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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,419 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Nov 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


Steering suddenly became extremely hard and stiff to the point where I could not make a turn of more than 10% at any speed. Luckily I was only going 25mph at the time of the incident so I was able to gradually guide the car to the side of the road bringing it to a full stop. I tried resetting the "error condition" by restarting the car, but the steering became only marginally better. I was however able to drive the car down the side street at 5-10mph to my house which was a few short blocks away. Since the car was undrivable, I had it towed to all american Ford in paramus NJ, for service. Where they claimed that they have only heard of one or two cases such as mine. I directed them to this site to help them with their research, which they of course they were not interested in.

- Ridgewood, NJ, USA

problem #61

Oct 212013


  • 15,997 miles
Power steering failed during a turn making controlling the vehicle difficult. Warning lights for power steering assist, traction control and terrain monitor came on. After shutting down the car and restarting the vehicle the problem was cleared.

- Massapequa, NY, USA

problem #60

Oct 122013


  • miles
While driving on the highway steering wheel became stiff and a message appeared "power steering assist failed". vehicle was very hard to steer but I managed to turn on flashers, reduce speed and steer safely to the side of the road. I turned the vehicle off and called for assistance. While waiting for help I restarted the vehicle to try to maneuver to a safer roadside position. At that time the power steering seemed to be working again so I drove carefully home. I then visited the Ford dealership where no error codes or error history was found and they found no problem and sent me on my way.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

problem #59

Sep 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


Power steering fault with advance trac and terrain management faults. Power steering was lost. This has occurred multiple times at low, medium and high speeds. This is a serious safety issue. Vehicle was shut off and then restarted and the faults were gone and power steering was restored.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #58

Jul 122013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Power assist fault, service advancetrac, terrain management system fault. Disables power steering and terrain management systems. Vehicle immediately becomes extremely hard to steer and very dangerous. Has occurred 3 times and is a serious safety issue.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #57

Aug 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
After having multiple issues with the power steering failing while driving our 2012 Ford Explorer, the power steering finally gave out completely. The vehicle now has no power steering and is very hard to drive. This has also affected the electronic traction control. The vehicle is less than 2 years old, so this is very unacceptable. Ford needs to find a solution to this before someone gets in a serious accident and some is seriously injured or worse.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #56

Aug 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 46,461 miles


The power steering suddenly went off. This happened twice in 24 hours. I took it to the Ford dealer right away. I am glad that my 16 year old driver was not at the wheel when this happened. This is unacceptable for a one-year old new car. Safety must come first. Repair cost is estimated at $2200. Please look into a recall, as I have heard this is very common. Please work with Ford to remedy this obvious mechanical flaw. Thank you.

- Hot Springs, AR, USA

problem #55

Jul 252013


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the steering wheel seized as the traction control warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering unit needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 39,000 and the current mileage was 40,000.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #54

Jul 262013


  • 40,102 miles
I was driving the vehicle down the highway when the steering went stiff and several lights on the dash came on. I immediately slowed down and struggled to steer the vehicle of the side of the road. Once to the side of the road, I called the dealer they acknowledged this a common problem in the new Explorer and that if I turned the vehicle off and restarted it would reset the system and to bring it to dealer immediately. I arrived at the dealer (after it happened a second time) where they informed I would need a new rack and pinion. I don't mind paying for the replacement part but this is a huge safety issue. If I had been going through a turn at those speeds, my kids and I would have been killed. If the dealer and Ford know there is a problem why hasn't there been a recall. Do we have to wait until someone dies?

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #53

Jul 082013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Loss of power steering while driving - service advance trac & terrain mgmt system fault warnings has happened twice in the last 2 weeks. Problem clears after restarting car. Would be very dangerous if my wife or kids were driving the vehicle.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #52

Jun 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 53,260 miles


We purchased our vehicle in August 2011. In June of 2013 the power steering gave out. We dropped it off at our local Ford dealership on June 18. Two days later the mechanic informs me that they could not figure out what was wrong and had to call Ford Motor Company directly. They informed the mechanic that our vehicle's power steering rack (epas) needed to be replaced and it is not covered under the powertrain warranty. They charged us nearly $2000 to fix the car. Which was approx. 5% of the total cost of the car. The car was under 2 years old and only 53K miles. We feel ripped off and used. We are loyal Ford customers with this being our 3rd Ford in 10 years. We feel it should be covered under either a powertrain or manufacturers warranty.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #51

Jun 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
While my wife was driving our 2012 Ford Explorer, the power steering went out and the "service trak system" error message appeared. She was on a major freeway and had to manually pull off the freeway to safety, which was very difficult with out the power steering. Once she turned off the car and restarted it, the error went away and power steering was normal. This is a dangerous situation when driving on a major freeway at or above 55 mph. This is the second time this has happened.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #50

Jun 212013


  • 14,000 miles
I was driving in a parking garage and the terrain management system and power steering systems became disabled. The car was very difficult to handle once the power steering was lost. When I parked the car, shut the car off and restarted, the power steering appeared to be back but the terrain management system continued to show an error. I will be contacting the dealer today. I have seen similar complaints listed here - I hope Ford is addressing appropriately.

