Notes: The previous generation of Explorer was so awful that the redesign in 2006 was greeted with much optimism. That didn't last long.

The transmission continues to be the Explorer's worst reliability problem. Owners report shifting hard & lunging, typically starting as low as 40k miles with a $1,600 average repair bill. On top of that, the radiator is prone to failure around 60k miles. Repairs for the radiator run $500 to $1,000 & many owners report they've had to replace the radiator multiple times for leaks, indicating a possible design defect in the OEM replacement parts.

Ford did make some significant changes to improve handling and safety. Electronic stability control was added in addition to side impact air bags, but beyond that this is a vehicle that should be avoided at all costs.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,616 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.

2006 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Sep 132009


  • 54,730 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that since the vehicle was purchased the air conditioner has malfunctioned. The gear shift also moved out of park own its own. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer confirmed that there was a recall associated with her VIN for the gear shift and made the necessary repairs. Whenever the vehicle shifts gears on its own it would lunge forward and a metal odor was within the vehicle. The dealer informed the contact that the transmission needed to be replaced. The contact stated also stated that the vehicle was very unsafe to drive. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 54,730.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #3

Aug 022008


  • 56,000 miles
Ac problem- I bought my 06 eddie bauer Explorer with a little over 5000 miles. The ac was making a screeching noise then. Took my SUV back to the dealer where it was purchased, they stated they ran the ac for 15-20 mins. And did not hear the noise. Now according to the service shop where my SUV has been for 3 weeks, my ac (compressor) completely fell apart. Not only that, the parts are on back order. I hardly ever use my ac. If I did, I guess it would of fell apart sooner. Anyhow, my SUV is only a 2006 and as I said I hardly ever use the ac. Not only that, the parts are on back order. Which means I am not the only one having this problem. Ford needs to issue a recall.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #2

May 092008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when she turned her heat on in the vehicle it went from hot air to cold. She tried several times to turn it on and off hoping to reset it, but only cold air would come through the vents. Once the car was parked she noticed a leak from under the car. She took the vehicle to a local mechanic and they diagnosed the problem as a radiator leak. She then contacted the dealerships and informed them of the problem, they informed her that the part was on back order and if she repaired it at any local mechanic it would void the warranty. The dealer advised her not to drive the car, it is parked and has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage 50,000 and current mileage was 51,000.

- Ashburnham, MA, USA

problem #1

Jul 122007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,735 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer that the air conditioner quit working. It had only 5,700 miles on it. I was told that the "O" rings on the ac compressor were leaking. Having the ac go out on a new vehicle with such low miles makes you think about the quality (or lack of) in this vehicle.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

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