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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2006 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Apr 092009


  • miles


Issue with the radiator. Replaced the radiator 7 months ago and now replacing it again.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #14

Feb 262009


  • 25,500 miles
As vehicle was being driven, engine died. No lights on dash to indicate problem. No smoke from engine at that time. Vehicle pulled over, hood opened, lots of smoke poured out. Had towed to closest dealership. Both head gaskets blown, heads warped, one piston broke. Needs entirely new engine - estimated cost $6000. Bought vehicle used with limited powertrain warranty. Per Ford a clamp on a hose to the thermostat missing caused breakdown and not covered by warranty. Did research, there was a tsb about clamps to radiator hoses (should include thermostat) for replacement due to faulty coating which could cause engine failure. Had my vehicle history researched and does not appear that mine were ever replaced. Neither Ford nor the dealership where purchased are doing anything to fix problem. Also do not understand how powertrain warranty can cover the thermostat but not the hoses and clamps that are part of it. Also believe that since no lights on dash to indicate problem that could also have prevented this from happening if the vehicle had been inspected properly prior to sale to me by dealership.

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #13

Mar 092009


  • 47,500 miles
2006 Ford Explorer eddie bauer - had leaking from the radiator -- took to a mechanic, he stated that there was a crack in the seam of the radiator and we would need to replace it at our cost of $650 because Ford has not recalled the equipment but is more than aware there is an issue.

- Clarks Summit , PA, USA

problem #12

Mar 032009


  • 47,000 miles


I have a 2006 Ford eddie bauer Explorer with 47K miles on it. I just had to have my second radiator put in. My first went around 20K miles and luckily was under warranty. Today, I had to spend over $600 to replace this. Based on the number of complaints I see and what has happened in my situation, there is clearly a problem with these radiators. Even my mechanic was aware of the issue prior to looking at my car. Ford needs to address this asap!

- Stamford, CT, USA

problem #11

Feb 252009


  • 46,912 miles
My wife noticed a large amount of liquid under the front of our 2006 Ford Explorer. We took the vehicle to town and country Ford. They diagnosed the problem as a leaking radiator. The radiator was replaced at a cost of $611.69. I questioned survive advisor as to why a radiator would fail with approximately 46K miles. I asked if this is a known issue on this vehicle. He said no. By the way, my comprehensive extended Ford warranty expired two months ago. Ironic isn't it? I contacted Ford Motor Company customer relations on 2/27/09. I asked to be reimbursed the $611.69 I spent to repair my vehicle. Based on that conversation with kevin I didn't get the impression that they were going to do anything to stand behind their product. I was informed that the dealership will be contacted and I should hear from someone within four business days.

- Matthews, NC, USA

problem #10

Jan 282009


  • 61,000 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer that was leaking fluid on the front driver side. We took the vehicle in and were told there was a pin hole crack in the seam of the radiator. We had to replace the radiator. Cost $600 there is 61,000 on the vehicle. I noticed many other complaints about this issue and brought it up to the repair department. They were not aware of the problem.

- Southington, CT, USA

problem #9

Jan 172009


  • 21,800 miles


The radiator in my 2006 Ford Explorer - eddie bauer edition failed on 01/17/09 and the vehicle only had 21,800 miles on it. It's quite obvious that Ford should be recalling the radiators in the 2006 Explorer since it appears that many people are having the same problem. I had my new radiator installed under the manufacturer warranty, but I know others have had to pay out of pocket to have the radiators replaced.

- Whitman, MA, USA

problem #8

Dec 202008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer, eddie bauer 4WD V6. Radiator failed at 45000 miles. Leaking from cracks along inside top seam. It is a manufacturing defect caused by poor design. Bought the new unit from a local Ford dealer and installed it myself. $303 for the new radiator. This seems to be a very common problem with the year and model referenced. Ford needs to step up and admit there is a problem and assist the owners of these Ford.