- Wethersfield, CT, USA

problem #49

Jun 052013


  • 46,000 miles
Power steering went out and service trac system error message appeared. Vehicle went into manual steering, which was so stiff, my wife was unable to steer the vehicle. After cycling the ignition, the car returned to normal. This concerns me as the safety of my family was at stake. If my wife had been on a busy highway, she might have been in an accident. Ford knows of this problem with their 2011 and up Explorer. Ford should recall these vehicles, as they pose a safety risk.

- Lagrange, KY, USA

problem #48

May 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I bought my 2012 Ford Explorer in January 2012, and had no problems for several months. Recently, when starting the vehicle the "power steering assist fault" warning started coming on. After turning off the ignition and re-starting the engine, the warning went away and I regained power steering. About 6 days ago, I drove 15 miles to work, and the same "power steering assist fault" warning came on and stayed on - even after recycling the engine. The "service advance trac" warning also stayed on and I lost the power steering. This is unbelievable, the dealer said that they had to replace the "power-steering gear box", and the part is two days away. I saw someone posted that Ford doesn't consider this a safety issue because you can still steer it. If I have trouble steering it, I hate to think what my wife or daughters would experience. This vehicle isn't like a regular full size car or truck, I am 6'2" and weigh about 270, and when the power steering failed, I could not steer it to park the vehicle in reverse. It was very difficult to steer at any speed under 5mph. If this happened while driving at speed, a person could lose control. This is obviously not a minor fix on a new car. Looking at the posts, Ford needs to address this issue asap. I asked the dealer what this repair would cost if it weren't under warranty. I was told a couple of thousand dollars. If he is correct, that is ridiculous on a 18 month vehicle. I didn't buy this to be a money pit.

- Jacksonville , FL, USA

problem #47

May 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 47,627 miles
I was driving when the steering wheel jerked. The steering immediately became very hard to operate and the engine appeared to lose power. Indicator lights came on about the same time the steering jerked. The lights said "service advance trac" and "terrain management system fault". I had to pull of the road and just trying to make to left turns to pull into a parking lot took all the strength I had in both arms. My turn signals would also not work. I even tried turning the 4 wheel drive knob, as I noticed that the lights were not working on that as well and nothing would light up or show up on the dash screen. I turned off the car while I pulled out my owners manual to look up information on these indicators. After letting the car sit for a while, I restarted the car and the indicator lights were still there. I called Ford road side assistance and had the car towed. I also was put in a rental car. Then today the Ford dealer told me that since my car had 47, 627 miles on it that this problem wasn't covered under warranty. They told me only if it happened in first 36,000 miles. They also said I would have to pay $1865 for a new rack and pinion steering or they would clear the code and I could chance it to see if it happens again. They said it was common and most times you just need to let the car cool down and restart it. This is very upsetting- they knew this was a common problem and then I investigated this further online and found many other people reporting the same issues. Some in just the first month of owning the vehicle. This is the same thing that happened to me with this vehicle and the engine fan not working causing the car to overheat in the first 6 months of owning it. Later I got a recall on it. This is very frustrating- I have a car that is 18 months old and I have to put $1865 into it to fix a common problem/defect. This is a serious defect!

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #46

Apr 222013


  • 20,918 miles
My wife was getting on the freeway with left blinker on to merge lanes and the power steering assist light came on the dashboard and then the power steering quit. My wife with a fully loaded car with kids on board was thankfully able to slowly muscle the car on to the shoulder. She then powered the car off and then restarted it which seemed to fix the problem. Luckily this incident did not happen on curvy road or there would have been a major accident. Ford, please fix this problem. Would hate to see someone get hurt and the Explorer name damaged all over again due to another very serious issue.

- Auburn, CA, USA

problem #45

Apr 132013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
I was traveling at 55 mph on route 322 in pa. I was in the left lane, the car just turned off and the power steering fail light came on also the systemtrac error light came on. I had no steering. I had to pull in front of a semi in order to get to the side of the road. I almost got killed. It is currently at sloan Ford in columbia tn. They say it is the rack and pinion steering. The car is 1 year and 6 months old. How does the steering to so soon" they want to charge me 1900. I have looked online and there are many Ford Explorer from 2011 and 2012 with the same issue. This vehicle needs to be recalled. Why hasn't it been done yet"

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #44

Apr 132013


  • 37,000 miles
I was driving the car down a busy highway when it turned off and I received a power steering fault warning. I had to pull of the road and almost got in an accident. After that the power steering would not work on the vehicle. It was impossible to turn. I googled this and noted this is a problem that you are looking at: This is from the huffington post: Federal safety regulators are investigating complaints that the power steering can fail on 2011 and 2012 Ford Explorer SUVS. Fifteen drivers have complained that the popular Explorer can suddenly lose its power steering assist, making it harder to steer the SUVS. It was extremely dangerous. I purchased this car a year and a half ago. Ford refuses to cover it because it has not officially been recalled. I am lucky I didnt get killed.

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #43

Apr 012013


  • 17,412 miles
Lost power steering while driving. Two warning lights came on-terrain management system fault and service advance trac. Power steering returned after shutting engine of and restarting. Took to dealer and they found two warning codes on the computer, but Ford said problem had to be reverified before they could repair it.

- Manteca, CA, USA

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