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 2 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #295

Jun 012015


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering). The vehicle was taken to the dealer to service the vehicle under the recall, where the power steering control module software was updated. The contact mentioned that shortly after the repairs while driving approximately 40 mph, the electric power steering warning light had illuminated and a loud noise near the front end of the vehicle was present. The loud noise was dominant when steered left and right. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for diagnostic testing and the mechanic stated that the steering rack assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 49,000.

- Cincinnatti, OH, USA

problem #294

May 262015


  • 68,000 miles
While driving on the interstate, the power assisted steering failed, and two alerts appeared (service power steering*, and something about the terrain management. I was able steer the vehicle (with a large amount of effort) to the dealership for service.

- Chester, VA, USA

problem #293

Dec 212014


  • 47,607 miles
Ref, previous case 10667813... just curious … saw Ford had several 2011 vehicles added to recalls, but not Explorer for this cause … wonder why, since our experience was exactly what the other recalls were … lost power steering assist, could not control vehicle. Was electrical steering gear malfunction at 47,000 miles bill yarnell 419-349-4874

- Maumee, OH, USA

problem #292

May 252015


  • 71,000 miles


Started car, and power steering fault warning displayed on the dash. I turned off the car, waited for about 10 seconds, and then started the car again. This time everything works fine. I go down the road about 15-20 minutes. I pull over for about 5 minutes while leaving the car running. I get back in and start driving. It looses power steering again. I try to start the vehicle several times, and it continues to have no power steering. I do some research and find that there has been a recall for this very issue. I take it to the nearest Ford dealer and have them look at it. They said the recall is closed and will not take care of the issue. They say it had the software issue fixed last year before I owned the car. This time it is a part failure and will cost $1500. I do not think the issue was fixed in the first place when the recall was issued.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #291

Mar 232015


  • 52,000 miles
Car power steering wheel locked on 3/23/15. Brought it to sam galloway Ford in ft. Myers, Florida. Had part numbers bb5Z3504re (1 gear asy-ste), W712961-S439 (bolt), W716182-S439 (2 bolts) replaced. Labor and parts came to $1,567.53. Saw on this site that this make and model (not this VIN) had been recalled for similar incident. Ford would not reimburse us for this problem. On August 4, 2014, after receiving a recall notice 14S06, the car was brought to friendly Ford in poughkeepsie, NY for a power steering issue. Ford said that that visit resolved the power steering issue. As the owner of this vehicle, I feel that the issue was not resolved since we had a subsequent incident on 3/23/15.

- New Paltz, NY, USA

problem #290

Apr 272015


  • 83,000 miles
In April 2015, I had two instances in which my vehicle lost power steering with a corresponding "power steering assist fault" message. I, fortunately, was in a parking lot both times and was able to steer to a parking space, turn off the ignition and restart the car (as advised in the owners manual). In researching the issue, I discovered a recall notice for power steering issues. I took my car in for service on April 23rd to have the service performed. On April 27th, when I started the car to pull out of my garage at home, I realized that I had no power steering. Turning off the ignition and restarting no longer worked. I contacted the dealership who performed the recall service. Because the power steering was working when I took the car in for the recall service, they performed the basic reset and sent me on my way. Ford is telling me that because they had serviced the recall once, they consider it to be repaired and will not cover the repair of the failed power steering. Fortunately I was not traveling down the interstate at 65 mph when my power steering failed, otherwise it could have been tragic. I cannot believe Ford is refusing to repair a known defect that was serious enough to warrant a recall.

