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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 1 of 6)

problem #102

Sep 102016


  • 66,000 miles


Vehicle has 66,000 miles. The service power steering now and advancetrac warning lights came on Saturday evening (9/10/16). Vehicle drove with no issues that evening. Sunday morning (9/11/16) the same indicator lights came on and the power steering did not work. Checked for leaks, fuses, etc. And no apparent issues. As dealerships were closed on Sunday, autozone ran diagnostics and showed zero error codes, even with warning lights on. This vehicle is not covered under the existing 2012 Ford Explorer recall regarding the same issue that seems to be occurring in the same year, make and model of car.

- Ankeny, IA, USA

problem #101

Jun 232016


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. While driving at a low speed in reverse, the steering wheel seized completely. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the angle sensor and housing needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 76,000.

- East Moline, IL, USA

problem #100

Jun 262016


  • 17,660 miles
When I was driving my Ford Explorer 2012 on a busy highway (us 60), the vehicle suddenly reminded me that "power steering assist fault", then the steering wheel became inoperable, which put me in an extremely dangerous position. Very luckily, no accident happened; a gentleman stepped out his vehicle and told me to restart the vehicle; after that my vehicle become operable. This is the first time, "power steering assist fault" occurred in this vehicle, and it was completely unexpected during driving in a busy highway. It is a very dangerous fault!!! on Oct. 1st, 2014, this vehicle's "power steering control module" was reprogrammed, (2011-2013 Explorer, electric power steering reprogram pscm), at a Ford dealer. The fault occurred today appears an evidence that the "reprogram" did not solve the problem. Given a large number of Ford Explorer running on the road, I believe, this is a very serious highway safety problem.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #99

Apr 262016


  • 60,000 miles


When we first bought the Explorer in 2012 the steering quit working on a hill and my wife crashed into a bank and a concrete light pole. Never was paid back for our insurance deductible plus now we have a wreck car not worth nothing even thought it was repaired. Ford did there update recall to the steering. All has been fine till April 2016. Twice it has showed a steering assist fault and the steering wheel wouldn't move. Luckily it was in the driveway. Ford can't look at it for a week so it sits in our driveway my wife is scared to drive it again and I don't blame her. So here we are again same problem which was suposabley fixed

- Rathdrum, ID, USA

problem #98

Mar 282016


  • 55,620 miles
I first reported an incident with the loss of power steering on March 24. I was told the problem was resolved by the dealer by replacing my battery? here it is 10 days later and another power steering assist failure. Vehicle was remote started from inside our home. 5 or more minutes later my wife got in the truck to find no power steering and the "power steering assist fault" error message on the dash.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #97

Mar 122016


  • 55,500 miles
My wife first told me she thought she had a flat in the front tire because the steering wheel was pulling back and forth. She stopped to check, no flats. Restarted the vehicle and all was good. Later that week while driving her dashboard lights blinked including the traction control lights. (she wasn't sure what other lights illuminated) at the same time the power steering failed. The software fix had already been done for recall 14S06 last August. Took the vehicle to the dealer and was told the battery didn't have enough charge to run diagnostics? there was never any sign of a weak battery. I had no recourse but to have them change it. After installing the new one I was told no codes are present that would warrent any additional service. I am not confident at all that this vehicle is safe to drive.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #96

Dec 232015


  • 45,795 miles


While making a left hand turn, the power steering went out, causing my vehicle to veer into a brick mailbox and ditch. Resulting in major damage to my vehicle and mailbox. Also causing injury to my right arm and shoulder.

- Jackson, GA, USA

problem #95

Nov 112014


  • 80,700 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving at a low speed, the instrument panel illuminated. In addition, the contact stated that while driving at high speeds, the steering wheel would shake. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was repaired but the failure recurred. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number 14V286000 (steering). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,700.

- Hugo, MN, USA

problem #94

Jul 222015


  • 34,500 miles
I was on a residential street driving 35 miles an hour when the car suddenly went less than 5 miles an hour immediately. I drove it off to a safe spot and parked it. Luckily no one was behind med and I was not on an interstate or highway. No warning. It would not go over 5 miles an hour, even with the accelerator push all the way to the floor. I took it back to the dealer, where it was evaluated and I was told it needed an "update". now, I received a letter in the mail from Ford and was told there is a recall on this car's power steering unit. I am afraid of now driving the car till the electrical /computer system is fully tested. How do I get an answer?

