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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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Jun 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles


I was driving my Ford Explorer on a road when a "service advance trak" warning appeared on the left hand dash. My steering wheel locked, and I had to forcibly muscle the car to the side of the road. I turned the car ignition off, then back on, and the error went away. Clearly, this was dangerous, as I could have crashed into another car. A few weeks went by, this happened again sporadically during this time, usually after my car was in "park." Yesterday I turned my car on, and "power steering issue" popped up as a warning, and again the car was not able to be steered as the steering wheel locked. Despite turning the ignition off and on, the warning and steering lock did not turn back on. I had the car towed back to the dealer.

- Blue Bell, PA, USA

problem #21

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 #20

Jul 312012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 16,100 miles
Three times in the same day my power steering went out. Once when I started the car first thing in the morning and was backing our of my garage. Twice when I started driving forward after idling in a drive through line it went out. All three times I received warnings immediately after the power steering was lost that the power steering assist was out. Each time I had to turn the engine off and restart it to regain the power steering.

- Saline, MI, USA

problem #19

Jul 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,487 miles


My 2012 Ford Explorer limited has lost power steering while in motion on four occasions, in less than one week time period. It loses all ability to steer and will only work again once it has been restarted.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #18

Jan 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Complete loss of power steering. Happened multiple times. It showed power steering assist fault in the instrument cluster. Very dangerous. When will it happen again at highway speeds on a corner? hopefully someone can help because I really don't feel like driving this vehicle with my wife and 2 small children. Please note I live in toronto, Ontario, Canada, M8W2H8.

- Toronto, Ontario Canada, 00, USA

problem #17

Jul 262012


  • 5,000 miles
Driving down the Massachusetts turnpike the power steering assist failed and I almost hit another car because the vehicle was extremely difficult to steer.

- Wellesley, MA, USA

problem #16

Mar 012012

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles


I have had 4 different instances where I received a "power steering assist failure" while driving the vehicle straight or entering a turn. This has occurred at speeds ranging from 10 mph and up to 40 mph. When I can finally pull over and turn the car on and off the warning goes away, and the power steering starts working again.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #15

Jul 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 10,905 miles
From a stop-zero mph, conducted a right turn from surface street to freeway on-ramp. Mid-turn, power steering assist failed, resulting in near accident/running off-roadway surface. Additionally, elec stability control (Ford 'advancetrac') warning light indicators illuminated indicating service required immediately.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,800 miles
I live in ecuador (South America) and bought a 2012 Explorer base model, on October 2011. A few days ago, after a long trip, I got the "advance trac" error message, and 3 days ago, I got the power steering failure, and the steering wheel got locked, traveling at around 20 mph, the two messages were on the screen, advance track and power steering. I turned the car off and then back on, and everything was normal. Yesterday I turned on the car and had no power steering, I had to turn it off and on again, to have it back.

- Guayaquil, Ecuador, FL, USA

problem #13

Jul 192012


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford explored. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle then independently came to a complete stop. He was able to reset the vehicle and the vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer stated they needed to replace the power steering pump and the power steering rack. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and the current mileage was 13,000. The VIN was not available.

- Kensington , MD, USA

problem #12

Jul 032012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,080 miles


We had just driven 1 1/2 hours (about 100 miles) from home to a campground, pulling our fleetwood pop-up camper. Drove highway speeds, with air conditioning on (as it was hot outside), sometimes using the "tow" mode other times not. Vehicle acted fine during our trip. Pulled into the parking lot to register at the office and shut off the motor for about 15 min. Started it again to pull into our site and there was no power steering. Got a warning on the dash that said "power steering assist fault". note: This had happened a couple weeks prior to this under similar circumstances, but after shutting off the ignition and restarting, problem cleared itself. Not so lucky this time. Power steering did not come back. It was 4:30 pm the day before a national holiday (July 4th) and I knew it was not going to get looked at until at least 2 days later. Ford roadside assistance could only offer to have it towed to the nearest dealer 21 miles away. I decided to have it towed on July 5th. On July 4th, after letting it sit all night and completely cool down, I started it up. Same problem plus two additional warning messages: "service advancetrack" and "terrain management system fault". vehicle was towed to dealer and diagnosed as needing the steering gear (part of the electronic rack and pinion steering). Part #bb5Z-3504-he. I was told there were over 500 on back order and no estimated date as to when they will be in stock. Had I known there was this known problem with the Explorer I certainly wouldn't have bought one. Why wasn't there a recall? there are now almost 600 of these parts on back order which tells me there are a lot of consumers affected and potentially many more to come. The service manager told me the design of the part was changed after my Ford was built.

