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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,282 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.

2012 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Aug 162016


  • 48,000 miles


The ptu unit went bad and had no oil in it- whole unit needs to be replaced. Should have oil, should be permanent. No reason for this- car is 4 years old and now we are paying $2000 to fix. Read that this problem is an epidemic. Should be recalled for this problem. It's everywhere Ford has AWD!!

- Wallingford, PA, USA

problem #23

Oct 012015


  • 38,000 miles
Transmission shifts out of gear, from drive into neutral or stalls out. Safety hazard while driving. 6F35 transmission. Dealer(s) refuse to acknowledge issue or repair despite customer complaint and transmission fault code. Vehicle stalls while at all speeds on highway, city streets, or while in intersections. Too dangerous to drive

- Boonsboro, MD, USA

problem #22

Feb 052016


  • 52,000 miles
Repeated issue with malfunctioning tcm. Went into default mode while driving on state highway. Repairs made but have since taken vehicle in again for same service issue and is scheduled for a third repair. I know the 2012 Focus, fiesta and Expedition have class action suits due to tcm. Dealer has twice told me vehicle is safe to drive in it's current state since service and check engine lights are not flashing in default mode.

- New Salisbury, IN, USA

problem #21

Mar 222016


  • 107,000 miles


Car sputters and hesitates when orange wrench comes on intermittently while in motion.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #20

Jan 112016


  • 29,500 miles
While on freeway, car suddenly decreased speed even though I was pressing on the pedal to excelerate. It has happened a few more times but luckily I was not on freeway. Took it in to mac haick and they said it was the throttle body. My car has less than 30,000 miles and I asked if this was common and was told no. He said that sometimes it happens with more that 60,000. I asked if there was a recall and was told no. I then called Ford customer service, the rep said that they did not have any recalls and gave me a case #8559890.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #19

Nov 132015


  • 2 miles
November 13, 2015 Carolina, puerto rico I'm driving normally then a wrench light pops up on the dash & says "see service manual". I then immediately without warning loose all control to my gas pedal & the engine shakes at an idle. I am forced to pull over. We return home less 10 mile per hour, then turn the car off. Once I turn it back on it "warnings 0" in some way & runs normally.

- Carolina, PR, USA

problem #18

Nov 032015


  • 27,500 miles


I'm driving normally then randomly a wrench light pops up on the dash & says "see service manual". I then immediately without warning loose all control to my gas pedal & the engine shakes at an idle. I am forced to pull over (mind you with my 2 kids in the car when this has happened 3 times in 1 month). Then turn the car off. Once I turn it back on it "resets" in some way & runs normally (until this happens again). The first time it happened was 3 weeks ago on a weekend late morning driving maybe 45mph, the 2nd time was this past Tuesday 11/2/15 in the evening after work at 5:15pm driving May 35mph. I took it to the dealer they said it was "fixed" & they sent me on my way. Then it happened the 3rd time the next morning on 11/3/15 @ 7:30am when I was stopping at a stop sign so I wasn't going more than 5mph. It's been back at Ford since then & they said they "can't fix it if it doesn't show up for them or the can't duplicate the problem" meanwhile myself & I have no vehicle to school & work. & the worst part is all tree times my kids were with me & there could've been an accident but Ford won't do anything.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #17

Oct 252015


  • 43,000 miles
Issue has occurred multiple times, under different conditions. Without warning, the vehicle loses acceleration and the wrench icon and AWD errors display. The throttle becomes unresponsive, but all other systems remain functioning. If you leave it in gear without the brakes engaged, it will move at idle speed on flat ground, but is unable to navigate inclines. When slowing to a stop, the whole vehicle shudders. Stopping and restarting normally returns the vehicle to normal operation. However, on October 25, it failed to start and had to be towed to the dealer. There is no external indication of this sudden loss of power and it creates a very dangerous situation because it happens without warning and you are only able to steer and brake to control the vehicle. Our 2012 Explorer is currently at the dealership, who has indicated that the problem is the electronic throttle body (etb) and purge valve. Ford is aware that there is an issue with etbs with other models, reference NHTSA action # PE13003, and Explorer, reference NHTSA #10054323 and 10053276, Ford tsb # tsb-13-9-8 and tsb-13-5-29. Description: Lincoln/Ford: Due to diagnostic trouble codes (dtc) P0106, P0236, engine on some vehicles experience hesitation, loss of idle RPM, difficult in starting, lack of power, running rough and crank no start situation. Description: Ford: Due to blocked vapor purge line port in air cleaner outlet pipe assembly, the mil would illuminate, with dtc P144C.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #16

Sep 082015


  • 10,000 miles
Burning smell under acceleration.

