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 7 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #195

Aug 232013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles


Driving 65 mph on a highway when I suddenly lost the ability to steer my vehicle. I was fortunate enough to be able to maneuver the vehicle onto a shoulder, but this is certainly defect and must be recalled before someone is injured.

- West Babylon , NY, USA

problem #194

Aug 262013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,545,413 miles
While driving to work the following warnings came up. 1. power steering fault 2. service advancetrac system car became very difficult to steer, almost resulting in a major car accident as I was approaching a very tight turn on I75. Upon doing some research it appears this issue is way to common, and extremely dangerous.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #193

Aug 222013


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the steering wheel seized without warning and the steering wheel became hard to turn. The power steering assist light illuminated after the failure occurred. The contact shut off the vehicle for several moments before proceeded to the dealer. The dealer performed a diagnostic and advised that the steering wheel electrical box was defective. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 38,000.

- Coleraine, MN, USA

problem #192

Aug 212013


  • 20,000 miles


I own a 2011 Ford Explorer with approximately 20K miles. "power assist fault warning" code has come on a handful of times for about a year. I never thought to look into it because it happened when I first started the truck and was not driving. After restarting the truck it would go away and wouldn't come back for a couple of months. Unfortunately its happening more and more often. Earlier this week I was making a left hand turn when it happened again, this time right as I was making a turn. I nearly went into a ditch. I immediately took it to the dealership who did not know the cause and can only replace the powersteering rack. I hope this fixes the problem but I just cannot trust that my wife and 6 month old son will be safe in this car anymore. Will be trading in this truck soon. Its a shame because I really like it.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #191

Aug 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
I started my car and as I was backing out of my driveway 2 warnings came up: Power steering assist failure and service advance trac. At which point I lost my power steering. I turned the car off and on again and the warnings went away. I drive to work fine but I leave for my lunch break and get the same warnings and no power steering. I turn off and on several times even going back in to work to let it sit a while. Try again later...same power steering. I'm stuck at work till my husband can come and get me. I've noticed that there have been numerous complaints on this same thing happening to other people and I wonder why Ford has not recalled it yet. It really makes me mad that I may have to pay $1200-$1500 to get this fixed (will it even really be fixed?) for a car that is still so new.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #190

Aug 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
Has happened multiple times, steering stops working and car has to be turned off and back on to correct problem. On a trip with family on curvy road to lake Tahoe it happened and we almost collided with traffic. The other cars manuvered away from us we hit the embankment no damage or injuries but my wife will not drive the car now.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #189

Aug 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 59,871 miles


While driving down the highway, there was a notification on the info center that there was an issue with the power steering. At that point I lost power steering in the vehicle and then traction control. This issue has occurred 4 times in the last month and we have already taken it to the dealership and they were unable to find out what the issue was since it is not keeping records in the computer of these issues.

- Wooldridge, MO, USA

problem #188

Jul 302013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while driving 65 mph, the power steering failed on the vehicle. The contact stated he had to manually steer the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for repair and the component was reset. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was about 38,000.

- Hallettsville, TN, USA

problem #187

Aug 092013


  • miles
Why have there been no recalls on the loss of power steering"?" I'm reading all of the same complaints from other 2011 Ford Explorer owners and am shocked!!!!!

- Batavia , OH, USA

problem #186

Jun 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
In the past few months I have had a problem with the steering electric power assist system. The first two happened while parking, the third happen while driving on a local street and the fourth happened on 8/3/13 on I95 on my way to my son philip's 4th birthday party. I was in the left lane when the error message on my dash came up I have been driving for approx 15 minutes on I95 North going at 60 mph. I was in the left lane my steering locked up I was unable to turn, I was so scared I managed to move to right lane with help from my husband where we pulled over. We turned the car off and waited few minutes then turned it on, the message power steering assist failure came up, I pressed ok then the steering went back to normal. On 8/5/13 I brought my Explorer to smith carnins in yonkers to get looked at and as of 8/9/13 they have not returned my vehicle and state that they can reproduce the error and that the computer shows no error codes. I find this to be very upsetting. I have two boys who I drive in my vehicle everyday. I fear for the safety of them and myself. What do I do? please help us.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #185

Aug 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


I got a power steering assist failure light, and a terrain management fault light. I had extremely limited steering ability. I drove straight to the dealership and left the car running so they could not say they were unable to duplicate the problem. I was very close to a crash and had difficulty getting out of the high speed lane to pull over.

- Brooklyn, CT, USA

problem #184

Aug 082013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,100 miles
While driving home from work in pittsburgh, pa I experienced a failure in my 2011 Ford Explorer's power steering. Apparently, the newly designed power system shut down causing a manual override for manual steering 'only'. again, very difficult to steer at a high rate of speed. I am a pa state trooper and drive as a profession. I personally struggled to keep my vehicle on the roadway and was very fortunate to safely bringmy vehicle to a stop. I cannot stress how unsafe and dangerous this defect and/or problem is. I am calling. My Ford dealership tomorrow for suggestions. Again, I have investigated numerous crashes and fatalities in my career and expect this problem to be reviewed at the highest level for safety.

