and no one can tell me what is wrong or even how it can be fixed. I have always owned a Ford and I can promise this will be my LAST ONE!! With all these problems and Ford didn't even know what kind of transmission was in the truck is way too much for me to deal with. I don't know what we are going to do. I don't have the money to keep pouring into the truck for the repairs, but yet I can not trade it in because no one wants a broken truck!

- , Crawfordville, FL, USA

problem #208

Jun 232014

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I first noticed that when I pressed the gas, the car would hesitate and then jolt into gear. I first thought I had put some bad gas in the car because I went to a station I don't usually use. It then began to jolt into gear and hesitate every time I pressed the gas. Then it was all the time and it would darn near stall when I turned the corner.

I then got a powertrain indicator light on the dash board and took it to a local auto parts store to get a diagnostic test. When I cut off the engine, the powertrain light went off and did not come back on so nothing registered on the diagnostic test. About a week later, the light came on again and continued to go off when I turned off the engine. The car still continued to jolt and I could barely get it to drive more than 40 miles an hour. Then, unfortunately, on the way to my father's funeral, the powertrain light came on again, along with the check engine light and it stayed on. I took it to the shop that changes my oil and they did a diagnostic test which gave me a code of P0745, Pressure Control Solenoid Malfunction. I then called CarMax, where I have an extended warranty, to set up an appointment to get the car serviced. Their next appointment was not for three and a half weeks so I asked if I could have it serviced at a local Ford dealer and they said this was allowed under the warranty.

I got an appointed to bring it in within two days and they immediately told me it was a transmission problem. Now, the car only has 51,135 on it and I have had no problems with the car since I purchased it used in September of 2009. I was appalled to think that there would be transmission problems on a car with so little mileage. The dealer opened up the trans the next week and discovered the oil "looks" burnt and that I will need a new transmission. However, the warranty may not cover the replacement. I just lost my father, I have a special needs child, I need to prepare for back to school and now I am faced with having to get a new transmission and possibly a worthless warranty. The warranty company has implied that they may not cover the repair if I can't prove that I had the transmission flushed at 30,000 miles which is a "recommended" service. WTH!!!

- , Dolton, IL, USA

problem #207

Oct 032012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

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

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

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