- Bellingham, MA, USA

problem #15

Jul 112015


  • 31,000 miles
While driving on a 2-lane highway about 50 mhp, my 2012 Ford Explorer suddenly lost all speed and the gas pedal had no effect. After drifting over to the shoulder out of harms way, the power remained on and the dashboard said "check manual" with a wrench lit up. What happened was that it just lost all speed and the gas pedal had no effect until I turned off the power and re-started. This was the first incident. This happened twice more in the following month for a total of three times when the exact same thing happened, just lost all speed. Finally Ford service was able to diagnose it and said it was the throttle body. After doing research, it appears that other Ford models have the same throttle body problem, loss of speed. This should have been a recall but someone dropped the ball, making it a part of the customer satisfaction program (csp 13N03) instead. This is obviously a very dangerous situation. Ford service has been extremely difficult work with as they will not honor csp 13N03 for my Explorer.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #14

Jun 182015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 34,000 miles


Driving to work at the normal speed limit 6:30 am in light traffic. Ambient temperature was 65 degrees in dry conditions. Suddenly felt like the transmission had been placed in neutral. Engine continued to run but no power to the transmission. Was able to let the car coast until I could turn on to a side street and stop. An error condition displayed "AWD off" and then a wrench icon appeared. I placed the transmission in park and turned off the engine. Restarted the engine and the car resumed normal driving conditions. Took the car the next day to the Ford dealership. Was told that no error code was captured so they could not do anything. I asked how it was that the computer could display the "AWD off" message and the wrench icon without a code being stored. No response. Was told to leave car running next time, call a tow truck and then they could get the code. Of course, I am not always close to the dealership, it could happen after they closed or on a weekend. Noted that in March 2014 Ford settled a complaint on "throttle body" problems in escape, Fusion, etc, that had a similar description. Explorer was not included in that settlement.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #13

May 122015


  • miles
I parked the vehicle to go into a store. When I returned and started the vehicle. I had the power assist fault and service track management errors show on the panel. I had to drive the car home without power steering. I took the car in for service yesterday and was told that it needed a steering gear. I was under the impression that this would be part of the power steering recall issued last year, however that is not the case. I was told by the service tech that he tried to contact Ford to see if they would work with me on this and they stated there was nothing they could do. So I brought the car home without repair or new parts ordered due to the costliness of this issue. It appears that I am not the only one having this potentially dangerous issue with their vehicle. At this point, I am quite disappointed with Ford!!

- Racine, OH, USA

problem #12

Dec 152014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
I was driving back from the mall on a single lane highway at 55 mph with the whole family. All of the sudden the vehicle just quit. I tried to restart the vehicle while it was gliding without power, but it would not start. I had to pull over to the side of the road until the car stopped by itself. While the car was gliding to a stop, there was no steering brakes or anything available, since the engine had cut off automatically. Luckily I did not get hit by anyone. I finally pulled over, restarted the car and drove again. In a couple of minutes the car stalled again with no controls. This happened about 4 times within a space of 15 miles. I took it to the Ford dealership the next day and had to spend $1000 fixing it, which they blamed on the throttle activation or body. This could have resulted in a fatal situation, especially because the vehicle had no controls when it stalled. I believe there has been the same issue with other Ford and Lincoln vehicles on the web. This should be considered a serious safety issue, which should be fixed as soon as possible. This could happen again to someone and result in serious injury. I feel like Ford should be responsible for the fix to ensure public safety.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #11

Nov 292014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
While I was driving my 2012 Ford Explorer XLT, it lost all power for the 4th time. When I pressed the throttle there was no response. Indicator lights said AWD off and displayed a wrench icon. I coasted to the side of the road. When this happened the first three times I turned the car off, restarted it and all was fine for a few minutes, before this happened again. This is quite a dangerous situation to be in. I have also seen several complaints of the same problem from several other Ford and Lincoln owners. I believe this is a serious safety issue, since stalling in the middle of anywhere is not safe and can lead to accidents without warning. Also my check engine light is now light and I will be taking it to the Ford dealer to get it fixed. It is going to cost me an arm and leg, but hopefully it ends up being a safety recall and Ford reimburses down the line.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #10

Sep 272014


  • 47,000 miles
The throttle box has gone bad. The car stalls randomly when taking off from a start and requires a new throttle body at only 47K miles. This is part of the powertrain, but not covered by the warranty. Ford had lots of problems with throttle bodies in earlier models and it seems they haven't fixed it yet.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #9

Oct 032014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
I was driving approx. 35mph and all of a sudden the wrench light on the engine came on I lost all power to the accelerator. I had to coast to stop, turn off the vehicle, start it back up and proceed. It has happened 4 more times since the original date. One of those times was when I was crossing an intersection and was almost broadsided. This is very dangerous and is happening with no warning or pattern. I have looked online and it seems to have happened with many Ford Explorer owners. I am reading it has to do with the powertrain control module.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #8

