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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,129 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #137

Jul 202015


  • miles


Attention!!!!! class action suit started. Contact feldman law group P.a., mitchell L. feldman @ 813-639-9366 1715 N. westshore blvd. Suite 400 tampa Florida 33607. Help to get this information out there to all of the consumers who have been victim to this defective, costly and dangerous product put out by Ford.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #136

Jul 202015


  • miles
Wow!!!! $2700, thats what my defective transmission is costing me @ only 69K miles. Who wants to start a class action law suit against Ford" I bought a brand new 2006 eddie bauer Explorer in las vegas at friendly Ford. I have had transmission problems from day one. Shifting hard, not engaging and lurching. Took the vehicle to the service department several times only to hear the problem could not be duplicated. Bs, Ford knows there is an issue with this transmission because my sister bought the exact same vehicle in clearwater, Florida at countryside Ford three months after me and had the same problem. The service department there duplicated the problem and fixed it. Of course her truck was still under warranty, bet if it wasn't they would have given her the bs excuse also. Or maybe the service manager there was willing to take a cut in his bonus for spending more on customers repairs. Buy american? why? they do not back their product. So people, what are we going to do" sit back and let Ford get away with this. No, it's time for Ford to step up to the plate and take responsibility. If anybody out there knows how to proceed with action, post the information on this site.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #135

Mar 152014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle shifted from first to second gear with an abnormal banging noise as the tire pressure sensor indicator illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the noise was due to a misfire. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Cottelville, MO, USA

problem #134

Jul 162015


  • miles


Power train defect

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #133

May 172015


  • 136,840 miles
I was driving when powertrain mif light came on.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #132

Apr 222015


  • 83,000 miles
I was leaving a side street, merging into traffic and as I was changing lanes and accelerating into busy traffic the vehicle just sat there with the engine revving up. The transmission wouldn't engage and then it slammed into gear so hard that it felt like I was rear ended and there was a loud bang. In my opinion, this is a definite risk to our personal safety because if you turn across traffic, change lanes, merge or attempt to avoid obstacles; you have no idea when the transmission will fail making it impossible to safely operate this vehicle. It is a major safety issue - please hold Ford accountable before someone gets killed. Thank you.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #131

Feb 162015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


Vehicle is hard to engage in gear. When putting in reverse, it jolts really hard like I was rear ended. Takes a while to engage into drive.

- Nappanee , IN, USA

problem #130

Apr 112015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
We bought a 2006 Ford Explorer XLT from a dealer in schenectady NY in 2006.loved the SUV for the family. Three weeks later we took it back for transmission issues.the transmission would not engage to reverse sometimes without a delay then a jump.and shifted hard on acceleration. We were told that everything was fine during an inspection. Now here we set with an Explorer with no reverse and needing a $2000 dollar repair, which we believe could of been a pre exiting issue. If you look up this model you will see we are not the only ones with this issue.

- Eagle Bridge, NY, USA

problem #129

Mar 232015


  • 126,000 miles
Went out to driveway to start it heard a loud noise like a backfire then gurgling transmission fluid running out all over previous warnings nothing but a clunking noise sometimes when shifting which dealer told me was nothing to worry about......vehicle has had all scheduled maintenance... I am beyond angry......just paid this off..... turns out Ford knew about the issue with these transmissions......there should have been a recall........I have driven guards for seventeen years...... never again.... no more Ford's.........I tried to buy what cost to me.......I'm looking for a want my business...... give me a decent product.......the Cadillac eldorado I had nineteen years ago did the same thing at 67,000 miles........I do not drive hard.........or jackrabbit or do fast starts.......tired of paying for trying to buy I know why everyone else buys Toyota's.

- Wilson, NY, USA

problem #128

Apr 092013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
I have a major problem with my 2006 Explorer. It lunges, jolts, doesn't engage and sometimes the transmission slams into gear so had that it feels like I just got rear ended with a big bang! Ford does not take accountability that this is a real problem with the 06' Explorer despite hundreds upon hundreds of complaints regarding it as a safety issue. It is a major safety issue! I was almost hit by oncoming traffic when I tried to cross an intersection an the transmission wouldn't engage. At various times my vehicle wouldn't engage when I was stopped at an intersection or when it did engage it would jerk. Another time I slowed at a yield and when I pressed the gas the vehicle wouldn't move but when I took my foot off the gas it accelerated very quickly with jerking motion.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #127

Mar 312014


  • 55,000 miles


While shifting into gear, Explorer slams and makes a bang sound. Truck lunges or jerks and while driving truck jerks into gears when changing.