- Tahlequah, OK, USA

problem #93

Jun 222015


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 30 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver and the service power steering warning light illuminated. In addition, the contact stated that the steering seized. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering gear needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering). The failure mileage was 42,000.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #92

Jun 142015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles


Power steering failed on interstate. Driver drove to a safe place. I met them and drove the car to a place until it could be driven to a dealership. When I tried to drive it to the dealership, vehicle would not steer at all. I called a tow truck. Dealership told me the steering gear needed replaced. They said it wasn't covered under the recall. I called Ford customer service and they said the recall had been performed and was closed, therefore the steering gear was not covered. When they performed the software upgrade for the steering I had not had a problem with the steering. I believe Ford agreed to the recall and provided the software upgrade to avoid fixing the real problem, the steering gear. If the steering had completely locked up on my wife, she could have been involved in a violent accident at 70 mph. I think the investigation should be reopened on the steering failure, due to the fact people could be injured or killed in an accident and because I believe Ford chose to make the least costly repair to avoid correcting the problem. I am not the only person that has had this problem. I have seen multiple posts where Ford did the same thing to other owners with this problem. It is obvious the cost difference between a software "fix" and the steering gear replacement at a cost of over $1,500 would be the desired fix for Ford. The safety fix would be replacement of the steering gear. I believe you should investigate any accidents that may have occurred due to this defect and may not have been investigated due to extensive front end damage. I could not steer the vehicle at all, when I wanted to drive it to the dealer. This was witnessed by relatives and the tow truck driver. I don't think Ford should be able to offer a "software fix" to a problem that is not fixed by the software upgrade. Thank you for all you do.

- East Bank, WV, USA

problem #91

Jun 232015


  • 49,696 miles
On 6/23/2015 my wife brought her 2012 Ford Explorer to me stating it was very hard to steer. By the time I left work at 6pm, the hixson Ford dealership was closed. The next morning, while on the way to the Ford dealership and while going around a long curve on hwy 546, the steering wheel totally locked up causing me to be within inches of hitting an on-coming car in the curve. Jerking the wheel in the opposite direction that I was turning in the curve and then back unlocked it and enabled me to get back in my lane. Ford states that they had already "reprogrammed the pscm power steering control module" last July so therefore the "recall" for this issue (#14S06) has already been cleared for this particular vehicle. Whether Ford already reprogrammed the pscm or not, the issue which the recall was issued "power steering may lock up" has happened. My position is that "reprogramming" or "updating the software" is not going to fix a faulty sensor which is a part of the steering gear so the "alternative" recall fix should have been completed in the first place which is "replacing the steering gear". hixson wants $1,795 to replace the electronic steering gear. The faulty sensor cannot be replaced because it's apparently built into the steering gear. This recall issue should be paid for by Ford who has already admitted to a faulty sensor. I'm now on my 6th day of a rental car.

- Eros, LA, USA

problem #90

Jun 282015


  • 65,000 miles
When turning steering wheel left to right it makes clunking sound sound comes from under car most of the time to the right

- Sparks, GA, USA

problem #89

Jun 282015


  • 650,000 miles
Steering making clunking noise when you turn steering left to right most of the time to the right

- Sparks, GA, USA

problem #88

Jun 082015


  • 37,000 miles
I first encountered the problem on Monday June 08, 2015 as I was driving to work at the traffic light all of a sudden the steering was really hard to steer as I was trying to make a left turn I had to use all of might to make the turn very scary. I was able to drive my car home after work that night, everything okay till Wednesday, June 10, 2015 @ 7-8am, driving to drop my kids off to school and work, as I was a making a left turn it happened again, but worst it was busier day, 2 error message came on about steering assist and trac advance message, and 2 lights came on dashboard with a car and 2 wavy lines (road) 2nd picture was the same with the word off. I had to use all my might and drive slow to turn into the school turned the car off and on hoping lights will go off, still the same call my boss let her my car issues and that im running late. I called Ford service dept, I was told to the bring car in immediately not safe to drive but it will cost me to tow car. I drove car in that night myself, Thursday pick up rental, Friday -06/12/15, I received a call from Ford saying part will cost me 1500.00- $2000, not including labor. Outrageous its a electrical problem Ford should fix it free, but no per rep, let him know what I want to do on Monday rental will be on my own after that. Wow, first my rental I have to pay for upgrade it was not same size as my vehicle, family of 6(including my blind, disabled wheelchair father) who we care for, Ford still wont cover for a car same size as my car. I was told I need to take care of the difference for rental upgrade if I want a bigger car. So, ive decided I dont have that kind of money so I will pick my car up on Monday, June 15, 2015 and hope and pray that I wont get into an accident because Ford will not work me. My option is to trade my car in for another car and spend more money. Very disappointed in Ford!!!!!

