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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,236 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 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

May 152008


  • 30,000 miles


My 2006 Ford Explorer which has 52,000 miles on it has a leaking radiator. From what I have heard this is normal on this year vehicle. This is shameful and Ford should man up and fix the problem.

- Union, NJ, USA

problem #54

Aug 222010


  • 21,747 miles
Ford Explorer 2006 engine overheating. Outside air temperature 118 F', was stranded with infant in the car. Had car towed, and discovered this is a recurring problem in the radiator, coolant and hose parts on this model, as shown on apart from heat exhaustion, no injuries to report.

- Doha, Qatar, 00, USA

problem #53

Jul 192010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer - problem with radiator. I bought my Ford Explorer brand new and after approximately 1 year, the radiator started going bad and as of now, I have had to replace 7 radiators. My parents bought the same year Explorer and have had to replace 5 radiators. I contacted Ford directly, and of course, they told me they have had no reports of the defect. I find that hard to believe. A friend who works for Ford told us that they have had problems with those radiators but that there is no solution so they are unable to issue a recall. The most terrifying case was 2 years ago. I was driving through nashville Tennessee at 7 months pregnant and my car overheated on the interstate. I had only had my most recent radiator for 3 months. It apparently cracked. The radiators leak fluid so you must check fluids regularly to prevent a breakdown as there has been no warning.

- Buford, GA, USA

problem #52

Jul 162010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


Second radiator in 2006 Ford Explorer, first one was at 32000 miles. I have seen over 100 complaints but yet no recall from Ford. The first was covered under the new warranty. I was fortunate to have purchased a new service warranty when that one expired, now at 92,000 miles the radiator completely drained causing the motor head gasket to blow. It is currently at the dealer getting a new motor and radiator.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #51

Jul 052010


  • miles
Third radiator replacement in a year. First one went out at about 45,000 miles. The others have only last a couple months. Was under extended warrenty for replacements and now it is not. After seeing the numerous complaints on forums about this issue it is about time Ford takes this issue and does something to fix it. And fix it right!

- Romulus, MI, USA

problem #50

Jun 302010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer. At 40000 miles the transmission went out and had to be replaced. Shortly thereafter I had a cracked radiator and had my first radiator replaced. I now have 67000 miles and just had my 3rd radiator put in. I am not going through Ford as they wouldn't guarantee their work on the first one they replaced. Clearly there is a major problem with the radiators in this car and it is unfair to all of us who purchased this vehicle.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #49

Jun 182010


  • 53,000 miles


2006 Ford Explorer eddie bauer with approx. 53K miles has a radiator leak as reported by the Ford dealer. No warranty or recall. Have found this is a very common problem with a very expensive repair price tag.

- Bahama, NC, USA

problem #48

Jun 172010


  • 40,000 miles
Faulty radiator in 2006 Ford Explorer eddie bauer 2wd 4-door. Radiator leak at 40K miles. It started with the engine revving up after few minutes of drive upon acceleration. Took it to dealer who says leaky radiator may be causing engine to heat up and the abnormal transmission function. I see many reports on internet with multiple radiator leak problems with this year model and in some cases upto 5 radiator replacements under 50K. This has got to be a recall from Ford.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #47

Apr 092008


  • 37,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer XLT #rd radiator going in today. Ford knows about problem and still lets customers pay for issue.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #46

Jun 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
1. the radiator on my 2006 Ford Explorer 4.0L V6 began leaking after just 3 years and 49K miles--despite regular maintenance. There was no warning signs, the vehicle overheated and fortunately we were able to safely return it to the dealer. 2. in taking it to my Ford dealer they said it would need to be replaced at a cost to me of $1200 (since the warranty expired at 36K miles). 3. Ford's issued a tsb in April 2009 with a diagnosis for this issue and have a redesigned radiator they recommend replacing any failed radiators that year with. In contacting Ford motor they take no responsibility for this issue since it's out of warranty.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #45

