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 3 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #117

Sep 012013

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


I was accelerating onto the freeway when the transmission started lurching several times. It continued to do this until I got home. I took it to a local mechanic and he could not make it do the same thing. It did not do it again for several weeks until I was pulling a trailer. At that time, it would not shift into a lower gear. I stopped and shifted it into park. I then shift it into drive and started driving but it would not shift out of first gear. I again stopped and turned the ignition off and waited several minutes. When I started the engine and began moving, it would shift into the higher gears but not into overdrive. The lurching continued to this day.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #116

Aug 162014


  • 125,000 miles
Cel light came on, code read 02 sensor which was replaced and cel light off now. Transmission jerking hard into reverse and drive and hangs up between gears, suddenly lunging forward. In stop and start or downtown traffic, with lights every block, it will sometimes lunge forward as I slow down to stop, idles rough, and then has died. It has twice sputtered and tried to stall trying to cross busy intersection. This vehicle is not safe!!!! and should not have to replace transmission at ridiculous cost that apparently does not fix problem as indicated by all Ford forums.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #115

Sep 082013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Sometimes the transmission slams into gear so had that it feels like I just got rear ended with a big bang. The date above was the first time and ever since it keeps happening more often.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #114

Jul 182014


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that immediately after shifting gears, the vehicle would lunge forward. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician stated the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 100,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #113

Oct 102013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
I bought my first Ford Explorer almost 8 years ago. I had absolutely no problems with this vehicle and felt very safe driving my newborn son. I had a second son and decided to buy a new Ford Explorer because it was such a dependable car. Now I am regretting that decision. I bought a 2006 Ford Explorer at round 60,000 miles. It now has 70,000 and I have already had to get another transmission and it still has not fixed the problem. 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. My husband is in the military and gone a great deal. He should not have to worry about the safety of his children or wife when he is deployed overseas or when he is training away from home. He is currently away from home for training, getting ready for deployment. He is calling every chance he gets to make sure the car has not broken down or we have not been in and accident due to this very horrible vehicle. If I had enough money I would buy another vehicle and tell everyone not to ever buy a Ford again. I think I am more upset with the fact that my husband is possible being sent overseas in October, and he cannot even go to war with the knowledge his family is safe. I really wish someone would understand that this is a huge problem and major safety problem. Please help all of the families with this defect.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #112

Jul 092014


  • 100,600 miles
This my second Ford Explorer, transmission problems with both. My current Explorer a 2006 will not engage in reverse; I cannot back-up. I purchased an extended Ford warranty as a precaution, for this very problem with the 1st Explorer I purchased. I was told at the dealership, (where I have purchased 5 Ford vehicles in the last 12 years) I was getting a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. I have seen thousands of complaints about this design flaw, and Ford has declined to recall because they say there are no safety issues. The transmission fluid is sealed, you can't even check it. I am 686 miles over the 100,000 mile warranty and Ford won't do the right thing. Goodbye Ford!! I'm pretty sure the only satisfaction will be from spreading my story along with the thousands of others.

- Red Oak, TX, USA

problem #111

Aug 182012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 45,986 miles


It would not shift in reverse till I turned it off and restart it took the reverse. After the incident the Explorer keep on giving me problems every time I'll shift it into reverse. I have to actually punch the gas so it could get the reverse gear. It has been many times that I had to quickly step on the brakes to avoid hitting on coming traffic as well as parked cars, after having to punch on the gas so I could go in reverse. I have been told that it could be the transmission.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #110

Jul 012014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 114,810 miles
While in drive the transmission feels like it is slipping. After driving a short time N the vehicle is warmed up it begins jerking pretty badly. You cannot check the transmission fluid or anything due to there being no dipstick or place to add any fluid in the vehicle. The owners manual states it must B done by a licensed professional. When I took it to a "professional" he researched the complaint informing me there wasn't anything he could do with it. His research found 11 pages of other Ford Explorer owners complaints with the same problem. He also found out that there may be a recall somewhere in the near future for this problem. I have no idea where to go being that my mechanic cannot help me.

