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 15 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

Jul 102012


  • 26,000 miles


As the vehicle was being driven home from work the power steering went out making it very difficult to control the vehicle. A warning light also appeared on the dashboard indicating that the power steering wasn't functioning properly. The vehicle was safely pulled over to the side of the road and the ignition was turned off. After a few moments the vehicle was restarted and the power steering seemed to be functioning properly and that specific warning message disappeared from the dash. However, upon restart, additional dashboard warning lights indicating that there was a problem with the traction control appeared.

- Chesterbrook, PA, USA

problem #34

Jul 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,390 miles
While parked with the vehicle running, the steering assist fault light came on and the steering locked up. I was not able to turn the wheel. I restarted the engine and it worked fine. I am concerned that this will happen while I am driving.

- Stephenville, TX, USA

problem #33

Jul 092012


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph the power steering failed. The contact was able to control the vehicle by exiting to the shoulder. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed the failure and stated that there was a national shortage on the component for the vehicle to be repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure and current mileage was 37,000.

- West Milford, NJ, USA

problem #32

Jun 232012


  • 32,000 miles


When the vehicle was started, the power steering was not functioning. The dash message center showed a power steering assist fault. This had happened a couple of times in the past but turning the vehicle off and then back on solved the problem on prior occasions. This time the power steering continued to fail after multiple times of turning the vehicle off and back on. This malfunction made the vehicle very difficult to steer and maneuver.

- Mars Hill, NC, USA

problem #31

Apr 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
I was starting to back out of a parking lot and the stabilitrac lights came on. The steering got tight and there was little movement to turn the wheel right or left. I pulled a few feet back in the parking stall, turned the car off, and restarted it again. Everything seemed fine for a mile or so and the lights came back on. I could barely turn the wheel. I got a tow to the dealership. They had to order and replace the steering pump. This happened a second time three days ago, on 7/2/12. The dealership had to again replace the steering pump. I have no confidence that this will not happen again. This second time I had my two 7-year-olds in the car and was traveling about 40mph down a major street. The same lights came on and the steering wheel tightened. I could barely turn the wheel. Luckily I was close to home, but still had to make 5 turns. I was turning the steering wheel so hard that I felt like I was going to break it. It took all my arm strength to make the turns. I would turn the signal on and it would blink once and go off also. It is scary when it happens and as mentioned, I have no faith that it won't happen again. And this vehicle is just now a year old.

- Fountain Valley, CA, USA

problem #30

Jun 302012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,837 miles
Unfortunately, for such a great truck, the power steering has failed three times on my vehicle which has only just over 14K miles on it. It occurred the first time around the 11K mile point in which the power steering failed for no reason going ~40mph. The dashboard displayed a message stating "power steering assist fault." This is the same message that was displayed on all three occasions. Upon turning the truck off and back on, everything was back to normal. The fault occurred again at 13837 miles (I have a picture) and again just today at around 14100. After the initial fault, I took the truck to the local Ford dealer who advised that there was nothing they could do to assist as the onboard computer does not 'document the issue'. I was advised to monitor the situation and if it happens again to leave the car running and contact the dealership who will then tow the truck to its location. Easier said than done when you are in the middle of a major three lane road in the DC suburbs. It's most convenient to wrestle the truck to the next traffic light and restart which resolves the issue. I am obviously very frustrated with it - I bought the truck in late July 2011 for $48,000 (sticker price). So far I have not had any toddlers in the car during these incidents but it is just a matter of time. Hoping for some guidance and good customer service from Ford.

- North Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #29

May 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 24,750 miles


Loss of power steering at slow speeds (multiple times). "power steering assist fault" light on dashboard. Power steering returns after turning off and restarting car.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #28

May 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I was driving down the interstate, getting ready to exit. I heard a beep, indicating a warning on the instrument panel. A warning appeared stating 'power steering assist disabled.'. the power steering no longer worked. I took my foot off the accelerator and made it over to the side of the road. I turned the car off, waited several minutes, and started car again. Problem resolved.