Jun 042010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


Radiator is leaking from a seam. Mileage is 52,000. Seems very early to be replacing a radiator. Dealer wants $1100 to replace. It appears that radiator failure on 2006 Ford Explorer V6 is a very common problem.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #44

Jun 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
Model year - 2006 make - Ford model - Explorer V6 component* - cracked radiator.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #43

Apr 062010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer XLS V6 radiator started leaking after 36,000 miles.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #42

Oct 272007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer - 62,000 miles and I am on radiator #5 - manufacturer and dealer will not do anything to help - stating it is not under warranty and I did not by extended warranty 1/2007 purchased vehicle - 10/2007 28,000 miles replaced radiator - dealer cost under warranty 3/2009 45,000 miles replaced radiator again - my cost - not under warranty 10/2009 54,500 miles replaced radiator again. Dealer pd independant garage - March radiator was under warranty. 5/10- replaced radiator again - radiator under warranty - but labor was my cost...

- East Syracuse , NY, USA

problem #41

May 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer eddie bauer V6-4.0L noticed antifreeze leak at 62,000 miles took to my mechanic and he told me that the radiator was bad leaking at seams. Told me that it was a very common problem for that year. Replacement for new radiator is $750. He told me to call Ford and see if they had a silent recall on these as there is a tsb out for this, they said there is nothing they can do about it. Checking different internet sites this is a very common problem as he stated.

- Saugus, MA, USA

problem #40

Oct 132009


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the radiator leaked and failed. The radiator was replaced twice before and the dealer was replacing it for the third time at the time of the complaint. The manufacturer informed the contact there were no recalls or warranties on the vehicle. The failure mileage was approximately 40,000.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #39

Mar 282010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
Once the vehicle reaches 35,000 to 40,000 miles, radiator failure is common. Radiator had to be replaced on my 2006 Ford Explorer V6 at 39,000 miles. Apparently this problems is known to Ford Motor Company, as they've created a tsb for it stating to replace the radiator with a new design and to update the computer software on the vehicle. Radiators should not fail this soon on new cars.

- Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #38

Apr 012010


  • 71,000 miles
A friend with 2006 Ford Explorer had their engine seize ($5000) on the highway during a family trip over the christmas holiday due to a defective radiator and no engine temperature sensor warnings. The failure mileage was 41,000. I began checking my 2006 Ford Explorer because we were going to take a spring break family trip and noticed low anitfreeze on my truck overflow tank and leakage on the lower driver side of the radiator. I took it to the local car mechanic and he said he called the Ford dealership parts department and they wanted $800 for a new radiator. My mechanic fixed the truck but his parts contact said the radiator is on a nationwide back order because of the all the defective radiators in 2006-2007 Ford Explorer type vehicles. I called the Ford dealership and they said they repair about 4 or 5 a year and it is not covered under any warranty or recall. After the repair I found out there is a tsb recommendation from the manufacture in order to get a lifetime warranty. The Ford dealership can only do this and for $95 the tsb will correct the temperature computer settings so the cooling fan will turn on sooner. The higher temperatures may be the reason this radiator is failing because they should last 10 plus years of the life of a vehicle before needing replacement. The gasket seal between plastic and aluminum on the upper driver side is the causing the problem, so it's obvious there is a combination of improper temperature settings and defective part. This part should be investigated for a defective issue that could cause direct or indirect deaths and/or injuries. It cost me $530 installed at a local radiator repair shop. The failure mileage was 71,000.

- Disputanta, VA, USA

problem #37

Apr 082010


  • 39,150 miles
Radiator began leaking and slowly became worse. Finally had to replace to avoid total failure. Told by dealer it was due to seam failure.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #36

Mar 132010


  • 35,000 miles
The western berks regional police has a 2006 Ford Explorer which is having to replace the automobile radiator for the 5th time.

- Wernersville, PA, USA

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