- Arnold, PA, USA

problem #109

Jun 122014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 64,863 miles
I was driving up small hill-dry conditions and the car shut down. On coming vehicle swerved and avoided collision. This has happened many times after the traction control sensor comes on. The car also jumps out when shifting gears and sometimes it is very hard to shift. Transmission problem! safety recall imperative!

- Tavernier , FL, USA

problem #108

Mar 152013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I've had multiple problems with this car. First the car shifts hard approx between 10 mph and 20 mph, the car lunges, stalls, then shifts hard into gear. When it first happened, I took the car to a certified mechanic and they did a complete transmission flush... the car ran smooth for about 10 days, then it started leaking transmission fluid which resulted in my radiator being ruined. Replaced the radiator and a plug in the transmission. ($1,800) the car then ran fine up this past Sunday. The car as me and my wife were driving home from a 400 mile trip with the ac running, the wrench light came on and the car started lunging and shifting hard again. I exited off the highway and the check engine light came on... the car started shifting hard between 2nd and 3rd gear and making a loud clunk noise. Took it to the mechanic and he did another transmission flush on Monday June 16, 2014... two days later and the car still lunges, stalls, and shifts hard. I called Ford and they said because the car is out of warranty, there's nothing they could do. I even asked them because there are so many complaints about the 2006 transmission, they still couldn't help me. The second problem is the car even though in park, it tends to roll down the driveway into the street in the middle of the night/ early morning... this happened a couple of times... told Ford about the problem, and because the car is out of warranty there's nothing they could do... the last problem is every once and a while the car doesn't shift into reverse... told Ford about the problem and once again, because the car is out of warranty there's nothing they could do...

- Summit, NJ, USA

problem #107

Jun 032014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles


I was driving down the highway when suddenly the vehicle lunged forward. I thought someone hit me. It did this two more times before I could exit the highway. Then it started being very slow to shift into gear or would not shift at all with out shutting off the vehicle for 3 to 5 mins at a time. Then it would only drive a few blocks before again refusing to shift into gear.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #106

Jun 032014


  • 126,000 miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer was parked in the driveway. At 4:30 in the morning it rolled backwards out of my driveway and crashed into a fence across the street. The vehicle had been in park and the doors were locked. My neighbors heard the crash, looked out their window and ran outside. A chain link fence and very small concrete wall stopped the vehicle. Luckily there was no one outside or any other cars. There is significant body damage to my Explorer and the left rear wheel is pushed out. How does a vehicle roll across the street while in park" even if the vehicle is out of warranty, shouldn't this be something Ford would be responsible for"

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #105

Jan 142014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Starting date is approximate and mileage. When driving vehicle you could feel a jerk in the transmission when it was shifting. And on several occasions, it felt like you had been hit in the rear by another vehicle. We felt it was becoming a safety issue and not safe to drive the vehicle. We took it to a transmission center and they replaced a sleeve and solenoid block April 8, 2014. No problems since. Have been reading other people have and similar problems.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #104

May 012014


  • miles
It had a hard lunge anytime I was at a stop light (it would act like it was trying to go when I was stopped so I would put it in park, wait for the green light and put it back in drive so I didn't risk the chance of rear ending someone), it seemed if I pushed the gas pedal too hard, it would act like it couldn't shift into the next gear correctly, it makes all kinds of loud banging noises and the tires would lose traction. We replaced the transmission value body and the transmission control module. We got the truck back and it is still having the same issues. We spoke with Ford who told us there was no way there was a 6-speed automatic BMW transmission in our Ford truck - we were right - we gave Ford the VIN for the truck and they came back and said "we are sorry, you are right it is a 6-speed auto transmission" (so basically Ford had no idea what transmission they put in the truck) come to find out it is a Ford 6R transmission which was only used in 2005 and 2006 Ford Explorer and it's obviously a piece of crap! no one knows how to fix my truck! the truck has been to two transmission shops, a shop that has expertise in computer problems and another car shop. No one has answers for me. I can not get a rental car because my insurance will not cover rental unless I've been in a wreck. And now the transmission shop is talking about sending the truck to a Ford dealership and it could take a few months to diagnose and repair. Ain't nobody got time to be out of a ride for a few months! Ford needs to recall their 2006 6R transmissions...they know there is something wrong with them. There are hundreds of complaints already out there and Ford is not listening to it's customers.

