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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,108 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

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

Jan 102016


  • 60,000 miles
The airbag warning light is constantly illuminated. After researching the problem at this appears to be a common problem among all of the fifth generation Ford Explorer. Electrical connectors under the seats that run to the seat weight sensors are having continuity issues and causing airbags to not deploy.

- Florence, AZ, USA

problem #21

Jan 132015


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle had trouble starting sporadically. The vehicle displayed a" key not recognized start car" message. The dealer diagnosed that the shifter malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 58,000.

- Brownwood, TX, USA

problem #20

Jan 122016


  • 36,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. While driving at an unknown speed, the contact smelled a strong fuel and burning odor in the vehicle. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the heat and air conditioner calibrations needed to be updated. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was concerned about the fumes in the vehicle affecting her children. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 36,000.

- Wahiawa, HI, USA

problem #19

Apr 012015


  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the sender and pump assembly needed to be replaced; however, the vehicle was not repaired since the parts were not available anywhere in the country. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,000.

- Lathrup Village, MI, USA

problem #18

Apr 112012

Explorer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the heater failed to blow hot air which prevented the windows from defrosting. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 167. Updated 6/11/15 also, the thermostat was replaced, the vehicle had to be jump started. Updated 01/26/16.

- Rosemont, MN, USA

problem #17

Dec 082014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


I went to unlock my vehicle and the system did not respond to unlock my doors. I unlocked my doors manually and there was no lighting indicator throughout the vehicle. I placed my key in the ignition and there was still no power. I have less than 20,000 miles on my vehicle and barely use it. How can a vehicle less than two years old just stop working altogether" this is my only source of transportation and now I will have to put out additional funding just to get it to a place where it can be checked out. What is going on with Ford vehicles" I am really frustrated!!!

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #16

Sep 172014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Electronic throttle body has failed and vehicle will stall. Throttle will not work. You are stranded until you turn the vehicle off and back on.

- Hampton, AR, USA

problem #15

Apr 122014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
My wife was driving our 2012 Ford Explorer down the highway when the steering went stiff (power steering went off), causing the vehicle to swerve into the other lane, after which the terrain management system fault light came on. I happened to be in our other car following directly behind her and was able to watch the incident happen. She immediately slowed down and steered the vehicle to the side of the road. I switched vehicles with her and drove the Explorer to our house, with no additional trouble. After restarting the vehicle, the fault light was no longer on. Our vehicle is at the dealer now, and they could not find any issues. I did a google search and found this webpage, which clearly shows that this issue is wide spread and could easily cause a fatality: fortunately, my wife was only traveling 45 mph and there was no other vehicle in the other lane when the car pulled out of the lane. We have not received a safety recall for this issue yet, but we recommend NHTSA contacts Ford immediately to inquire on what they are doing to identify the defect and implement an immediate solution. This issue, if not corrected, may result in a fatality - especially if the vehicle is being operated by a young, elderly or distracted driver.

- Fort Benning, GA, USA

problem #14

May 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,490 miles
May 2013 (13490 miles) was driving 30 35 mph power steering went out, traction control light went on, I turned off and restarted. All was ok. Took to dealer and dealer replaced the steering rack December 23,2013, (21173 miles) was driving 40 mph power steering went out, traction control light went on. Would not reset by turning on and off. Drove to dealer with no power steering and dealer reset computer and sent me on my way. January 17,2014 (21808 miles) was driving 35 mph power steering went out, traction light went on would not reset by turning on and off. Drove to dealer with no power steering. Dealer reset computer and sent me on my way.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #13

Jun 152013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,702 miles


The vehicle power steering and power brakes shut off while driving making pulling over and stopping very difficult for a mature male driver. I find it difficult I can only imagine how difficult and dangerous this could be for my wife or any smaller or less experienced driver. This happened multiple times during regular driving on fairly smooth surface normal conditions.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 052013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving 50 mph when the advance tracking warning lamp illuminated and the power steering failed. The vehicle was taken the dealer for inspection. The contact was informed that the electronic power assistance system failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 37,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #11