- Wailuku, HI, USA

problem #87

May 262015


  • 56,000 miles
On my way to work the service power steering light came on in my 2012 Ford Explorer. When I got work I called the Ford dealer they said bring the vehicle in the steering could go out. Later the same day I took it to the dealer and the steering went out in the 2.5 mile trip to get to there. I was going very slow and managed to maintain control of the car, it was difficult and scary, no hydraulics any more these systems are all electronic. The dealer has had the vehicle for a week and has not been able to recreate or diagnosis what's wrong and therefore how to fix it. Ford has been absolutely no help will not return phone calls, nothing. So today they stop the car rental coverage and shove an undiagnosed safely issue back on me. I really do not want to drive this vehicle not knowing if the steering might go out at any time. I found on the internet there have been steering recalls on this vehicle make, model and year, but apparently only those assembled in Chicago. Ford has not issued a recall on this vehicle.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #86

May 292015


  • 42,000 miles
I went to crank my car and when I did I immediately received a power steer fail assist notice. My car had no power steering. I was able to slowly drive to a parking space and review my owner's manual. I let the car set for 10 seconds and then cranked again in hopes that it would reset. It didn't. I was able to drive home and park the car. This morning I took the car to hixson Ford in monroe, la. By that time I had received a traction error on the dashboard and also was unable to use my signal light. I was told all of this was in relation to the power steering and the need to replace the steering column for a price of $1794. It appears that Ford is very aware of the problems of the power steering failure. Why hasn't there been a larger recall? my car is not one of the 2012 models that was recalled. Just out of warranty and then this. I think further investigation is needed in the problems with the power steer failure.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #85

May 292015


  • 42,000 miles
I am unable to enter the date of 5/29/2015 which was the date this occurred. The car was driving good and I stopped to shop. I came back to the car, cranked the car and immediately received the message of power assist failure. I tried to back up and realized that I had no power steering. I was able to get to a parking spot and checked the service manual. I followed the instructions and hoped that the power steering would reset as was told in the owner's manual. I was able to drive slowly and get home. Today I took my car to hixson Ford, monroe, la and had it checked. At this point I was receiving an additional error messages related to traction. Also, my signal lights would not work. I had read last night that there were some recalls on this problem related to Ford Explorer. The technician checked my car and told me we would have to replace the steering shaft/gears for $1,794. I had to leave my car at the dealership because it is not driveable. I would like for you to check and see if this is an on-going problem for cars with VIN numbers not included in the recall. I was told the recall was based on where the car was manufactured. It appears to me that Ford has consistently had a problem with the power assist failure on 2012 Ford Explorer.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #84

May 252015


  • 60,000 miles
Started car and power steering assist failure warning came on. You could not steer at all. Had to turn car off and on a couple times to get computer to reset. Cars 3 yrs old just out of warranty and Ford won't cover it even though steering could lock up as your driving.

- Manteca, CA, USA

problem #83

May 012015


  • 50,100 miles
I received a recall notice a while ago and took my car in right away for the software fix. Not long after that, I started having problems where the power steering intermittently didn't seem to be working. 2 weeks ago I took it to the dealer to be checked. They said they found no problem. 7 days later I got in my car and immediately got a power steering assist fault error on the dashboard and couldn't turn the steering wheel. I had it towed to the dealership but once it was there, the power steering was working fine. Now, 5 days later, my car is still there and the only thing they keep telling me is that they have not been able to replicate the problem so they can't do anything. I sent the service rep a link to multiple websites where many people have had this exact same problem which can only be repaired by replacing the steering gear assembly but they made it clear that they won't fix it until they see it happen for themselves even though they retrieved the error code from the diagnostics in the car. I contacted a Ford rep directly and got an email message from the regional rep who also said that if the dealership cannot replicate the problem there is no repair. So, unless it happens again while they have it I'll have to just drive it and hope that when it does happen again it isn't in a situation that injures me or a member of my family. Also, if it does happen again while I'm driving but doesn't go out permanently it doesn't matter because they'll only fix it if it happens to them no matter what codes are present in the system. So it appears that intermittent loss of power steering is ok for Ford since they'll only repair it if they experience it no matter what the car diagnostics say! how many Ford owners are on the road now just waiting for their power steering to go completely out" how is this a safe policy" I shouldn't be afraid to drive my car!!!

- Concord, CA, USA

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