Print this page 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
63,800 miles
Total Complaints:
237 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace radiator (175 reports)
  2. not sure (34 reports)
  3. replace with ford certified radiator and parts (12 reports)
  4. replace bad seal (7 reports)
  5. replace with aftermarket radiator and parts (5 reports)
  6. contact national highway safety administration 1-888-327-423 (1 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 12)

problem #237

Jul 012015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles


Have replaced the radiator 3 times in this vehicle. After the 3rd time, I also replaced the thermostat which seems to have fixed the problem.

- Todd F., Barrie, ON, Canada

problem #236

Dec 302016

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Crack on top of radiator where there is no seam and piss poor plastic part 8005.

- Francis B., Houston, TX, US

problem #235

Dec 012016

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

Transmission has always clunked, ford won't fix. Knew from reading that jerking and torque would crack radiator plastic. It did. If your reports are right transmission will break or cause accident next!!!!!! FORD DOES NOT GIVE TWO SH*TS

- Jerry W., Flint, TX, US

problem #234

Jul 182016

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles


This radiator failed again only 4 years after a previous replacement. That is not a good life cycle for a radiator!!!

- Brian K., Hurst, TX, US

problem #233

Jan 052015

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Not much to say, I keep up on maintenance but something is always going wrong and I'm all out of warranties.

- Vanessa H., Huntington Station, NY, US

problem #232

Apr 012014

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles

I bought a 2006 Explorer after my 1999 Ranger was totaled in an accident in Jan 2014. Since then, I had a radiator leak from the bottom tank seal and had to replace the radiator in April 2014. Immediately after that, I had to replace the thermostat and only a few short months later, in Dec. 2014, I had to replace the radiator again due to cracks in the upper tube. My mechanic says this is a common problem caused by too much movement or torque in the front end of the vehicle, causing the radiator to twist and break.

Called two different Ford dealers in my area and was straight hung up on by one when I asked about TSB information for my radiator problem and the second dealer said there were no TSBs and he didn't know what I was talking about. Weird how Ford doesn't know anything about a "common problem."

- Steven S., Melba, ID, US

problem #231

Dec 142014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


With hundreds and hundreds of complaints about the radiator on the 2006 Ford Explorer there has to be something that Ford should do.

People are being forced to spend at a minimum of $500 and sometimes more than a thousand dollars. You just don't read about this anywhere else.

Someone has to step up and protect the consumer.

I have been a loyal Ford/Lincoln customer for years but after this experience have to think long and hard about staying with this brand.

- bergencurmudgeon, Edgewater, NJ, US

problem #230

Nov 122014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

Bought this auto used at 101,000 miles 1 month ago. Started off as a mild leak at the o- ring for the Tranny cooler part of the radiator. I took to the garage and they said there is an aftermarket radiator on this and the o rings do not fit right. They tried to make there own o- ring which was a major failure and the tranny fluid was every where. 2nd trip to the garage they said since is still under my warranty they will order me a new radiator. That seem to fix the Tranny cooler o- ring problem. 1 Week later the head gasket was leaking coolant. Waiting to see if this is covered under my warranty.

- Chris P., Johnstown, PA, US

problem #229

Jun 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This car had had more repairs than any car should ever have! bought this car brand new! In the first 3 years we spent Over $2,000 in repairs. Then have to replace the radiator as well. So disappointing! Not just one radiator repair but 6 yes I said SIX RADIATOR REPAIRS AND THE DAMN CAR's only 8 years old!!! That's almost a radiator / year! Unacceptable. Never once has the repair been covered by warranty. We contacted ford after the second time and asked why a recall has not been issued . Their response was well nobody has died from the problem so it's not a required recall. REALLY FORD!?! Wow! Way to stand by ur car! I love this car when it doesn't have a repair needed. But it's beginning to lose all its value with me. I'll never buy another ford or ford made model car truck or anything they ever make ever again! I've even met strangers with the same car as me with the same issues. I'm like you've got to be kidding me!!! Ford you've lost this family!

- 2006explorersucks, Highland, CA, US

problem #228

Aug 282014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,300 miles

Had to have radiator replaced 5years ago, now thermostat housing busted, it is plastic. Who makes something that's going to get heated up everyday out of plastic? So far cooling system alone has cost me $1,500. Then you add peeling paint and you have a trashy auto you pay out all this money buying new and still end up with a low end auto, but it cost $30,000. Ford, you suck.

- Deborah M., Raymond, Miss, US

problem #227

Mar 172013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles


Not even 60k miles on it and I have to replace the radiator, not satisfy at all.

- palafox, Fullerton, CA, US

problem #226

Jun 092014

Explorer 4000

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,984 miles



- simsimali, Taif, Western, Saudi Arabia

problem #225

Apr 062014

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,875 miles

I bought this 2006 Ford Explorer (my 3rd) brand new in Nov 2005, my first NEW one. And then it begins, bad radiators! I have replaced the radiator 5 times in one year! Now #6! I have had Ford install them twice and a private mechanic 4 times! I have contacted Ford who told me they would not recall them until they had a certain number of complaints which is complete bunk! Save your receipts they said "oh right" like that's going to happen! I love my Explorer but really this radiator thing is a joke!

