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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,050 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 032014


  • 126,000 miles


My 2006 Ford Explorer was parked in the driveway. At 4:30 in the morning it rolled backwards out of my driveway and crashed into a fence across the street. The vehicle had been in park and the doors were locked. My neighbors heard the crash, looked out their window and ran outside. A chain link fence and very small concrete wall stopped the vehicle. Luckily there was no one outside or any other cars. There is significant body damage to my Explorer and the left rear wheel is pushed out. How does a vehicle roll across the street while in park" even if the vehicle is out of warranty, shouldn't this be something Ford would be responsible for"

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #3

Apr 062014


  • 107,000 miles
This happened to our 2006 Ford Explorer (eddie bauer edition, V8 4WD). The rear liftgate glass exploded into a million tiny pieces with no evidence of external trauma. The car was parked in the driveway at the time and the temperature was above freezing (low 40S) and it was not in the sun. Approximately half the glass was scattered across the driveway - 10+ feet away. The rest of the glass was in the back of the SUV. Fortunately no one was around when this happened - and we were not driving the car at the time. This could have resulted in serious injury to a bystander - or an accident as I can only imagine how much that would alarm the driver. I will be cleaning glass bits from the driveway and back of the SUV for a long time to come! at least it is not too warm out so no is tempted to walk barefoot on the drive.

- Anderson, IN, USA

problem #2

Jan 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Was driving when tilt gate glass ajar warning came on, at the same time heard a whistling noise. Upon stopping noticed the lift gate was ajar with and away from the hatch by several inches. Tied to close it and it did not close properly upon inspection the hinge was broke that holds the glass to the vehicle. Managed to get the glass somewhat back in place and drove gingerly home all while the lift gate ajar light was on. There is a lot of white residue packed in part of the hinge not known if it is road salt or not and the hinge has a crack where it separated. My concern is the failure is related to salt and freezing and thawing, and if that is the case how long before the other one fails... also if driving at highway speeds with windows opened could it have caused the glass to shatter scaring the driver of other traffic causing an accident. I have contacted Ford about it in case they wanted to see it and got the normal basic reply car is out of warranty and basically we don't' care at this time.

- Fulton, NY, USA

problem #1

Mar 052008


  • 19,200 miles
I bought a 2006 Ford XLT Explorer with apx. 17,000 miles. I had it for about 3 months it had about 19,000 miles. I drive it about 100 miles to a convention and by the time I got there and pulled into a parking lot the vehicle started shifting hard, jerking and lunging. It was making a loud banging sound and felt like the transmission was going to fall out. I took it to Ford, they did some work on the transfer case and replaced a module. About a month and a thousand miles later, it started doing it again. Took it back to Ford and they did some more work. The shifter lever was replaced. Later it started doing it again. I have taken it back several times and the vehicle continues to have the problem. It doesn't do it every day but does do it several times a week, some days are worse than others. As time goes by it seems to get worse and happen more often. Sometime when I put the vehicle in reverse there is a delay to engage and one morning it cause me to back into another vehicle. It also has a cracked running board.

- Live Oak, CA, USA

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