Apr 302012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 7,452 miles
Car hesitates after turns and then again when accelerating and acts like it doesn't have enough power. Car had to be towed on a separate incident in 2013 after losing all power during a turn; the throttle body - air intake had to be replaced at 24,457 miles. The problem is ongoing, something is wrong with the car. Every time I take it in to be checked, I get the same response: Cannot not recreate the concern, ran through oasis and no problem found. I am over Ford! there was a customer satisfaction program (aka recall without the press involved) (program number 12B36) in April of 2012 that had to reprogram the vehicle's PCM (powertrain control module). This was due to the fact that "inoperative engine cooling fans could lead to high engine temperature gauge readings and reduced air conditioning performance. Continued operation of the vehicle could result in illumination of the malfunction indicator light (mil) and eventually cause the engine to automatically enter derate (reduced power) mode." This was "fixed" 14 months before the car was towed....

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #7

Mar 102014

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 43,138 miles
On Monday March 10, 2014 I started the my 2012 Ford Explorer and drove it to work approximately 2 miles and shut it off, after 25 minutes I returned to the vehicle and attempted to start it. The vehicle started and then immediately shut off and said low oil pressure, I proceeded to remove the key and open the hood. I checked the oil and all was within range, no issue immediately noted, I closed the hood and attempted to restart the car. Upon the attempted restart the car took a substantial amount of time to finally turn over, I immediately shut the car off and figured it needed to refresh itself and waited a moment. After restarting on the third try I then attempted to drive it all indicators had turned off. While driving the vehicle it refused to accelerate over 35mph, I immediately reported the issue to Ford and the vehicle had to be towed to cavalier Ford in greenbrier, va.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #6

Dec 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 33,330 miles
On Dec. 2, 2013 I was stopped on the side of the road with a slight decline at a school bus stop. I put the vehicle in park (while still on) and got out of the car to retrieve a forgotten item from the back for one of the children (as I have done numerous times before without incident). When I exited the vehicle, it started to roll forward (while still in park). It rolled off of the road, down an embankment, into a ditch/ravine, crashed into a tree and rolled onto the driver's side, coming to rest at an approximate 45 degree angle. My 20-month-old child was in the car at the time and was seated on the side of the car that was in contact with the ground when the car crashed. After retrieving the child (physically unharmed) from the car with help from a passerby, I noticed the car was still running. The passerby and I went down to turn the car off and remove the keys, at which point it was verified that the car was in fact still shifted into the park position. The tow truck company also verified that the car was in park when they arrived. Speed of the vehicle at the time of impact is unknown, as it started from a stop and increased in speed as it continued to roll forward and down the embankment. Post crash, the 20-month-old was physically fine, but expressed significant emotional anxiety when being placed in his other car seat for subsequent car rides. Side airbags on both sides of the car deployed, front did not (presumably because no one was seated in the front of the vehicle). Once the engine was turned off and the keys were removed, the horn began honking (presumably a built in safety feature). Once removed from the crash site (time to remove: 2.5 hours using 2 different tow trucks), the car was not drivable and after 21 days the car was determined to be a total loss.

- Shakopee, MN, USA

problem #5

Aug 102013

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
This is a continual problem report one 8/10/13 19,000 miles: Power steering light came on and power steering went out while driving vehicle <15 mph and back ceiling light came on and wouldn't go out. Ford: 8/13/2013 said ceiling light shortened out battery and caused power steering to go out - ordered light bulb came back in 3 days to replace light bulb - they said power steering was fixed. Report two 9/23/13 23,891 miles: Power steering light came on while parked. Ford: Did diagnostic said the issue was most likely wiring and said issue was fixed and I left with car report three 10/02/13 24,280 miles: Power steering light came on dashboard and power steering went out while driving on a highway 65 mph, pulled off hwy. Reported incident to Ford. Ford: Ran diagnostic, said issue was motherboard. Ordered part and I returned in a few days to replace computer board. Told issue was resolved and left with my car. Report four 10/31/2013 25,295 miles: Power steering yellow light came on dashboard as I started vehicle in parking lot. Power steering had not gone out only had warning light showing. I drove a few minutes home without the steering going out. I started car about an hour later in garage and power steering was completely out. Bright red lights on dashboard. Warning light said something to the tune of 'report power steering immediately". Ford: Kept car for 4 full days while we drove rental and was told they have no solution and Ford regional's engineers supposedly said 'this is not an issue they have seen before' (even though there are almost 100 reports on the NHTSA website about this exact issue) and to report if happens again. Report five 11/28/13 27,000 miles: Power steering went out while starting vehicle in garage dashboard light up with red warning signs. Have to wait until after holiday to report to service.

- Mascoutah, IL, USA

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