Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,250 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 11 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #115

Sep 212012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 24,050 miles


As I was driving through the mall parking lot, power steering failed & several warning lights lit up. I was in process of turning when power assist failed and I almost struck a parked car. I turned the vehicle off and restarted (power assist was then working). I immediately drove to my Ford dealership where it was discovered I needed a new steering rack assembly. To the best of my knowledge, this incident is consistent with NHTSA case PE12-017.

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #114

Jul 202012


  • 6,200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering assist would fail and cause the steering wheel to become inoperable. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that they were aware of the failure but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and offered no additional assistance. The failure mileage was 6,200 and the current mileage was 6,400.

- State Island , NY, USA

problem #113

Sep 142012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I was backing out of my driveway and when I tried to turn the wheel I could not. There was a warning lite on the left of dash that came on showing power assist steering failure. Turned car off then back on and it reset and was now working.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #112

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 #111

May 012012


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated while driving and caused the steering to become hard to turn. The engine had to be shut off for a moment to reset the steering to normal function. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer a diagnostic was performed that located the failure at the steering column. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 6,000 and the current mileage was 7,000.

- Thibodaux, LA, USA

problem #110

Sep 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 42,734 miles
During a late afternoon drive on the local freeway and under dry weather conditions, I was driving my 2010 Ford Explorer at approx. 70 mph when suddenly the luxury of power steering vanished. Immediately, it was difficult to steer, especially when driving on surface streets at slower speeds and attempts to park. Within moments of the power steering going away, a pop-up window appeared on my dash board instructing me of a power steering problem and inviting me to bring it to the attention of the local Ford dealer. I reached my destination and turned off the car. After several hours, I turned on the car and the power steering was restored. After several weeks, I was again driving the local freeway at 70 mph under dry weather conditions and the same experience occurred. I again reached my destination, turned off the car and attended to my duties. Again, after several hours, I turned on the car and found no pop-up windows on the dash board or power steering difficulties. I have taken it in to the local Ford dealer and was told that it needed a new steering gear, which is presently on order and should be in within the next week.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #109

Sep 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


I was driving my parents and my toddler daughter back from visting a sibling (approx. 5 hour drive) when we stopped briefly to take a break about 2 1/2 hours away from home. When I started the car up again, I received warnings related to a power steering failure and advance trac failure. The car had no power steering and there appeared to be something wrong with the blinkers as well. On Tuesday, following labor day) I took the vehicle to the dealership where I had purchased it for repair. More than a week later, I was informed that the part was on backorder with Ford until October 1st and that there was a waiting list to get the part and there were almost 1000 people on the wait list ahead of me. I'm greatful that I had an extended warranty, however, even under the warranty they only have to provide a rental car for 10 days. I'm hopeful that the dealership will do the right thing and keep me in a car until sometime in hopefully October or November when they can repair the vehicle. I believe this to be a manufacturing defect which should be covered under the original warranty regardless of mileage. This appears to be happening to a number of people and is both a safety hazard as well as possibly a deceptive trade practice.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #108

Sep 112012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
While driving approximately 40 mph the power steering light came on and the power steering immediately stopped working on my 2011 Ford Explorer. Luckily there was a turn lane to my right I could move into to stop the car and attempt to reset the system. I was lucky. I can only imagine what could happen if this were to happen on a winding mountain road. I took my Explorer to the closest dealer to be looked at. I was told they would have to order the parts and that it would cost $1600 to fix. This vehicle is less than 2 years old. The design of this steering system is potentially fatal no steering system should ever fail without warning!

- Monticello, GA, USA

problem #107

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 #106

Aug 302012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Power steering failed.

- Travelers Rest, SC, USA

problem #105

Sep 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,004 miles


Started to back out of the garage and the steering wouldn't move. Chime went on and "power steering assist fault" appeared in the display next to the speedometer. Shut the car off waited then restarted the car and things functioned normally. Will call Ford dealer as this could be dangerous, steering was very, very hard to move and I'm a healthy male in the mid 40's. I don't know what my wife would do if this happened at highway speed.