- Westport, MA, USA

problem #7

Jan 062008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 19,616 miles
On Jan 6 2009, I noticed a puddle of antifreeze on the ground underneath my 2006 Ford Explorer. The Explorer is equipped with the 4.0L V6 engine. I took it to the dealer as it is still under warranty, and they said that the radiator had cracked. I had it replaced under warranty, and afterwards I did some searching through the warranty history that was provided to me when I had bought the vehicle, and found that the radiator had been replaced on Feb 18 2008 also. This means that two new radiators have gone into this vehicle in the last year. I spoke to the Ford customer service line and they have told me that this is the first they have heard of this problem, with no plans for a recall in the future. This seemed strange to me as I know of at least 10 other people who have had radiators replaced, sometimes three times, in their 2006 Explorer. I believe that there should be a recall on these vehicles to have the radiators replaced with a better designed part. This would have been an extremely expensive repair had the vehicle not been under warranty. I appreciate anything you can do.

- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 00, USA

problem #6

Jun 212008


  • 40,000 miles
Leaking radiator in 2006 Ford Explorer at 40,000 miles. Dealership made my buy a new radiator.

- Savage, MN, USA

problem #5

Sep 302008


  • 37,800 miles


I noticed coolant leaking under the driver side of the radiator at around 37,800 miles. Dealer initially said it was a loose hose and "repaired" for $75 (9/30/08). Leak continued. Returned to dealer and was told that the radiator was cracked (10/12/08). I have done searches on the internet and this appears to be a very common problem with the 2006 Ford Explorer. Ford should put a recall on the radiator so that if the radiator experiences problems, the repairs are covered. Dealer quoted $630 to replace the radiator. Contacted Ford and customer service indicated they would arrange a "discount" for the repairs at my local dealer. This places the burden on the dealer, who is independent of Ford. Ford should furnish this part to the dealer free of charge and reimburse them for the labor in order to take the burden of a faulty part off of their dealers and the consumer. A radiator should not crack with 37,800 miles on the vehicle (1,800 miles out of warranty!). this is when I "noticed" the problem. It was probably happening prior to the warranty expiration.

- Helena, AL, USA

problem #4

Nov 142008


  • 37,119 miles
I bought a 2006 Ford Explorer used in Dec. Of 2006 about a year later I was having problems took it in and needed a new water pump it was covered under warranty. In June of 2008 the gear shift would stick when trying to get out of park also the engine would race and not shift gears it was also making a knocking noise in the engine. Took it in for a routine oil change and to have all problems looked at they said there were no problems and it was a glitch in the computer "its just not resetting itself" they said it was fixed on Nov.08 again went in for oil change they said coolant was low and top it off didn't see any leaks in hoses or radiator. And 9 days later my engine blow now I got to pay 5,500. To get it fixed because the warranty is now expired. I was told the coolant was leaking into my oil tank and exhaust which when oil changes were done should have been detected.

- Arbutus, MD, USA

problem #3

Nov 152008


  • 64,000 miles
Failure #1--gear shift selector very difficult to move from park; dealer said Ford redesigned, but not covered by them. Failure #2--leak in seam of radiator (between plastic & aluminum). Again, not covered by Ford or by extended warranty.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #2

Oct 072008


  • miles
Around the beginning of Oct I noticed antifreeze leaking. On nov7 2006 I had to have the radiator replaced. My Explorer had 47,227 miles on it but the leak was discovered before the mileage got to 47,000. I have been told that it never should have happened. We have 2 other Explorer with about 120,000 and a 130,000 miles and never have a bit of trouble. The years on those are 1998 and 1999. Mine is a 2006. I am glad this was caught early. I have heard of other radiators leaking on Explorer of the same year. It cost me almost $400 to have it replaced. I feel that this needs to be looked into.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #1

Feb 212007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
Radiator failed car never ran hot caused engine to blow head gaskets. Car was serviced 9 days prior and radiator was full. Car stopped on freeway late at night and have to pay $6,700 to repair vehicle.

- Lynwood, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?