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

problem #10

Apr 112013

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 23,400 miles
While driving my 2012 Ford Explorer limited V6 with ecoboost system up a hill I had to stopped behind a stopped school bus. I tried to give the vehicle a little gas to edge up the hill and the truck cut off. Since I was in drive the truck began to roll backwards until I pushed the brake. I was in shock. Luckily there weren't any vehicles behind me but it scared my kids. While pressing the brake I flipped it into park and restarted the engine. I then called and scheduled service for the next day. I was fully covered under my maintenance plan but the dealership could not duplicate the problem. They have no clue what caused this issue but I am terrified it may happen again and now my kids are terrified as well.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #9

Jun 082012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Ford sync system - continues to freeze and not function. Navigation system freezes up and/or doesn't work at times. Phone system shows you on a call when you are not. Multiple times not working and is supposed to be hands free. Have had the system replaced and updated and still doesn't work properly or as advertised. Ford case # cas [xxx] keep getting told they have an expert looking in to it and it might be related to the iphone. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 192012


  • 20,038 miles
I was driving home from a movie on pacific coast hwy in huntington beach, ca and all of sudden the power steering assist fault warning came on, I hadn't lost complete function of the steering but it was about a half a mile down the road that it got almost impossible to steer. I called the dealership and they told me to tow it to the dealership as soon as possible. I didn't know that there was a short term fix by turning off and then turning back on again to make the warning light go away. Tomorrow taking in my car to dealer to get it fix.... now before it ends in crash or someone killed.!!!!!! I have the ecoboost I4 cylinder engine.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #7

Aug 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Power steering fault while returning from short supermarket trip, lost all power steering, dash board lit up, then terrain sensor fault, causing a feeling of reduced gear, turn signals failed as well. Very difficult to drive, and unable to reset by shutting vehicle off. Dealership stated a fault in power steering rack, requiring replacement, they also stated it is a different part number then original part meaning it may have been remodeled due to "issues". very dangerous situation!!!!

- Huntingdon Valley, PA, USA

problem #6

Apr 022012


  • 12,890 miles
While changing lanes on the 60 West freeway I attempted to change lanes and vehicle power steering shut down. I was in the middle of my lane change and was nearly struck by a trailing diesel truck. I was only able to move steering wheel one inch to the right and one inch to the left. I pulled off highway based on my advanced driving skills as a law enforcement officer. This vehicle is my assigned work vehicle. Several faults to include hill fault, traction fault flashed on the dashboard. I turned the vehicle off and on and the power steering worked. I immediately notified my workplace. A coworker followed me to the fritts Ford in riverside, ca. I told them about the safety issue. Fritts Ford tested my vehicle for two days. They said the error could not be repeated but my vehicle had numerous faults recorded with the drivetrain, steering, hill, traction control. They said it was an electrical issue. There is a serious issue with this model. This is the first time it happened but it nearly cost me my life. I fear similar incidents will cause fatalities with unskilled civilian drivers.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #5

Dec 022011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
First instance (2 months after I bought XLT model - bought late September 2011), in December 2011, electrical system was draining my battery causing my touch to go out, my engine light to go off, etc. Now, second instance (March 31, 2012), driving an hour to a destination, turned off the car for 10 minutes, got back in the car, the car stalled and locked the steering wheel. After talking to the service department, they told me if I got the car running, that it was safe to drive. Finally got the car turned on for the drive back, half way back, the rpms were revving and then the car was sucking back, almost home and the cars power steering started to go out and it was stalling at every light. Took into Ford dealership, they are still trying to figure out what the problem is and think it is a short somewhere in the system where they can't find it. I do not feel safe driving this car right now.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 072011


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the my sync function that was installed in the vehicle caused the computer system to fail ly including the air conditioner, heating system, radio and defroster system. All systems remained at a constant rate if activated and he was unable to change the function. The failure recurred intermittently. The dealer stated that the computer system was faulty but he did not currently have a remedy for the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but failed to offer any assistance. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was 5,200 and the failure mileage was 2,000.

- Leland, NC, USA

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