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:
22,000 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 accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 082010


  • 69,000 miles


2006 Ford Explorer XLT wouldn't start dealership replaced instrument cluster cost $544. Still hesitates to start (turn key nothing... no clicking takes a few attempts) took back dealership says starter is bad. Now ABS+traction light +wrench light on. Taking back tomorrow. How can all these problems surface at once and not be related"??"

- Greenville, OH, USA

problem #4

Nov 282009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that as he attempted to start his vehicle with the gear shift in park, he was unsuccessful; however, he was able to start the vehicle in neutral. The dealer confirmed that there was a shortage in the instrument cluster. The dealer also stated that they could repair the vehicle for $700. The contact is aware that his extended warranty does not include the instrument cluster. There is no recall for this part. The failure mileage was 40,000. Updated 01/15/10. Updated 01/19/10.

- Gary, IN, USA

problem #3

Nov 012007


  • miles
2006 Ford Explorer with trac and wrench light illuminated. Consumer states they have taken the vehicle back several times to have this problem fixed. The mechanic stated it was fixed and then the failure would begin again. The consumer stated when the lights were on, the vehicle would hesitate, the brakes would pulse and then the vehicle stalled.

- Vina, AL, USA

problem #2

Apr 072007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2006 Ford Explorer with frequent transmission problems. Customer states that the transmission has shifting inconsistencies which causes the vehicle to shake. The consumer stated the erratic shifting of the vehicle started the day after purchase and after the incident he contacted the dealership to inform them of the defect. The dealership then in turn had the consumer come in on 4 separate occasions to rectify the situation but to no avail. The consumer would like the situation investigated and would like for the dealer to repurchase the vehicle at the value in which it was sold. The dealer stated the speakers sound like they are distorted, top cover of instrument cluster is loose.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
- the contact stated that the 2006 eddie bauer Ford Explorer's dashboard instrument lights turned on at any given time of the day. The contact stated that if the lights turned on while driving the speedometer failed to register the correct speed. When the failure happened she pulled the vehicle to the side of the road and shut the ignition off, but it took several attempts to restart the vehicle. The contact took the vehicle to the dealership on 8 occasions, and the dealership has replaced the instrument cluster, the anti theft module, and the computer. Also unplugged and plugged all the wires under the hood. The contact stated that she continued to have the same problem with the vehicle. The failure mileage was 1000 and the current mileage was 8485.

- Olney, IL, USA

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