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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,721 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #18

Mar 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


With only 86,000 miles our Ford Explorer transmission has failed once again. When we had 23,000 miles on our vehicle we noticed the transmission was shifting rather hard and took it to the dealer and they found nothing wrong. At 58,000 miles the transmission engagement was so rough that we had to get it repaired. Since the warranty is only up to 36,000 we decided our best bet is to not take it to the dealer. We had the valve body repaired and it ran fine up until now. 86,000 miles and this vehicle is once again at a repair shop having the transmission fully rebuilt. In the time I have owned this vehicle I have paid over $7,000 to keep it running with regular maintenance, tires, radiator repair, brakes and now the third transmission.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #17

May 062012


  • 91,000 miles
When I was driving, 3 dashboard lights came on: The wrench, the ABS light, and the low traction. When I turned left, the right rear wheel grabbed and made a grinding sound. There was also a higher pitched noise that sounded like metal striking metal. The mechanic has stated that the tone ring broke on the right rear drive axle, and this is a common Ford problem. When it broke, it damaged the brake unit on my right rear wheel as well. The repair isn't cheap - I wish I would have known this was a possibility when I bought the vehicle.

- New Albany, OH, USA

problem #16

Feb 082012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 126,888 miles
The wrench, the ABS, and the anti-sway icons started coming on intermittently on my 2006 Explorer. They would reset immediately using the reset button. The dealer replaced a wheel-speed sensor and stated that the sensor was damaged when the "tone" wheel cracked. Dealer also stated that unless the tone wheel was replaced, the ABS was not operational. They charge about $200 for the repair.

- Fort Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #15

Mar 122012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65,450 miles


While driving on the freeway and applying my foot on the brakes the vehicle failed to stop. ABS, traction control and a wrench light came on. Grinding noise came from the vehicle. This incident happened while driving my wife and newborn home from the hospital. After taking it to a shop, the mechanic noticed that the tone ring or ABS ring was cracked. This must be replaced in order for the vehicle to have functional brakes. The shop told me that the ABS ring had a different part number and the material was much thicker than the old ring.

- Garden City, MI, USA

problem #14

Nov 012011


  • 97,500 miles
Engine stalls. Whenever it feels like it, hot or cold, slowing down to stop, turning left or right, on the street roads and freeways. Starts and go again after 5/10 minutes but this is ridiculous. I paid so much money and time for diagnostic and parts already and yesterday was the worst. My 2006 Ford Explorer stalled in the middle of the freeway. Date: Nov 1, 2011, time:1550, and my wife was driving, when she's not happy, nobody's happy....she almost got ran over as she open her door, she could not go anywhere but wait for time to either cool off or reset on the engine.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #13

Aug 122010

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 39,750 miles
At random times and not often, when I put the SUV in park, and turn off the truck and remove my foot from the brake, the truck will continue to roll. It is as though the SUV is in neutral, put it is in park. The SUV will roll until something stops it like a curb or applying the brake. To fix the problem, I have to place the shift gear to from park to another gear and back to park. At that time, the truck will catch. Over the past year or so, it has occurred 6 or 7 times. I took the truck in for service and they checked the transmission and gear box and found no issue. The problem occurred again last week. Since the dealer cannot see the problem, they say there is no problem. However, it is a matter of time of when it occurs and I am not aware of it not locking and it rolls when there is nobody to stop it or a curb. There is no pattern since it has occurred at work, grocery store, home, etc.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #12

Jul 252011


  • 66,720 miles


The wrench, the ABS, and the anti-sway icons started coming on intermittently on my 2006 Explorer. They would reset immediately using the reset button. The dealer replaced a wheel-speed sensor and stated that the sensor was damaged when the "tone" wheel cracked. Dealer also stated that unless the tone wheel was replaced, the ABS was not operational. Seems like this is a major safety concern; if you think you have ABS, but don't the driver is set up for the big fall! Ford is aware of this cracking problem: Why no recall?

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #11

Jun 042006


  • 86,000 miles
ABS brake light and intermittent locking up brakes with stability control almost causing accident as you lose control while driving.

- Brighton, IL, USA

problem #10

Feb 182011


  • 64,500 miles
I own a 2006 Ford Explorer with only 64,000 miles and the tone rings on the ABS brakes have both cracked, not costing me over $1000 in repair bills. This is an item that should not crack with only 64K miles of use.

- Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #9

Oct 102009


  • 55,000 miles
When I hit the brakes in an emergency, and sometimes at other times, my foot strikes the gas pedal too causing the motor to rev up and not stop timely which has caused me to almost have a serious accident on at 3 occasions. I have had it checked and Ford Motor Co says they have heard of the problem before but there is nothing they can do about it and it causes me great safety concerns. Once a semi truck pulled out in front of me on a highway and I barely avoided an accident as the force of the motor would not let the brakes have full effect.

- Salinas, CA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Feb 132010


  • 49,932 miles
I had just left the gym when my 2006 Explorer almost caused an accident. During acceleration while making a right hand turn from a stop light, the car stopped abruptly as if I were slamming on the brakes. I was not applying the brakes at all, I was actually trying to accelerate. The brakes were stopping the vehicle rapidly without my input. I was very close to being rear ended. I decided to pull the car to a safe spot and while I was trying to turn into a parking lot, the car decided to stop itself, almost getting me rear ended again. I had the Explorer towed to the nearest dealer where repairs were performed at the tune of $423.78. The ABS tone ring had cracked, causing the system to stop the car. I still have the old broken tone ring. I am almost nervous driving the thing at higher speeds for fear of what might happen if it brakes again. Would the SUV roll or cause a bad accident if the brakes were applied so violently at highway speeds without any driver input?

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #6

Nov 082009


  • 36,100 miles
ABS failure in 2006 Ford Explorer. Dealer repair shop identified broken sensor ring on left-rear wheel. Required expensive replacement of axle. Car has only 36,000 miles and a little over 3 years old.

- Delray Beach, FL, USA

problem #5

Sep 212009


  • 50,743 miles
The problem is with a 2006 Ford Explorer. Everytime I start the car or get ready to pull out the motor revs up. Thankfully I have had my foot on the brake or else I would have been hit because my car would have went out into traffic. This is something that happens on a daily basis. So far I have not been involved in an accident but if ever I do not have my foot on the brake there is a great chance there will be. This is only one of the problems I am facing with my Explorer.

- Newland, NC, USA

problem #4

Oct 052006


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. In March of 2006, the vehicle made a grinding noise. The vehicle was taken in for service at least 8 or more times between March of 2006 and October of 2006. In October of 2006, the brakes failed and the contact rear ended another vehicle at 25 mph. She woke up in the emergency room due to injuries she sustained. A police report was filed. The contact has documentation that she will mail in pertaining to the failures. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 212009


  • 36,402 miles
Trac control, ABS, check engines lights on. Rattle on left rear axle, ABS ring loose form axle, need to replace ring and axle.

- Platteville, WI, USA

problem #2

Jul 122008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
2006 Ford Explorer brakes malfunctioned. Consumer states that she applied the brakes but the vehicle accelerated out of control. The consumer stated the vehicle plunged into the water. The vehicle was deemed totaled.

- Montauk, NY, USA

problem #1

Jun 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
I own a 2006 Explorer eddie bauer with 3000 miles on it. Here is the problem, just before coming to a complete stop at stop light, stop sign or whatever, the engine revs to 1200-1500 rpms for just a brief second. I am not giving the car any gas to induce this occurrence. I have no idea why the car is doing this and neither does my local dealer. The service manager acknowledged that the car is in fact doing what I described above, but could not offer a fix. I tested another 2006 V6 Explorer with 3 miles on it, to mine and the service manager surprise; it did the exact same thing as my truck. The service manager said he would look into the situation and call some of his engineer buddies to see if they could give him any information. I never heard back from him. I am also beginning to notice that I actually have to break harder to get the truck to come to a complete stop. This can not be normal, yet my Ford dealer is insinuating nothing is actually wrong with the car. Longer than necessary stopping distances and will lead to unnecessary collisions. Because the Ford Motor Company will not admit there is a problem with 2006 V6 Explorer my dealer will probably do nothing to remedy the situation. I complained to Ford Motor Company and never even received a confirmation that they received my email. I honestly believe that this is a recall situation. To my knowledge, all 2006 V6 Explorer exhibit this problem of sudden acceleration, admittedly not by any stretch a powerful sudden acceleration but still it is a sudden acceleration. I am confident in my assessment because I have personally driven 2 Explorer and different service rep claimed he drove yet another 06 Explorer that did exactly the same thing. It seems to me that if Ford has a design flaw in one of there cars they should design a fix for the problem and then repair the affected cars.

- Woodmere, NY, USA

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