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CarComplaints.com Notes: The NHTSA's complaint data shows potentially scary power steering problems with the 2011 Ford Explorer.

The NHTSA complaints are pretty serious - owners report the power steering cuts out while driving. The NHTSA opened an investigation in June 2012 but hasn't reached a decision about a recall yet. In the meantime, buyers beware.

It's too bad because the 2009 & 2010 Ford Explorer are solid, trouble-free model years.

0.6

hardy worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
291,104 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #17

Nov 062013

Explorer

  • 58,161 miles

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

I was rounding a curve in an interection when the steering became impossible to steer. I managed to get it off the road and I noticed the traction controls were lit up along with the steering failure warring came on. After restarting the car everything returned to normal.

- Matewan, WV, USA

problem #16

Nov 232011

Explorer

  • 9,000 miles
While driving, power steering assist abruptly fails, as does advance trac stability control. The vehicle becomes much harder to control. If the car is in a turn when the steering fails, the steering wheel lurches and tries to re-aim the vehicle straight ahead, disrupting the turn. Dashboard warnings confirm the steering and advance trac failures. Also, the turn signal sustain fails, so using the turn signal requires constant pressure on the signal arm. On average, this problem has recurred every 2000 miles, at any speed. Turning the car off and restarting "fixes" the problem temporarily until the next failure. Two trips to the dealer for examinations have resulted in no answers - both times the results of leaving the car for several days have been shrugged shoulders and "we couldn't duplicate the problem, and there is no trouble code. It worked fine for us." As is nothing ever was wrong with the car, and even if there were something wrong, there is no way to repair it! how the NHTSA and Ford Motor Company can allow these vehicles to roam our highways with no recall, or even a technical service bulletin, knowing there is a chance the drivers may lose control and crash, as some already have, is a crime against vehicle safety and against the very mission statement of the NHTSA. I will be copying this complaint to my elected representative in the United States congress, who in the past has proven to be far more interested in my safety than Ford or the NHTSA.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #15

Aug 262013

Explorer

  • 4,545,413 miles
While driving to work the following warnings came up. 1. power steering fault 2. service advancetrac system car became very difficutl to steer, almost resulting in a mojor car accident as I was approaching a very tight turn on I75. Upon doind some research it appears this issue is way to common, and extremely dangerous.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #14

Aug 122013

Explorer

  • 59,871 miles

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

While driving down the highway, there was a notification on the info center that there was an issue with the power steering. At that point I lost power steering in the vehicle and then traction control. This issue has occurred 4 times in the last month and we have already taken it to the dealership and they were unable to find out what the issue was since it is not keeping records in the computer of these issues.

- Wooldridge, MO, USA

problem #13

May 312013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
The power steering goes out and then a warning appears stating a malfunction with the all terrain stability control. Not only does the power steering stops working, but it feels like the vehicle is going to turn over for a couple of seconds. This has occurred three times; our Ford dealership has made two attempts to repair the problem with a third attempt scheduled next week. The last event was day before yesterday while I was driving on I-26 at 70mph (speed limit) and nearly caused me to have an accident. The dealership states that they just don't know what the problem is and told me they are speaking with Ford about the problem. I feel that this is a very dangerous problem and I don't think Ford knows how to fix it. Thank you.

- Sugar Grove, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Coming to a stop at a stop sign, warning messages appeared - power steering assist failure and advance trac control fault. The vehicle lost all power steering assist. With much effort (extremely hard to steer!), I pulled the vehicle to a parking space to diagnose the problem. The advance trac warning message stayed on. The traction control light and the traction control 'off" light also stayed illuminated. I turned the Explorer off. When I restarted, the power steering returned and after a few seconds the advance trac warning message went off. Took vehicle to Ford dealer (alan vigil Ford) the next morning. They told me I needed a new steering rack. Parts will not be in for several days. They told me I could drive the vehicle until the parts arrive. I'll bring it back to them then.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #11

Jun 042012

Explorer 6-cyl Diesel

  • 12,000 miles

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

I own a 2011 Ford Explorer, I have had numerous failures to the electronic power steering assist. First time this happened I was along at about 65 mph and the steering wheel locked up and the warning lights started flashing "traction control" "power steering assist failures". steering wheel becomes very difficult to move and steer car. This has happened 1/2 dozen times, each time I slowly steer the car to a safe stop turn off the car and restart the car and error clears out. This last time it occurred as I was turning left from a left turn lane when suddenly in the M idle of the turn my power steering locked up. Fortunately I was traveling at very low speed, but I was not able to steer car and went onto oncoming lane again I was fortunate not to hit anyone. However, this time the problem did not clear itself and the car is at the local Ford dealer for 8 days now. The service manager says its a gear and Ford does not have it in stock!!!