- Liberty, SC, USA

problem #289

Apr 012014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 89,162 miles


Upon starting the vehicle a warning appeared on the dash stating that the power steering assist had failed. Turning the car off and restarting it cleared the problem. When the vehicle went in for service in August of 2014 there was a recall from Ford (14S06) that reprogrammed the computer module. After the service there were still intermittent occasions where the warning appeared, but it always went away when cycling the engine off then back on. On April 27. 2015 the warning again appeared, but would not disappear when the off/on cycle was completed. Attempted this multiple times throughout the day, but the warning persisted. Had vehicle towed to the purchasing dealership.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #288

Apr 142015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Summary: Updating the software does not fix the żloss of power steeringť problem under Ford recall 140S06 for 2011 Ford Explorer. Power steering still fails after the software update. However, Ford rejects to cover the cost of replacing the steering rack to fix the problem if the customer has done software update; Ford agrees to cover it only if customer has not done software update. Basically if you are given remedy option 1 which is updating software by the dealer, then you lose the right for remedy option 2 which is replacing gear for this recall regardless if option 1 has fixed the problem or not. This is not right! in July 2014, I brought my car to the dealership after receiving power steering recall letter. They could not detect the power steering error code at that time, so simply they updated the software. But I still occasionally experienced the same error message, and it happened more often later on, until last week April 14th, 2015, the message stayed on, and I lost the power steering completely in a parking lot. I called Ford customer service on April 17th to open a case #[xxx] requesting to replace the steering gear under the recall 140S06 at no cost. After a few days' prolonged back and forth with the dealer and Ford, my case was denied by Ford. The reason given to me is that the software update was completed so my recall case was closed and it will not be covered to replace steering gear. When I asked about the recall 12month/12K warranty that I am still within, Ford insisted that it only covers the software that was updated. But I believe the recall is meant to address the problem of loss of power steering, if the same problem exists, meaning software update does not work, the warranty should cover the recall remedy option 2 to replace the gear for a real fix. No way will a software update fix a physical hardware defect. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #287

Mar 022015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a loud noise coming from the steering wheel and it was extremely difficult to turn. The vehicle was serviced under a power steering manufacturer's recall, but the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer more than three times where a code was reset, but the failure persisted. On another occasion, while driving, the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was taken to a dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Monroe, AL, USA

problem #286

Apr 072015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 57,650 miles
Several occasions turning on vehicle system reports power steering assist fault, service advance traction control - power steering failed, and steering wheel very difficult to turn. Turning off and back on had made it go away before, then did not. Power steering assist service advance traction and terrain management systems all failed, truck nearly impossible to steer. I believe this to be an extremely dangerous issue, if power steering goes out, and the wheel is that difficult to turn driving in any condition becomes a potentially hazardous activity. I live in a rural area, roads are very curvy, often scattered with loose debris (sand, salt, gravel) if paved, or just gravel in some areas, and safe navigation of these roads to get to my home would be impossible. I have discovered that Ford has issued a recall for vehicles assembled in the Chicago plant, between 5/2010 and 2/2012, for exactly this problem, and though this vehicle meets those criteria, there is not a recall on my vehicle.

- Unionville, IN, USA

problem #285

Mar 072015


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that driving at 45 mph, the steering wheel seized. In addition, the contact stated that power steering failure, service power assist was displayed across the message board. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the power steering needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Roscommon, MI, USA

problem #284

Mar 192015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 77,987 miles
Cranked up vehicle, put it in reverse and began to move backwards. Heard a chime and at the same time lost power steering. There was a "power steering assist fault" message box on the left side of the dash. I stopped; put it in park and turned it off. After restarting it was ok. This has been happening the past couple of weeks to my wife however and she will not drive it anymore. I have contacted my Ford service dept. That handles the maintenance of the vehicle and informed them of the problem and that I received recall notice 14S06 in July 2014 talking about this very issue. They did a reprogram to the software which obviously did not "fix" the problem. It stipulates in that recall that if the update does not fix the issue that the steering gear is to be replaced free of charge. I have requested a date in a couple of weeks for work to be done as I am almost 3 hours from the dealer / service dept.

- Shallotte, NC, USA

problem #283

Mar 042015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 73,087 miles
When backing the vehicle out of a parking space a tone sounded, a warning message "power steering assist fail" came on and the vehicle became impossible to steer. After cycling the ignition the problem went away. It occurred again two days later in a similar situation (low speed) and again went away after cycling the ignition. Ford dealer diagnosed as "code U3000 failure type 49 internal electronic failure, need to replace electronic steering gear - part bb5Z 3504 D".

