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 12 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #95

Aug 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 24,360 miles


While turning right at about 6 - 10 mph the steering failed and vehicle was extremely hard to control. Luckily no damage or injury, would have been very unsafe if happened at higher speed.

- Nicholasville, KY, USA

problem #94

Aug 222012


  • 15,000 miles
"terrain management assist fault" and "power steering assist fault" warning lights pop up and steering locks up while vehicle is in motion. Hard to regain control of steering and have to muscle car over to curb and turn off engine and restart car to get drivable this has happened on two occasions. Vehicle again at Ford dealer. First occasion last week and dealer could not replicate issue, reprogrammed computer and released us. Problem happened again this morning and car taken to dealer.

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #93

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 #92

Aug 272012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,700 miles


After stopping at a stop sign, I began to accelerate through an intersection. Approximately half way through the intersection, the power steering was lost and a chime sounded with a message stating"power assist failure" and then another message of "service advancetrac" were shown in the dashboard display. I was able to continue through the intersection and pull over to the side of the road. I turned the vehicle off and when I restarted it, the power steering was working again. This is the second time it has happened in this vehicle. The first time was in June of 2012, but I wasn't aware of this website to report the problem. I also did not make an appointment at the dealership for it to be looked at as it seemed like a rare event.

- Warren, PA, USA

problem #91

Aug 222012


  • 26,000 miles
Driving along and the power steering has failed three times. Turn car off and restart and it works again. Taking to Ford dealer on August 27 for review. Same as inhtsa action number: PE12017.

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #90

Aug 162012


  • 45,300 miles
The management terrain and power assist warning lights came on. Then I had no power steering. It became very difficult to steer and control car. This has happened at low speed 3 times and at a dead stop 3 times. I have been able to reset by turning the car off and re-starting.

- Highland Park, NJ, USA

problem #89

Aug 242012


  • 12,000 miles


I was driving down a steep and curvy road and the steering locked and the power steering failure light came on along with the all terrain assistance failure light. Luckily no one was behind me and I was able to pull over... I turned the car off and the failure light remained for both the power steering and all terrain. I turned the car off when I arrived at my destination and the fault came back about 10 minutes later when I was driving home. I have an 8 month old child and I am afraid to drive this car. We have had nothing but problems with this vehicle... about a year ago the sync system totally crapped out and the vehicle was sitting at the dealer for about a month. We pay about $700 a month for this on a lease and can't wait to turn it back in.

- Hackettstown, NJ, USA

problem #88

Aug 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,500 miles
A warning message saying "service autotrac" came on, following quickly by a power steering warning message. At that point, I could no longer steer the vehicle enough to continue driving.

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #87

Aug 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,450 miles
I was pulling out of my garage and only got about 6 feet out of the garage and I immediately lost power steering - there was a message showing on the dash "power steering module fault". 2 days before this happened there was a very hard shaking in the front end. You could see the front passenger seat shake. The Ford dealer said that was caused by a problem with the drive shaft. And also said that Ford is aware of people having problems with the drive shaft also.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #86

Aug 152012


  • 27,500 miles
I was slowing down and getting into the left turn lane. The light was green so I started to turn left and the traction light system came on, both lights, and the steering system failure alert came on and I lost all power steering and almost hit a pole. It was a nice day, no rain or moisture. The pavement was dry.

- Sharpsburg, GA, USA

problem #85

Aug 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 16,000 miles


Started parked Explorer and went to back up. The power assist steering fault light came on at the same time as the service advance trac light. I was unable to turn the vehicle at all.tried backing up and going forward but the steering wheel would not move. Next I shut the engine off and turned it back on. The failure lights would not clear and the steering was still locked. Called our local Ford dealer and they me try restarting several times. Eventually the process worked and the steering came advised to bring the vehicle in right away.local dealer provided a rental car. Dealer called the next day and said our Explorer was not safe to drive. Dealer ordered replacement steering rack. Projected date for replacement part is November 9. our dealer has been great. I am not sure even when the car is repaired will I trust it.

- Chester, CT, USA

problem #84

Aug 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 21,900 miles
On three separate occasions within the past two weeks the power steering has failed. The most recent event occurred while my wife was driving at highway speeds. She said the car was uncontrollable and she had to brake to a stop in the travel lane. The problem can be resolved temporarily by shutting off the ignition and power and restarting, but it is obviously a recurring issue.

- Concord, MA, USA

problem #83

Jul 232012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
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 #82

Jul 282012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 12,100 miles
While traveling down a highway at approximately 70 mph the power steering went out on our Ford Explorer. Obviously this was not a good situation. We almost caused an accident. We pulled to the side of the road. Shut the car off. Eventually restarted the vehicle and continued on our travels. When we returned home from vacation we contacted Ford and they now have our Explorer in their shop and we have been driving a rental car for 2 weeks. Several weeks prior to this when I started the vehicle to back it out of the garage the power steering had failed and the warning light was on. I shut the vehicle off and restarted it and the power seemed to work fine. I had no other issues with it until the 7/28/12 incident described above.

- Ephrata, PA, USA

problem #81

Aug 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,952 miles
Vehicle was traveling on an interstate when three warnings came up, all referring back to the power steering. The vehicle became extremely difficult to turn. We were able to move the vehicle off to the side of the road. Vehicle was turned off and seem to reset. We then drove the vehicle to the dealership where it still sits.

- Warrensburg, NY, USA

problem #80

Aug 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
Power steering failed in my 2011 Ford Explorer while on the highway. Was able to pull to the side safely but was a very dangerous situation with my 2 young boys in the car.

- Weatogue, CT, USA

problem #79

Aug 112012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 42,834 miles
Power steering failure when driving at speeds of 10-15 miles per hour. The power steering locked up without warning and then the power steering fault light came on. I was able to pull over to the side of the road with but with great difficulty. I shut the vehicle off and immediately turned the vehicle back on and the power steering did not return. I shut the vehicle off a second time and let it sit for 60 seconds and the second time the power steering returned. Two days later when driving in a parking lot the power steering went out again, I shut the vehicle off and restarted it after 60 seconds and the power steering came back on.

- Ruther Glen, VA, USA

problem #78

Aug 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,472 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph the power steering assist failed message came on the instrument panel, immediately after it became extremely difficult to make any turns or maneuver the steering wheel. The contact mentioned that after powering off and restarting, the vehicle was performing as normal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure who filed a report and did not offer any further assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 28,472 and the current mileage was 29,600. Updated 09/21/12 the consumer the ABS and traction control failures and related messages appeared on the instrument panel's message center. The dealer found a diagnostic code for the speed sensors. The vehicle was repaired. Updated 09/27/2012

- Fort Worth , TX, USA

problem #77

Aug 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 23,700 miles
Driving my Explorer at a speed of 45 mph a warning light came on and said the power steering had failed. Which it had. Also received warnings my traction control had failed. Stop vehicle and turned off and restarted. The problem reset it self. This occurred twice within 5 days.

- Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #76

Aug 092012


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering failed with the illumination of the warning light. The steering wheel then seized and the contact was barely able to maneuver the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was notified and they stated that there was nothing that could be done and to take the vehicle to the dealer for inspection. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Orwigsburg, PA, USA

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