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 16 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

May 312011


  • 8,500 miles


My wife was attempting to turn left in heavy traffic when there seemed to be a disconnect between the steering wheel and front wheels. She could turn the steering wheel but the car would not respond. She was able to stop without hitting anyone. She got the "power assist failure" message. After shutting the car off and restarting, the problem seemed to be resolved. The dealership found a "power steering control module" failure and has replaced the steering gear. The service manager advised us that since we had a new one, we should have no more problems. I reminded him that the previous one was new when we bought the car.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #14

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 #13

May 222012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
While traveling downtown columbia at approximately 15 mph, my service tracking default light comes on and then power steering default light comes on, my steering wheel completely locks up, luckily, I was not making a turn at the time I would have nailed another car or a person, I immediately turned off the car and restarted it, power steering began to work but the service tracking default light came back on. I am very worried to put my two children in this car now, dealership is having me bring in the vehicle tomorrow and I am seriously considering buying an extended warranty on this car, I have had Explorer in the past and never had a problem, but I don't know that I will buy another one after the issues with this car. This is a very serious issue, Ford needs to get off their butts and get this fixed, someone could seriously get hurt. Serious law suit waiting to happen.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #12

Apr 182012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 15,108 miles


It happened again, six days after my vehicle's first steering problem. When I started my 2011 Explorer on the morning of 4/18/12, the "power steering assist failure" light came on and my power steering was gone. As instructed by my Ford dealer, I left the vehicle on and called them. They immediately sent a flatbed tow truck, which towed my vehicle, while still running, to the Ford dealership. They checked for problems and made repairs, and I quote, "install new eps gear removed subframe and install new epas gear programmed as built datae and cleared dtcs performed 2 wheel alignment test drive operation good." In layman terms, they replaced the power steering from the steering column to the front wheels and did a 2 wheel alignment. It took only 1 full day since the parts were ordered overnight. I hope that has solved the power steering problem. I am extremely pleased with the concern and service my local Ford dealer provided.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #11

Apr 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 24,200 miles
2011 Ford Explorer was parked. Started car and power steering failure light came on alarms sounding and steering wheel was locked, yet car would back up...straight. Prior to this incident when car was stopped at a light it seemed to have a transmission slip or jump. After waiting for an hour for tow truck the Explorer started fine and steering seemed to work. Too nervous to drive. Car was towed to Ford dealer.

- Raleigh , NC, USA

problem #10

Apr 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,014 miles
While slowing for a stop light, I felt a clunk in the steering column and then my 2011 Explorer lost power steering. I slowed and turned (with all my strength) to stop on a side street. The "power assist failure" light was on as well as the little traction control cars on the lower right of the display screen. The lights on the 4-wheel drive center-console did not work either. A message also appeared to service advancetrac immediately. I turned the car off and called for assistance. Then started it up to drive to the local Ford dealer. Of course, then the vehicle reset everything and the power steering was restored. The Ford dealer could not detect any error messages during their computer check-up. They said if it happens again, don't turn the car off so they can run a check-up on it while the power steering is not working. So now I am praying every time I drive it.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #9

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

problem #8

Mar 232012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,781 miles
As we were slowing for a stop sign on a curve, the steering wheel literally jerked out of my husband's hands, straightening the wheels. A warning bell went off and the dash displayed "power assist failure." It was impossible to move the wheel. After turning off the engine and restarting, steering returned to normal. The dealer had a previous Explorer with the same problem which was corrected by replacing the power steering control module. There are several other identical incidents recorded on this site and other internet forums, all eventually repaired in the same manner. Ford, however, will not approve warranty repair because they cannot duplicate the failure at the dealership or retrieve an error code, saying they "can't fix something if they don't know what the problem really is." They want us to drive a car with a serious and frightening safety issue until it fails completely or causes an accident for which they will deny responsibility since "there is nothing for them to repair." Ford's regional customer service manager also refused to document the complaint or denial in writing.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 122012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,210 miles
2nd time it happens first time while driving at 40 mph or above the steering light came on and the SUV was unable to steer, pull over and turn car and re started and gain steering took car to the dealer reset the light and was told it was ok. At 5000 miles it happen again but this time it happens while trying to get off the highway light came on and steering wheel got hard. This time unable to drive it tow home. Talk to Ford and was told to take it to the dealer and we look in to it but, I think is not normal for a car not to have a safety back up plan when this fail. And very unsafe know it could happen any time with no warning. Even if Ford claim it will fix it.what will prevent from this happening at a very odd time and it may cause lots of injury. They said it does not have enough complaint for them to look in to this. But I said 1 complaint with multiple occurrence should be enough for the to at least pay attention or look in to a safety plan in case it does fail.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #6

Feb 212012


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the power steering failed while driving approximately 5 mph. The power steering light illuminated while the failure occurred. The steering became hard to turn to the left or right and once the vehicle was shut off and restarted, the steering return to normal function. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed but the vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 14,000 and the current mileage was 14,100.

- Aptos, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 272011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 3,000 miles


"power steering assist fault" has come on 7-10 times to date as of 1-26-2012. After turning off the ignition and re-starting the engine, the warning went away and I regained power steering. I am getting a warning service traction control. Once I restart the car 4-5 times the warning light goes away. I am so afraid of driving this vehicle. So far it's happened going minimal speeds 10-45 mph. What does one do if this happens going 70 on an interstate.

- Chalmette, LA, USA

problem #4

Sep 012011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Letter from re few defects in my 2011 Ford Explorer remain after the dealers repeated repair attempts. These issues distract me while driving and it is a concern to my safety as well the consumer stated the main issue was the steering; the steering wheel was not straight and when driving, the vehicle pulled in the opposite direction. The shift increased when increasing speed. Also, the A/C unit changed temperatures by itself. The brake warning light illuminated and the touch and sync did not work. The consumer believed the software needed to be updated as his phone and or MP3 player kept getting disconnected. When using the sync service to request directions it kept misinterpreting the commands, as well as disconnecting when downloading a route. On one occasions, the entire system failed and the screen went blank.

- North Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #3

Sep 012011


  • 10,982 miles
Power steering failed while the vehicle was in motion and turning a corner. Manual steering is extremely difficult.

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #2

Aug 132011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 3,454 miles
2011 Ford Explorer 4WD is programmed to send 100% power to the front wheels during normal driving. Upon sudden acceleration especially going uphill the subsequent torque steer is overwhelming to the driver. Can be so severe it can rip the wheel from the hands of the driver. This needs to addressed with programming to better distribute power to all 4 wheels.

- Indio, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 032011


  • 4,000 miles
Power steering failure while driving. Turning vehicle off and on then causes power steering to work again. Has happened multiple times. Dealer did not find an issue at first visit. Scheduled for second dealer visit. We fear significant loss of control while driving.

- Mount Pleasant , SC, USA

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