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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
47,894 miles
Total Complaints:
233 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (146 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (43 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2006 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 12)

problem #233

May 232017

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


My mind is made up, this is the straw that broke the camels back. I will not buy a Ford product again!

- , Lockhart, TX, US

problem #232

Sep 012006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles

Just wanted on the list. FORD WILL NOT ADDRESS/NTHS knows but--------!!!!!!!!

- , Flint, TX, USA

problem #231

Jan 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,066 miles

Garaged all the time. Serviced regularly by Ford dealer. Used by 68 year old disabled person for groceries,errands and seeing grandchild. Should not need new transmission or have banging/shifting problems.

Thousands of people have complained about this problem. Be it faulty design or manufacturing problems. Whatever. The bottom line is Ford knows there is a problem and refuses to take responsibility for it. I will never by another Ford product.

- , Taunton, MA, US

problem #230

Nov 192015

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


I am the type of owner who gets all required maintenance done on schedule. I have brought my vehicle in for leaks in the transmission at least two times. Now my vehicle jerks and almost stalls when I try to get on the freeway. The only thing that helps is when I disconnect the Overdrive. The last time I had the car serviced they said there was not a problem. Well yesterday getting on the freeway the same thing happened!!!! If these are major problems for owners, I do not understand Ford's reluctance to resolve the issue.

- , Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #229

Jan 012013

Explorer LS 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Started with bang when going into gear (maybe 2nd or 3rd?) with about 50K and progressed to slip/jolt/jerk in the 40-60 mph range starting at about 605K. Can no longer drive at a constant pace in that range, have to accelerate to avoid jerking. Now light came on at 90K. Guessing will need new tranny based on research indicating Ford made garbage transmissions on these vehicles. BS, we are very easy drivers. Hardly ever use the 4wd, had tires rotated regularly, etc.

Update from Feb 24, 2016: Active Transmission did not think new tranny was necessary (p0300 and P0316), and replaced the crank shaft position sensor and spark plugs. Problem seems to be fixed.

- , Louisville, CO, USA

problem #228

Dec 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Unfortunately I had to take the truck to a Ford dealer that was 14 miles from me. There was no Ford dealers in Brooklyn, New York, so I drove to Manhattan. After having to spend my morning there while they assessed the issue and while the Manager verified my extended warranty which their dealership sold to me, he finally said I had to leave the truck. After 5 hours. And now with heavy snow falling and no rental car he guided me to the front door and pointed to the street where he said walk that way about 1/2 mile to catch the bus which will lead you to the subway train. Really excellent customer service- Hugh? So of course I rented my own rental when I reached Brooklyn but I did not realize it would update take a month to have a transmission replaced by Ford. Yes one month later. And I had to eat the cost of the rental of $1,000. Good looking out FORD!

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #227

Mar 102013

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,129 miles


Hi, I have a problem with my car when engine stars & the engine temperature is low at that time when I shift the gear from P to R, N or D car gets a jerk. Even engine temperature is normal then also a little jerk is there, while after a long drive car stops but engine remains on then after few mints (5 to 10) again move for drive (gear shifts from N/P to R/D car gets big jerk at the same time some indicating alarms appear & disappear automatically with in few mints. Normally there is no alarm or indication on the board.

Any body have a same experience then share the solution.


- , Dammam, Saudi Arabia

problem #226

Aug 012015

Explorer MPV 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Started in Aug. Step on Brake to Allow shift selector put into REV or Dr and car slight jerk progressively jerk gets wore over months and the Motor indicator lite comes on recently then off comes on during drive. Car used for lots of short trips schools church college 7-11 tons of very short trips. Out side of this and two radiator replacements car is awesome to drive Best car I ever had besides my 62 Fair lane, 65 Mustang, 72 Grand Torino... misfit Chev. 82 Ford 86 Ford 90 ford Van 2000 Ranger 2010 F-150

I need a cheap fix cause I really like this1 car.

- , Lemoore, CA, USA

problem #225

Sep 092015

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,635 miles

This is the second transmission I have had to put in Explorer in 2 1/2 years. I believe it is a huge safety issue when your car is not moving with 55 mile an hour traffic coming up on you or when crossing traffic and your car is not moving. I also believe they replaced my transmission both times with the same crappy transmission rebuilt and its only a matter of time before the third transmission fails!

- , White Lake, MI, USA

problem #224

Aug 312006

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115 miles

I tried taking this to Ford on several occasions for several years and they said there was nothing wrong.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #223

Jul 202015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles




- , Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #222

Sep 052014

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,414 miles

My mistake was buying used - 1 week after I bought this vehicle the transmission acting up. I took it back and they reset the computer sensor and assured me that would fix everything - not covered under my warranty - $125. The problem was not corrected and I was told the only fix was a new transmission. My warranty was 50/50 so it cost me $2050 out of pocket and haven't even owned it 1 month. So frustrating.

- , Port Allegany, PA, USA

problem #221

Feb 122013

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

It's sad, I'm a veteran and grew up watching my dad have Fords and working on them. I always love the slogan, Built Ford Tough".

At any rate, my problems with this truck has been since they sold it to me at Benny Boyd. They had this truck in the shop since day one, however assured me they where taking care of me. They even put me in multiple loaner cars, after 5 to 6 months worth of back and forth they assured me it was fixed and it wasn't transmission still the same but even worse. After the end of the summer they pawned me off by tell me they did have any other vehicles in the same range. Oh, but they'd call me when something comes in. The next year rolls around, problems still persists, and still getting worse.

In the year of 2014, I called and talked to the co-owner and he stated he would get back to me, which he didn't, and I haven't heard anything since. Also, in 2014 I had to replace the alternator. Recently 2015 the truck starts sounding like a lawnmower go-cart when accelerating in the gas, and was told by one mechanic it maybe a vacuum hose under the hood. And now, for about 4 weeks the ticking sound in the dashboard in correlation with no heat blowing out just cold air. Heez, I'm tired! Should I move on Ford?

- , Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #220

Feb 012011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

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, MD, 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 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, US

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, KS, 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 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

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, CA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?