- Crawfordville, FL, USA

problem #103

Apr 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Car began stalling while driving. All power is lost. Throttle box cleaned in June 2013. Began to stall again within weeks very randomly with no warning. Now stalling at higher speeds. April of 2014 throttle box cleaned again and radiator replaced. Stalled 2 days later. Very dangerous as now requires gas pedal and braking to limp the car to safety. This car only has 42,000 miles on it and is a one owner car, so I know that all maintenance has been done on schedule at the dealership where it was purchased.

- Onalaska, WI, USA

problem #102

Apr 222014


  • 105,000 miles
Transmission downshifts hard, goes all the way down to neutral after breaking. Reverse gear doesn't catch until 10 seconds after you set it. Trying to accelerate when crossing streets is dangerous the truck doesn't pick up.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #101

Apr 212014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
Ford has an ongoing issue with these vehicles. Right after purchasing the vehicle, Ford increased the vehicle warranty from 50,000 to 75,000 miles. The transmission slips, fails to go into gear, slams hard when it goes into gear and is safety issue. The vehicle also has issues with the radiator, which in my case has been replaced twice at my expense. The transmission should have been recalled and replaced. In talking with my Ford dealer, it is a known issue that Ford has failed to address. If you search the internet you see it is an issue as there are many complaints about this same failure. I first experienced this a couple years ago when the vehicle had 53,000 miles and I was told to drive it until it failed and then replace it. Ford should be replacing this transmission. They should assume responsibility for the defect in design or manufacturing.

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #100

Oct 252013


  • 54,000 miles
Three familiar issues: * transmission slams!!! into reverse * when approaching a stop light/sign the transmission downshifts with a thump. * vehicle will surge forward shortly after placing in drive (under 15 mph). It will hesitate back and forth about 3 or 4 times. Had it at a dealership to reflash/reprogram in November 2013. Paid $100 for the test and was told the solenoid body failed. I declined the offer of a $937 plus tax repair bill. Ford should fix this issue at no cost to their customers. Transmission issues in a vehicle with only 54,000 miles does not speak to Ford's commitment to quality. These complaints have been noted for years. Needless to say the above three issues persist.

- Berwyn, IL, USA

problem #99

Jan 212014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Vehicle stalls without warning making in unsafe to drive. Vehicle loses all power including engine, air, light. Instrument panel displays wrench, and engine light. Dealer diagnosed as throttle body. Replace and continues to die. No formal complaints, but google search of "2006 Ford stalling issues" shows that many of these vehicles have the same issue.

- Norco, CA, USA

problem #98

Jan 012013


  • 90,000 miles
At low speed, the vehicle slams into 2nd gear. It is quite disturbing, especially in the city where there are stop signs and traffic signals from block to block. It feels like the vehicle is being crashed into from behind - constantly. The worst part is, after reading literally hundreds of people voicing the exact same complaint, there is no clear cause or resolution. The vehicle shifts fine, for instance, when getting onto an expressway from a complete stop -- throttling straight through from 1st to O/D, there doesn't seem to be a problem. It is only an issue when throttling short distances needing only 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear. Also, though slightly less frequent in my case, getting into reverse can be just as unsettling. I would say, 1 out of 15 times, the vehicle slams into reverse moments after placing the shifter into the reverse position. Now, I will finish by adding that this is my second Explorer. My first was a 2003. At around 100,000mi., it too had the same exact issues. I thought the problem was 'unique' to that particular vehicle. When it started happening to my newer model, I began to research. I am 34yrs old and I have owned five Ford vehicles in my lifetime. I am confident in saying Ford Motor Co. Will lose a loyal customer permanently if they do not acknowledge and address this problem. Shameful. Careless. Point being, in all of the complaints on this exact issue, the transmission 'works' but it does not work correctly!

- New Bedford, MA, USA

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