- Chapin, SC, USA

problem #27

Apr 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 24,953 miles
There were actually 4 incidents; the first one I was backing into a parking spot and the power steering quit working. I turned off the engine, started it again and was able to park. The next day I was waiting in traffic & it died, the steering wheel wouldn't work; we then took the car into the dealer & he supposedly fixed it. We told them that a message flashed "power steering assault". each incident, that message appeared. The third time I was driving and the power steering went out, then the car wouldn't start again & had to have it towed into the dealer. They supposedly 'fixed' it again. Then we were on a trip, 600 miles from home on the interstate and the power steering quit working. We pulled over, stopped. It then started again and we finished our trip. Then took it back to the dealer where he did order a new part. We got the car back last week on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, and today is July 1, 2012. They replaced the steering gear assembly.

- Hot Springs Village, AR, USA

problem #26

May 172012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the power steering randomly failed. In addition, the power steering fault light illuminated on the instrument panel followed by the illumination of the service advance track warning light. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the dealer could not determine what was causing the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was unknown, but the current mileage was 20,000. Updated 08-07-12

- Cannonsburg, PA, USA

problem #25

Jun 222012


  • 15,000 miles


Power steering failed while driving. Traction assist control also failed at the same time. Shutting the engine off and restarting brought the power steering back but not the traction control. The traction control began functioning again after the truck sat for about 8 hours.

- Greenwood, WI, USA

problem #24

Jun 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,020 miles
I was in the middle of a left hand turn when the power steering went out at approx 10-15 mph - the fault code appeared & alarm sounded-I had to "muscle" the steering wheel to complete my turn while nearly going over the curb into a business. My first reaction was that the engine had stalled but when the fault showed again & alarm sounded this time it was showing that the terrain management system had failed. As it was a 2-3 mile straight road to my Ford dealer & I drove there. After arriving at the dealer I shut off the engine, reported what happened. The service advisor started the vehicle & the power steering had reset. They put the vehicle on the diagnostic unit & it showed a steering gear & steering gear module/communication sensor(?) needed replacement. It was ordered & installed on 6/18/12 & has not failed sense then. I mentioned an injury - it was to my right shoulder as I have a total shoulder implant. I hurt it "muscling" the steering wheel to straightening the vehicle out.

- Carleton, MI, USA

problem #23

Jun 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,969 miles
Started vehicle and received terrain management warning, power steering fault and traction control fault. Vehicle electronic power steering not working and terrain management system also disabled. Will have to drive to dealership without power steering. Shut off vehicle multiple times and restarted. Same warnings and result.

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #22

Jun 072012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 19,200 miles
Warning light for terrain management come on. Then power steering fault light came on. In a split second I realized I had no control over the vehicle. I hit the brakes and came to a stop taking all my strength to turn the wheel as hard as I could to get safely off the highway. Very dangerous situation if I would have been on a curve or interstate.

- Grottoes, VA, USA

problem #21

Jun 232012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 18,900 miles
I was slowing down to make a right turn into a strip mall and the wheel didnt turn at all until I put both hands on the wheel and fought the wheel with both arms to turn. A message on my lcd screen said power steering failure. I had to turn the truck off and back on and the steering was fine, I thought. About 20 miles later the truck did the same failure again. I turned the truck off and back on. It just had a cooling fan tsb performed at Ford yesterday, dealer says that has nothing to do with this, but this Explorer is one big computer so im not too sure since they told me a re-program was done for the fans. Please investigate this as this is will cause a huge accident at some point for some Explorer owner. I am taking this back to the dealer Monday for a loaner.

- West Milford, NJ, USA

problem #20

Jun 172012


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who ran a diagnostic test and could not duplicate the failure. The dealer repaired the steering rack. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 25,000.

- Olrando, FL, USA

problem #19

Jun 072012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 7,800 miles
Please be advised that the afore noted vehicle, on June 7th, 2012 on or about 5pm was involved in a single vehicle accident on route 63 at mt Washington, St. Croix. She was travelling southward on route 63 crossing the small bridge entering a sharp right hand turn in the road. She experienced a sudden, instantaneous, loss of response in the steering and braking of the vehicle. As a consequence, in the few seconds following, the vehicle left the roadway and struck a wooden utility pole.

- Kingshill, VI, USA

problem #18

Jun 162012


  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering malfunctioned and the power steering warning lamp illuminated on the instrument panel. The steering wheel then became very difficult to maneuver and the driver experienced difficulty controlling the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 17,000.

- Litchfield Park , AZ, USA

problem #17

Jun 082012


  • 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 #16

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

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