- West Grove, PA, USA

problem #183

Aug 062013


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the power steering and traction control warning lamps illuminated as both components failed. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 58,000.

- Gleason , TN, USA

problem #182

Aug 052013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 63,047 miles
This happened to us 2 times in 2 weeks. Power steering failure light came on along with the auto trac light. At this point we lost power steering. We were on the highway and we were close to a walmart so we stopped and let the car sit and we went into walmart.when we came out the light was off and the power steering was fine. Monday I was backing out of my garage and the lights went on again and no power steering. I was able to pull the car back into the garage and there it sits. I cant drive it as it is to hard for me to turn the wheel. We are taking it into the dealer Friday and I called them and they have no recalls for the car and said they cant find the information I found about the power steering that was reported in 2012. I am just glad my husband was driving the first time. We have tried the car since Monday and still no power steering.

- Russellville, AR, USA

problem #181

Aug 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,928 miles
I was traveling at 40 mph on a busy city street when all of the sudden I heard a warning bing sound and saw the power steering fault and all terrain management failure warnings on my instrument panel. Lost total ability to steer the vehicle and had to put on emergency lights, stop on side of the road, turn the vehicle off and on (hoping that it would reset and resolve the issue) and doing this cleared the warnings and I was able to steer again. However, two days later the problem happened again after starting the vehicle in a parking lot and before starting to back out of the parking space. Once again turning the vehicle off and on again reset the warning and regained steering ability again.

- Madison Heights, MI, USA

problem #180

Jun 292013


  • 51,000 miles
Power steering assist fault has happened 5 times in the last month and this is the second time I have had it at the dealer.

- Englewood, OH, USA

problem #179

Jul 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 10,100 miles
Please reference previous complaint confirmation number 10475098, September 11, 2012. The problem is a complete loss of power steering assist that occurs instantaneously, without warning. This problem was supposedly repaired by my Ford dealer last fall (September, 2012) by reprogramming a control unit. The problem has now been recurring again, almost weekly (three times in four weeks). I feel this is a very serious safety issue. During the most recent incident, my wife was driving by herself. She does not have the strength to drive this car without power steering assist. Luckily she was traveling in a straight line and could bring the car to a stop. If she had been turning a corner or rounding a curve, she would have gone off the road. I have seen on the internet that other drivers have had the same problem. I will take the car back to the dealer, but Ford needs to own up to this problem and figure out a permanent fix.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #178

Aug 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,700 miles
Travelling on the freeway at 78 mph, an alarm sounded, followed by a message that said "power steering assist fault (or failure, I don't remember exactly which term was used)", at the same time, I suddenly had no power steering. The warning also stated "service advance trac" and an icon showing a car with skid marks behind it, displayed on the dash. Had my wife, or one of my children been driving when this occured, I'm certain there would have been a serious accident. I was able to manuever off the freeway and turn into a parking lot. I had a car without power steering when I was very young, and I don't recall it being this difficult to use. I turned the car off, and googled the issue, to find I'm not the first to have this happen. After reading that it resets, I re-started my car and the power steering was back. It took a few seconds for the "service advance trac" message to clear, but it did as well. I was able to drive the car afterward, for approximately 40 miles, without further incident. This was on a Friday afternoon, too late to get to a dealer. I will take it in on Monday morning, first thing.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #177

Aug 012013


  • 59,000 miles
After filling up with gas, I started and went about 6 feet and the codes of power steering assist along with a couple others came up. I tried restarted the Explorer and it did the same thing. I then let it sit for 5 minutes and restarted it again. The same thing occurred. I have now brought it in and after looking into it. Many people have had the same issue. I had my 1 year old son in the car and to be honest. This is a safety issue that should be taken care of by the manufacturer. If I were in the middle of an on or off ramp in a turn. What would happen?

- Marine On Saint Croix, MN, USA

problem #176

Jul 252013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 26,514 miles
My wife and I had just traded our car in for a 2011 Ford Explorer. She was on her way home and the power steering locked up on her with a warning message on the dash. She was barely able to control the vehicle from crashing into the other cars around her. She turned off the vehicle and restarted it and everything returned to normal. We called the dealer who promptly had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealership. They replaced the steering column and everything seems fine now. When looking up this problem online we found that this was not the first time this happened as Ford had said over the phone to me. I pointed out that the NHTSA had an action # PE12017 filed and this was obviously not the first time this had happened. They basically called me a liar. Ford needs to do a recall on this issue before someone or god forbid a family gets killed due to this issue. My wife and stepdaughter are ok only due to the quick thinking of my wife. Ford needs to step up and correct this issue asap and stand behind their product, not cover up this huge problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

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