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #282

Mar 112015


  • 62,000 miles
Power steering failed while driving.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #281

Feb 282015


  • 44,000 miles
My Ford Explorer had a recall (14S06) so I took it into my dealer and had them to the update. Aprox 1000 miles later my power steering completely went out and now the bill could be as high as 1500 dollars and Ford won't cover it because I already had the recall fixed once. Could you tell me what I can do to not have to pay this large amount?

- Riverside, IA, USA

problem #280

Nov 242005


  • 70,000 miles
On 08-2014, I received a letter from Ford Motor Co. Indicating that I had a recall on my 2011 Ford Explorer and that. The affected vehicles may experience an intermittent connection in the electric power steering gear, which can cause a loss of the motor position sensor signal resulting in a shut down of the power steering assist. And that the recall would prevent the loss of power steering. I took my vehicle to the to the Ford house and the said recall was performed. If I understood correctly my vehicle should not loose power to the power steering. Wrong. Approximately 3-4 weeks later my vehicle lost power to the power steering. This is the one thing the recall was suppose to prevent. It is clear to me that the work done to my vehicle did not fix the problem. After paying $1,400 to repair my vehicle I contacted Ford Motor Company co. In hopes that they would reimburse me because my problem was never fix to begin with. Ford Motor Co. Advised that they had performed the work necessary to prevent my power steering for going out but could not explain how it went out anyway. Ford Motor Co. Never fixed my problem to begin with and are refusing to fix it now. I don't know why they would send a real stating that it is going to prevent something but it does not. This is a problem that could potentially injure or possibly get people killed and need to be resolved.

- Dumas, TX, USA

problem #279

Feb 102015


  • 64,826 miles
I sent my vehicle in two months for to be fix at drew Ford dealership. They also corrected a recall on the powersteering fault. Now the fault is back and the steering wheel is immovable or extremely hard to move. They also claim this will not fall under the recall, because it has been remedy the first time. I am very upset with Ford, because this can be a 600-2000 dollar repair. Power steering should not go this fast, my car is barely 4 years old. I may have to trade it in for more reliable vehicle like a Honda or Toyota. I want to support american companies. This experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

- Spring Valley , CA, USA

problem #278

Jan 302015


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving 10 mph, the steering wheel seized and the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electric power steering module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle would not be repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering) due to a recent evaluation of the vehicle at a dealer. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #277

Jan 072015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 26,100 miles
Had unit back in dealer November 2014 for the recall14S06 and was told they did a software update. January 7th 2015 went to leave work, started unit to warm up. Got in it 15 minutes later and no power steering. Light on dash said :steering assist failure" took back to dealer and was told I had to spend $1600 because it needed the steering gear replaced. Please note this unit was built in March 2011 in the Chicago assembly plant and falls under the suspected time frame of the failed component. Also it is 10 months out of warranty but only has 26000 miles on it. I had to contact Ford and explain to them I felt it should be cover 100% but was told I would have to take it up with my dealer after they ran my case number. Was contacted by my dealer the next day and was told it would cost me out of pocket $800 plus it could take 3/5 working days to get component. I find this as a good faith gesture but come on Ford you knew back in the lab that the software update was only a bandaid and the really problem still need to step up to the plate and repair all failed units with a new steering gear at 100% your cost!

- Fairfax, IA, USA

problem #276

Dec 282014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
When parked in a parking garage I started out and of my spot and down a ramp toward the pay station/booth of the garage to exit. The power steering assist fault came on, I immediately lost power steering and was headed directly toward the pay booth/attendant until I was able to brake and muscle the steering away from the impending crash. This power steering issue has started to occur briefly over the last few 6 months and either resolves itself or if I stop, shut off, then restart it seems to reset. The electronic power steering seems to be at fault. I can only imagine losing this at highway speeds and the danger it poses to drivers.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

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