- Pembroke Pines,, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
While pulling into a busy intersection (attempting to turn left at a T intersection) the power steering failed. I received errors on the cluster stating that power steering and stabilitrak had failed. I was unable to steer the car into traffic; luckily there was a driveway a few degrees off center from the T and I was able to pull in there.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #9

Jul 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
While the car was moving the dash annunciator came on and, in succession, indicated "terrain management system fault", "service advancetrac" and then "power steering assist off". this last one is a serious problem as this car is virtually impossible to steer/turn without power assist. The power steering assist stopped completely without warning. If I were at high speed, at a curve, or had to avoid another car or person, I would have been in big trouble. Some time later the car corrected itself. Then it happened a second time 9/10/2012.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #8

Aug 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 27,762 miles
I was traveling approx 60mph when an alert from the dash sounded, the steering wheel vibrated and 2 messages appeared on the onboard messaging system: 1) "power steering assist fault" and 2) "service advance trac". at that time I lost all power steering ability. I am very fortunate that I was driving on a straight stretch of road at the time as I am unsure if I could have kept the vehicle from going off of the road. I pulled over at a gas station and turned the car off. I restarted the car approx 5 min later and it had no warnings and the power steering had been restored. The next day, the exact same thing happened, except I was going approx 10mph turning left into the Ford dealership to let them look at this problem. They informed me today that they needed to order a new "rack" and that the part was "backordered" and had a delivery date of November (today's date is 8/27/12).

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #7

Jul 232012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles

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

I was making a right turn onto a service drive to go on the expressway. As I was completing the turn I lost the power steering & the car started to decelerate. I got 2 messages on the dashboard, the only one I paid attention to was "service advance track", I think the 2nd message was about a loss of power steering. If it was, it was because of the advance track breaking. I was able to pull over to the side of the road & stop the car. Shutting the car off & restarting did nothing to clear the problem. When I looked up advance track in the owner's manual it explicitly said if the advance track broke the car would decelerate & power steering would be lost & the car would need to be towed, it should not be driven if this happened. I then called the dealer & was told I would need to have the car towed in. When I called the next day I was told the part had been ordered & should be in on wed & then it would be installed. When I called on wed I was told the part was on a 2 week national backorder; which meant the part would not be in until Aug 9. it is now Aug 20 & the part has still not been received, I have no idea when the dealer expects delivery. The dealer has been very good about it & I am driving a rental car, paid for by Ford, until the repair is complete. Earlier in the year I had another problem with the throttle boot needing to be replaced & I wonder now if the 2 problems are related.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,500 miles
On July 4, 2012, was driving on the highway getting ready to exit in about 100 yards, as I was decreasing speed I heard and felt a light bang, the car seemed to surge like it was the transmission and brakes were pulsating, and had no power steering. Car pulled severely to the right almost hitting the guard rail, could not steer. Jammed on breaks, fortunately in the slow lane, and pulled over. Power steering light and hill descent control fault came on, shut the car off and turned it back on power steering then worked but the traction control light on center console did not work until the next day when I took it to the dealer. Dealer kept car for 2 days, returned it to me with no found no fault. On Sunday, July 22, 2012, the same thing happened at 30 mph, felt the car jump forward then the power steering assist light and hill descent light came on as well as another light (I took pics of the error messages). This time when I pulled over and restarted it, it did not work, let the car sit for 15 minutes still did not work, called the towline and no answer, so drove the car 3 miles to home with no power steering or traction control. Next day called dealer called dealer, and they said they could not take me in for another week, also stated they never heard of these issues, so I googled and found this website where other people are having the same problems. The traction control has happened numerous times (at least 10) and the power steering twice within 18 days.

- Riverdale, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jul 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
Driving on highway at highway speeds when the alerts for failure of the electronic stability control came on. We then realized that the power steering had failed and had difficulty steering the vehicle. Managed to get the vehicle off at an exit. Towed to dealer. Dealer not clear as to what happened and part to repair is on back order from Ford. Internet research demonstrated this is a common problem with 2011 Ford Explorer.

- Akton, OH, USA

problem #4

Jun 082012

Explorer

  • 43,878 miles
While driving my vehicle it lost power steering assist system showed "power steering assist failure" as well as "service traction control". this was the scariest feeling I have ever had. This has happen to my husband several times.. I immediately called my local Ford dealership spoke with service advisor. I was told to turn my vehicle off and restart it. I advised my service advisor that I had taken my vehicle in for service on April 30, 2012 (40197 miles) and I mention this same problem for repair. What is it going to take for Ford to realize that this is a serious, serious problem. I am afraid for my family to be in this car, we travel alot and I am refusing to drive it. I was afraid of purchasing an american car but loved the new Ford Explorer look and body. However, I don't think I'll ever purchase another Ford vehicle and I will trade this car asap........

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #3

May 142012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
While in operation vehicle lost power steering assist. Steering became extremely difficult. Warning message "power steering assist failure" followed by "service traction control " light are displayed. Shutting off vehicle and restart temporarily cleared the failure. Failed more than once.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #2

May 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,186 miles
While coming back to work from lunch, my wife was turning left into parking lot when the power steering assist fault light came on and steering became very stiff and hard to turn. Local Ford dealership picked up the car and kept for a week but could not duplicate the problem, so Ford would not let them fix the problem. Got the car back on Friday June 1, 2012 and drove the car as usual. Monday, June 4, 2012 on the way back to work from lunch, driving 40 mph, the power steering assist fault light came on and steering again became very stiff and hard to turn. Is it going to take a tragic accident from this apparent problem before Ford does anything. I am asking the NHTSA to please begin an investigation into this problem before my family or another family is seriously injured from this problem.

- Searcy, AR, USA

problem #1

Jan 092012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,500 miles
Ford Explorer 2011 has lost power steering and stability control at various speeds under various conditions 3 or 4 times over the past several months, including on the highway at 65 miles per hour. Steering is restored after shutting the car off and restarting. Stability controls may take several minutes to restore themselves or may need to have the car turned on and off several times to restore.

- Chagrin Falls, OH, USA

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