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 9 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #155

Jun 202013


  • 51,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the steering wheel seized and the service advance trac and power steering assist fault warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was moved to the shoulder. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 51,000.

- Blaine, WA, USA

problem #154

Mar 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
Vehicle has had problems from month 3 of purchase. Cooling fans blew, sunroof rattles, but the worst was a few months ago when backing out of parking space and heard a pop. The steering wheel bolt had broke. Took to dealership and they had it for 2 days to fix it. Contacted Ford Motor Corporate and never received call or email back from them. Then I noticed the steering wheel never seemed straight. It always turned to the left. It went back in the shop on 06/12/2013 to be fixed. They stated it needed a front end alignment but fact is it was never fixed correctly as they never saw this problem before. Then on 06/15/2013 drivng vehicle and all of a sudden steering wheel locked up and all the lights started flashing. Could not steer the vehicle. I managed to get it pulled over after being in a total panic as I was 1/2 mile from a major highway and would have been driving at a faster speed. My daughter was with me and she was completely in panic as she drives the vehicle and says what if it happened when she is driving it. She will not drive it anymore as she is scared to death. Car is at dealership at the present time. We will see what the "reasoning" is this time.

- Dallas, PA, USA

problem #153

Jun 112013


  • 56,880 miles
While driving at freeway speed I received audible alarms and dashboard warning lights to service advance trac and terrain management. At that time the steering become very difficult. The car was manuverable though quite difficult so I proceeded 10 miles to my destination at reduced speed. After restarting the vehicle immediately the problem did not go away. The vehicle was left overnight and upon restarting the problem had gone away. It was taken to the Ford dealer and the electronic power steering assembly was replaced at a cost of $2,000.

- San Francisco , CA, USA

problem #152

May 272013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the steering became difficult to maneuver. The advanced track and power steering assist failure warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis however, the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Mccalla, AL, USA

problem #151

Jun 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while traveling highway speeds the steering failed and it was very difficult to turn the steering wheel in order to drive onto the emergency lane. When the failure occurred, the vehicle began to perform as if the tires were also failing; however, the traction and steering lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated the electronic power assist had failed. The failure and current mileage was 41,000.

- Pekin , IL, USA

problem #150

Jun 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
I was driving approximately 55 mph when out of nowhere two light warnings flashed. One said advanced trac system auto (or something like that). My steering wheel then locked and I got scared and pulled over. I could not move my steering wheel to drive properly so I called roadside assistance, and waited over 2 hours for a tow. I didn't feel comfortable driving it with two small children in truck. It got towed to dealership, and they just called and said it was the steering wheel control module. Thankfully it is still covered under warranty but is a huge inconvenience. Not to mention, my warranty is ending in only 3000 more miles. Guess I need to extend it just in case something like this happens again.

- Demotte, IN, USA

problem #149

May 282013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 43,550 miles


I was driving in a parking lot and the power steering went out. A light came on, and the system made a sound to let me know there was a message. It let me know that I had a problem with my power steering. I was turning into an isle, and had to put my body into turning the SUV. I pulled into a wide open parking space, turned the car off and back on. The issue resolved itself. Two days later I was on my way to work doing about 30mph and the same message came on and the power went out. I had to find a place to pull over and turn the car off and on. I made an appointment to get my car in the next available time, which was four days later. That evening I was taking a car load of little boys to a baseball game. The steering went out on a curvy country road with no shoulder. I had a few choice thoughts about my Ford Explorer failing my family!! I have since been to my local Ford dealer that charged me $1,800 to replace my steering gear part, labor, alignment and taxes. My car is not under warranty, and Ford is somehow able to see this defect in thousands of cars and punish it's customers for choosing to support Ford. I didn't want to purchase a car that had been produced by a company that used bail-out money, but next time I will!

- Hudson, WI, USA

problem #148

Jun 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 39,800 miles
On engine start up, the dash screen read "power steering assist fault" and the car would not turn using the steering wheel manually. I checked the internet for similar problems and found many complaints regarding this same issue. There was the suggestion to turn off and restart the car which did seem to fix the problem, but then the dash reads another warning "terrain management fault." I called the dealer to have it checked out this week, but I no longer trust this car, which we use to Transport our toddler grandchildren and we will not use it again until we get satisfaction. I saw that several other complaints noted a re-occurrence of the same problem, major part replacement of the steering mechanisms and delays in repairs. That says to me that this is a safety issue and should demand a recall.