- Bedford, NH, USA

problem #11

Jul 172012


  • 12,352 miles
Greetings, I saw information on the web that stated the NHTSA is investigating issues with 2011 Ford Explorer power steering fault as to a possible safety recall. The information I saw was specific to the 2011 model year. However, I have a 2012 with the same issue. For no apparent reason, a "power steering assist fault" message is displayed followed by "service advance track". this can happen at anytime, without warning, regardless of your speed. This is very dangerous !!! my wife almost hit the railing on a curved bridge when the power steering decided to quit. And luckily, there was no oncoming traffic at the time. The vehicle was just purchased last November (2011) and has approximately 10K miles. This is definitely a dangerous safety issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible !!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Ridgely, MD, USA

problem #10

Jul 122012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,800 miles
As I was driving through two consecutive 90 degree turns at approximately 15 mph, the power steering failed causing the vehicle to be extremely difficult to turn. Due to the loss of power, the vehicle nearly left the road into an adjacent ditch. The vehicle warning lights on the dash did light up indicating a failure. Once regaining control of the vehicle, I turned the vehicle off. Upon restarting the vehicle, the failure lights were still lit. After reading the owner's manual, I determined it would not harm the vehicle to continue driving it without power steering. Approximately 0.2 miles later the power to the power steering system was restored.

- Silvis, IL, USA

problem #9

Jun 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,255 miles
I imported this 2012 Ford Explorer to bolivia, bought in miami, fl. I was driving on a straight road, relatively slow (30mph). Suddenly the steering got stiff, making it extremely hard to turn. I slowly parked on the side of the road. The dashboard showed a sign that read: Steering fault assist. I turned the vehicle off, then back on again. The problem went away. I am lucky that I was not going any faster, on a highway, or on a curve. A friend who bought a 2012 Explorer here in bolivia, from an newly (2012) authorized dealer, had the exact same problem. He was on a highway, going at approx 60mph. Fortunately for him, he was going straight, and was able to park on the side.

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #8

Jun 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,100 miles
While driving approx 45mph the system track warning light came on & beeped, immediately followed by the power steering failure light. I was in an area with heavy construction & could not pull off the road immediately & steering became less & less responsive & in less than a minute as I found a place to pull off, the steering locked up totally. I called for tow service after turning off & back on with the same warnings & unable to turn it at all. While waiting on tow, I turned it off a couple of more times & the steering was back but the system track control light remained on. Once the car made it to the dealership, they were unable to duplicate the problem after checking, driving & rechecking for four days. I was told to drive it & return if it happened again. I am scared to death to drive this car for fear of it happening on the freeway at much higher speeds or my normal route to work which involves numerous curves & curves on bridges with no place to get off the road even if I could manage to get it off the road. My husband also fears for my safety in this vehicle. How many chances do I get before I crash & hurt or kill myself and/or someone else. I for sure do not want to carry any passengers in a vehicle that is capable of carrying seven.

- Lizella, GA, USA

problem #7

Jun 302012


  • 9,150 miles
I was on the entrance ramp to the get on the highway and my steering locked up. I lost my power steering and the power steering assist fault light came on and the service advance trac warning also came on flashing back and forth between the two. This terrified me and thank goodness there wasn't much traffic and I was able to exit the highway and stop the car. The power steering came back on when the car was started. This is a very dangerous situation and I hope it is addressed immediately.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 222012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Lost all power steering suddenly on the freeway, making it very difficult to steer. Was only one mile from my dealer, so I drove there. Very difficult to maneuver turns. Later determined by dealer that the power steering gear needed replacement. Has been on back order for one week now, part will not be available until following week at least. New vehicle, only 11,000 miles.

- Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 252012


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while waiting at traffic light, the power steering failed and the steering wheel was difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were 11,000.

- San Antonio , TX, USA

problem #4

Apr 252012


  • 13,000 miles
Power steering failure while driving 40 mph on highway changing lanes. Second time power steering has failed on freeway at lower rate of speed. Vehicle now at fritts Ford in riverside for third time regarding sudden power steering failure.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,200 miles
While driving grandchild to school the power steering suddenly went out requiring a tremendous amount of torque to turn car. I received several faults including traction control, traction control off, power steering assist fault. I was able to manhandle the car to a safe place and shut down the engine and after a few moments restarted an all faults cleared. If my wife had been driving at this time we would have been reporting an accident for she could not have possibly have turned this car. I immediately took the car to riggins motors (selling dealer) and had to leave the car with them for investigation. This is a problem Ford needs to overcome now and not stall like they did on the my touch problem for this could easily cause a loss of life if it hasn't already happened.

- Poquoson, VA, USA

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