- ppbogo, San Diego, CA, US

problem #224

Mar 192014

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

So here we go my 4th radiator replacement for this stupid truck has been done so as everybody complaints in this website this definitely is a LEMON issue but the big Ford Corp will never recognize this issue. We are all screwed after spending thousands of dollars on their cars and repairs and nothing will be done, and we will never recuperated our money, but at least we are taking out our chest . I don't even want to sell because I will feel bad for the buyer that they are getting a piece sh*t truck, but I will let it go

- Salvador A., San Antonio, TX, US

problem #223

Jun 162010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I replaced my 2006 Ford Explorer radiator 3 times twice under the previous radiator warranties and once at my expense. I read up on complaints about these plastic radiators and found a detail that suggested to recalibrate the power control module to have the engine run cooler so there would be less stress on the plastic radiator. I had this done on the last radiator and I have to this point gone 40,000 miles and 4 years without any problem. I would suggest mentioning this to anyone working on an Explorer radiator that leaks.

I think that this information should be readily available to anyone with this problem. I had this problem fixed at a Ford dealership so the information is there, it needs to be more widespread as this is in every one's best interest to fix the first time.

- Dennis C., Ojai, CA, US

problem #222

Jan 282014

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

I have 33,000 miles on this 2006 Ford Explorer, and I use it exclusively to go and come from work plus incidental errands. I NEVER expected to have to replace the radiator at 33,000 miles! I found a huge leak under my vehicle as I was preparing to leave work on 1/28/2014. The leak came from under the front end of the vehicle. I drove home that evening and took the vehicle to the dealership on 1/29/2014. The following day I found out from the service manager, that the radiator needed to be replaced. The cost of $1400.00, according to the service manager, was half for parts and half for labor. The dealership found no evidence of an impact or damage. I was told that the radiator seams split due to residue; REALLY?

I asked the service manager why this issue had not been identified earlier since I ALWAYS take my vehicle in to this same dealership, where I purchased it, for inspections, checks, maintenance, oil/filter changes and repairs on a regular basis according to the manufacturer's recommendations. For example, the most current cooling system coolant flush was performed on 8/13/13, and the last inspection is dated 12/12/13, and it states "Perform multi-point inspection." The service manager had no answer to my question, and basically said "this happens". I plan to report this issue to Ford as well. Thank you for this website!

- Consuelo R., San Antonio, TX, US

problem #221

Oct 072011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Same complaint as everyone else on the 2006 Ford Explorer Radiator. 2011, replaced. January 2013, replaced again, March 2013 replaced again. September 2013 Thermostat Housing Replaced while on vacation. Now it's November 2013, Radiator has been leaking for the last month. Called Ford Dealership to see if they had seen this, acted like he never heard of it. Giving a bunch of BS. Called Ford 1-800; couldn't do anything - they did report it. Going to fix and unload car. Only 70,000 miles on 4th Radiator.

- Janet G., Mesa, AZ, US

problem #220

Oct 282013

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

In mid November, 2012, I had the radiator replaced and per Ford Reccomendation the computer reprogrammed so the fan would come on at a lower temperature, as it was said to have built up too much pressure and blew the plastic side of the raditor apart, cost was $627.00 plus the tow bill. It seemed to be fixed and had no issue until 10/28/2013, when on my way to work i had no heat (only blew cold air), and then the temperature gauge shot all the way up and the vehicle shut off in the middle of the road in heavy morning rush hour traffic. After pushing it accross lanes of traffic to get out of the roadway, the shop advised that the bottom of the radiator blown out. It took 2 days without a vehicle and $570.00 to repair.

- Tim G., Starr, SC, US

problem #219

Nov 142013

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

So, after having the bottom of the radiator blown off of the 06 EXPLODER on 10/28/2013, it cost me 2 days without a vehicle and $570.00 to get a new radiator and T-Stat. Now this morning 11/14/2013 (2 1/2 weeks later), the brand new FORD radiator has blown up again, this time on a 4 lane Highway at 8am during the morning rush hour traffic.

The temperature gauge shot up and the vehicle cut off at 55mph. NO POWER STEERING or POWER BRAKES, STEAM BLOWING OUT OF THE HOOD ALMOST UNABLE TO SEE OTHER VEHICLES! With help from a passerby, got it out of the roadway, and called for help. It was 21 degrees this morning, so it was a long wait for a ride to pick me up. I'm so Thankful that my 3 small children were not in there with me.

I have owned 4 other Ford Explorers, and never had any type of recurring issues like this. Based on all the reviews and complaints that I've read in regards to radiator issues on the 2006 FORD EXPLORERS, THANK YOU FORD for not caring about your customers safety, and recalling these vehicles that all have the same issues!

- Tim G., Starr, SC, US

problem #218

Apr 152011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

This last radiator was the 3rd radiator. We replaced it the 2nd time only 14 months ago. We just, last week, replaced the supply/return line for the heater core and 4 months ago replaced the housing unit for the thermostat. We are still having the same problem, however, when the vehicle sits idle, it won't heat until you press the gas. We have also replaced the thermostat 2 times in 4 months, replacing it 2 days ago when the radiator was replaced.

- Amy C., Ringgold, GA, US

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