- Westfield, IN, USA

problem #104

Jun 122012


  • 32,500 miles
The car's power steering went out while driving around 10 mph pulling out of a gas station. The screen said it was a power steering failure. Turned car off and turned back on and it went away, however it happened once more later around 5 mph.

- Fortson, GA, USA

problem #103

Sep 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,700 miles
I was driving on a major hwy when I lost the ability to properly steer the vehicle at 55 mph, luckily I was able to get to the side of the road with a lot of effort. At the time my 4 year old and 4 month old were in the vehicle and luckily no one was injured. I called my husband in a panic and he came to pick me up. When he got there the power steering fault light was on and the terrain management system would not engage. After turning the vehicle off and on the steering came back but the warning light was still on. He drove the vehicle straight to the dealer and they are in the process of figuring out what is wrong.

- New Castle, DE, USA

problem #102

Aug 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 33,651 miles
This vehicle has experienced multiple (20+) power steering failures. It typically occurs while I am driving on the taconic state parkway, a 55 mph road in westchester county, NY. The power steering failure occurs quickly with little time for the driver to react. You simply get a small chime with an indicator on the dash stating "power assist failure' followed by a message stating 'power steering failure'. by the time you read the message, you already know what has happened as you have no power steering the moment the chime is heard. The latest incident occurred as I was turning off the exit ramp for the taconic state parkway onto a local road to go home. Half way through the turn, the power steering failed and I almost drove my car into another car at the intersection. With my strength, I was able to turn the wheel to complete the turn. Otherwise, it would have been a head on collision intop a car stopped in the intersection. Had this been my pregnant wife, it would have been a scary result. This car was brought to the local Ford dealer (pleasantville Ford) several months ago to have this issue addressed. They claimed at the time that it was due to a crossed wire that was fixed. The problem has continued to occur, and they presently have a new rack and pinion steering system on order from Ford to try and address the issue. Based on the latest occurrence, as well as a slew of other electrical issues with the vehicle, I am dropping it at the dealer today as I no longer deem it safe to be driven. I am extremely upset with Ford and their product over this issue.

- Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA

problem #101

Aug 142012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while stopped, the traction control and power steering warning lights illuminated. The contact turned on vehicle and the power steering assist failed. The contact had to turn the vehicle off and restart in order to resolve failure momentarily however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection but the technicians were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 26,000. The current mileage was 27,000. Updated 10/17/12 the consumer stated the last time the failure happened, the dealer replaced the power steering unit and reprogrammed the control module. Updated 10/18/12

- Eastlake , OH, USA

problem #100

Sep 042012


  • 15,000 miles
Driving slow speed with 1year old and 3 year old babies power steering failed. Warning light came on. Gladly I was close to home and vehicle was picked up by roadside assistance will see what Ford says tomorrow.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #99

Sep 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
Power steering stopped working. Cannot drive car. Error message "power steering assist fault".

- Alanson, MI, USA

problem #98

Sep 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,800 miles
As coasting to a stop light from approximately 35 mph down to 5 and maybe even completely stopped, the service advance trac warning light came on and then noticed power steering was nearly lost. I was in the left lane and was able to pull over to a side street, stop and restart the car, and then it drove fine. Taking it into a dealer for evaluation today and have notified a Ford person via online message board.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #97

Aug 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I was making a left hand turn, when the warning message came on letting me know the "power steering assist failed" and then lost all power for steering. I was able to pull over, stop & restart the vehicle and the power steering came back. I immediately took the car to the dealership and the electrical power steering unit will have to be replaced along with the 'rack & pinion' attachments. I tow a boat from time to time and this could have developed into a dangerous situation, as the vehicle was extremely difficult to steer. Fortunately, I was close to a parking lot at the time and I was able to perform the restart.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #96

Jan 112012


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the steering wheel locked and the steering warning indicator illuminated. The contact suddenly crashed into the proceeding vehicle. There were no personal injuries. The vehicle was driven to an authorized dealer where the radiator, front bumper and grill were replaced. The technician was unable to determine the cause of the steering malfunction. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 15,000.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

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