- Riverview , MI, USA

problem #126

Sep 012014


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 68,000.

- Salisbury , MA, USA

problem #125

Feb 122015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 236,000 miles
The transmission would not engage into the next gear. Then the engine maintenance light came on. Pressed the gas again it would not go forward. Pulled off to the side to park it and put it back in D - drive it still would not go forward. Engine light still on. Turned off the vehicle. 10 minutes later turn on the vehicle and put in D-drive and it engaged but was unable to shift into next gear. Able to make to parking lot and get help. I do agree why did Ford make hard for consumer to add their own transmission fluid if it runs low. No dip stick for it as well to check if it is low.

- Chinle, AZ, USA

problem #124

Feb 022015


  • miles
Trucks doesn't engage in gear sometimes, I have problems backing up doesn't engage properly. I almost got in accident with my two babies where in the vehicle.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #123

Feb 032015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driving and the car overdrive light started blinking and then I went to drive and it started to and cut off when it jolted like someone hit me and my passenger from the rear but it was the gear or transmission or the overdrive not engaging, not sure. I sat there for about 5 minutes in neutral and then put the car in drive and it moved forward. After I parked the car it repeated the above action.

- Charlotte , NC, USA

problem #122

Jan 232015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
We have a 2006, six cylinder Explorer. At only approximately 77,000 miles, we have had to replace the radiator (a $2,000 expense), and now the transmission is totally shot and needs to be either "rebuilt" or replaced. Yet another necessary repair for an automobile that has had all its routine maintenance performed, garage kept and gently driven as a family commuter. At nine model years old, we averaging 8,000 miles a year! these sort of system failures are a genuine safety concern and should be investigated for a more widespread problematic occurrences.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #121

Jan 222014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Transmission clunks when it is put into gear. I seen many complaints on the internet for this condition. Ford accepts no responsibility for this condition but with all of the same complaints I think it should be Ford problem to fix.

- Saunemin, IL, USA

problem #120

Oct 292014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
In the last 2 years I have continued to have problems with this vehicle which has cost me a lot of time and money. Similarly to the majority of the complaints listed the vehicle jolts and hesitates while in motion. I have been to repair shop more times than I can count.... and not even the technicians at Ford seem to know what to do as I continue to have the same issue. On my last visit to the shop ( a week ago) I was told that there was a problem with the computer which works like "the brain of the truck" but they couldn't figure it out so then I was encouraged " to look at "something new(er)". I questioned why I should be doing that when the vehicle has one 93K miles on it.... and why would I buy another Ford vehicle when they couldn't fix or figure out what was going on with the one I have!!!!"??" based on the number of complaints directly about this same issue, I am confident that there is a larger problem of which Ford is aware and refuses to address. I am afraid every time I drive as I do not know or have much confidence that it will operate as intended. After calling Ford's customer relations center, I was told that my only option was to take it to the for repair shop even if they did not know and has made it clear that then cannot identify of fix the problem.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #119

Oct 262011


  • 69,364 miles
Purchase this vehicle in 2011 once it was home within 3 months began having problems, I also purchase the Ford extended warranty and took it back to the dealership. They explained they could not find an issue with the transmission. It jolts, lunges, and sometimes the transmission doesn't engage. I feel extremely unsafe trying to pull out at an intersection because the car starts to jolt and I have to slam on the gas in order for the car to is horrible and I feel very unsafe driving; especially with my children in the car. Even if I am driving on the interstate I have to put the car into overdrive to stop the majority of the jolting, and that does not even guarantee it will stop. It has been a battle with the dealership. Had it independently checked by aamco and the transmission replaced, but the issue still occurs. Not sure what can be done. This vehicle needs to be recalled.

- Gainesille, VA, USA

problem #118

Oct 012014


  • 108,000 miles
The vehicle was hesitating and would not engage into gear when accelerating during a turn causing the rpms to rev. This caused several cars to swerve to avoid an accident. After taking it to the shop as it was a known problem with 2006 Ford Explorer that it was a failed transmission. Cost to fix is $2,508.

- Livonia, MI, USA

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