- Brunswick, OH, USA

problem #147

May 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the steering became difficult to maneuver because the power steering assist had independently deactivated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnosis. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was not aware of the diagnosis of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #146

May 292013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
I was driving about 65 mph when my power steering failure light as well as vehicle traction light came in. The steering wheel became extremely tight. I was able to slow down and pull off the highway because it was late at night and no vehicles were around. I turned the car off and back on and it fixes the problem. It was extremely scary going that speed to have the power steering light come on.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #145

May 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,180 miles


While driving my 2011 Ford Explorer the power steering suddenly went out. The vehicle gave me a warning, but only after the steering failed. The vehicle became almost impossible to steer. My only option was to try and get out of the flow of traffic in order to stop the car. Turning the car off, then back on appears to reset the issue. The first time it happened I was pulling out onto a road. Because the change was so unexpected the car couldn't be turned in time to merge into traffic. I had to turn off my car, then turn it back on while blocking two lanes of frontage road because it became next to impossible to control the car without power steering. Two incidents. The first occurred as I was pulling out of a driveway onto a frontage road (05/03/13). The second was driving down a residential neighborhood going about ~25mph (05/27/13). I can't imagine what would happen if I were going 50, 60, 65 on an interstate when this happened. I can't reasonably expect my family to travel in a car this unpredictable and unsafe. I'm not sure what the best remedy might be, but others need to be warned before purchasing this car.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #144

May 272013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,900 miles
Was driving and received an alarm on instrument cluster stating that the power steering unit failed - and lost complete power steering so had to manually steer the car which was difficult - referred to manual and it said to stop car and turn off and should reset problem.. did that and it worked for about 30 minutes then came back on - took to dealer this morning and they said the steering rack failed and had to be replaced.. my car is in shop for two days..

- Plant City, FL, USA

problem #143

Oct 122012


  • miles
On four separate occasions beginning in 2012 I was making a left or right turn when the steering wheel locked up, the power steering light and traction assist light came on the car shut itself off. I was only a going a few miles per hour. On the fifth occasion in May 2013 I was traveling through a secured green light making a left turn, probably going about 25 miles per hour when the power steering and traction assist lights came on. The steering immediately locked up and the car shut itself off, only this time I was in traffic and almost got rear-ended by a car that was following me through the light. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced as a driver and I am worried about what would have happened if it was raining? I would have surely lost control of the car and hit a pole that was right in front of me. I have taken my 2011 Explorer to Ford three times and all three times they said that they couldn't find anything wrong.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #142

May 272013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 23,493 miles
I was driving my wife's car for the first time in a couple months, I was coming to a red light and the power steering assist failed. I couldn't move the wheel. Two warning system lights came on, power steering assist fault and terrain management fault. I put the car in park and turned the car off to restart. Everything worked after. It's a good thing it happened to me and not her.

- Orland Park , IL, USA

problem #141

May 252013


  • miles
Power steering stopped working while driving.

- Souderton, PA, USA

problem #140

May 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
I was driving down a hill and two warning lights came on and the power steering stopped working. The power steering started working after the car was turned off and back on. The two warning lights that came on were advanced track system and power steering assist.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #139

May 072013


  • 20,150 miles
I was pulling away from a stop sign at a T-intersection, attempting a left-hand turn when the car warning light sounded. At the very same time, the power steering completely failed. I was somehow able to keep the car on the road and came to an abrupt stop just as I completed the turn. I am very thankful I wasn't going faster or had to deal with oncoming traffic when this occurred. Two warning messages also flashed on the info dash while the malfunction occurred: (1) service advance trac and (2) power steering assist fault. Once the car was in park, I turn it off, opened the door and then restarted the engine. At that time, all warning lights and system warnings were gone and the steering functioned normally once more.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #138

Apr 112013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
While driving vehicle, I heard a ding and two warnings came up on my information panel stating "service advance trac" and "power steering assist fault". I was coming into a curve and immediately after these warnings came on, I lost all power steering and barely avoided a crash. I stopped my vehicle, turned off the car and made a phone call to my husband and then restarted my car and the warnings were gone and my power steering was working. This has happened a total of 8 times over the last two weeks and is getting harder to get the power steering to work after restarting the last few times. I have taken it to my local Ford dealership where they are telling me it is a steering gear and they have ordered the replacement part, but with my extended warranty, it will cost me a $100 deductible. I've since researched and have seen that there are several Explorer with this exact same issue and wanted to lodge my incident as well.

- Elgin, OK, USA

problem #137

Apr 272013


  • miles
I was driving the 2011 Ford Explorer for about 20 minutes and as I got about 2 miles from my destination the power steering assist fault and service advance trac messages both began blinking on the dash. Then the steering wheel tightens and I can tell that its locking. I was able to turn right with a lot of force and get into the parking lot. Then I shut the vehicle off. I called my husband and we both began to google the problem and saw others having the same issue. I waited about an hour and cut the vehicle on and the wheel was unlocked and messages cleared. I was able to drive home with no other issues but I will be at the dealership Monday. We have only had the vehicle about 4 months and haven't had any issues prior to today.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #136

Apr 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 28,500 miles
I was stopped at a light waiting to turn left. The green arrow appeared so I started to make my left hand turn and lost power steering capability. Several "dings" sounded and indicators on my dashboard lit up. I was able to get around the corner with a great deal of force on the wheel and get into a parking lot without incident. After shutting the vehicle off and re-starting, the power steering capability was returned, but the indicator lights were still active. Vehicle was taken on a flat-bed to the dealership and it is still there being assessed.

- Auburn, WA, USA

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