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

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 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #57

Jan 192013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,922 miles


Was driving the truck and was coming to a stop, the vehicle jumped forward as if someone hit me from behind. It was rather aggressive and I almost rear ended a car in front of me at the light. Luckily there was not a cross walk where a pedestrian could've been hit. This happens on a regular basis and in my opinion needs to be addressed asap, or Ford will be dealing with a rather large law suit in their future. It is clear this is occurring with many others and enough is enough. Something needs to be done about these transmission problems.

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #56

Jan 282013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
In the past month the vehicle was taking multiple attempts to start up. Once I would get it started and drove it down the road at a stop light it would be jolty, vibrating feeling and then turn off. On two separate occasions while I was driving the vehicle down the road it actually shut off on me. I took it to Ford who charged me $100 to do a diagnostic test and could not find the problem and suggested that I take it to transmission specialist. I took it to aamco they found that there was a faulty screw that came apart and was shredded inside the transmission. $4K later the vehicle is fixed and working properly.

- Maitland, FL, USA

problem #55

Nov 012012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
Forceful driveline bump while braking - below 10 mph.

- Wenonah, NJ, USA

problem #54

Jan 012010


  • 40,000 miles


Transmission delays then lunges hard after placed into reverse. If a driver applies gas during this period, reverse will engage under sufficient power and lunge the vehicle 5 to 10 feet before it can be controlled. Due to the number of other 2006 Explorer with the same problem, we felt a safety complaint was in order. This vehicle had 40,000 miles when it started 3 years ago. Its sporadic, sometimes no problem, sometimes annoying, sometimes it is scary. At its worse, shifting into reverse is delayed 2 to 5 seconds before a very harsh engagement. The speed the lever does not seem to impact this condition. It occurs about 30% of the time when regardless if the engine is cold or hot. This harsh engagement will spin the wheels and let out a loud squawk if on pavement. This engagement is very hard and feels like a minor collision. With experience, we have learned to hold the brakes hard until it engages to avoid the tire spin and keeping the vehicle from jumping. Last week we gave everyone a scare when it didn't engage until after we let up on the brakes; by that time a mother and two children had walked behind the vehicle. The wheels spun and the vehicle jumped about a foot towards them even with some pressure still on the brakes. This problem also occurs going up thru the gears we will also experience a hard shift, as though someone hit the vehicle with sledge hammer. Of all the shifts, this happens about 20% of the time now. Cold or hot it does not seem to be a factor.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #53

Oct 012012


  • 87,000 miles
Range shifter needs to be replaced, truck is jerking with acceleration and changing going between 1st to 5th gear jolting the vehicle. Very big safety issue as I have almost been rear-ended multiple times. Ford says no recall on transmission issues. Mine is a 6R60 transmission in the 2006 eddie bauer Explorer which has the range shifter located inside transmission. Will cost $2300 to fix!

- Crestwood, KY, USA

problem #52

Dec 222012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
This vehicle has been jerking when I am going slow to the point as if someone hit me in the rear end of the vehicle. It is a very strong jerking sensation enough to frighten any reasonable individual. It also has been trying to accelerate when my foot was on the brake pedal and not in cruise control while going well below the minimum speed necessary to use the cruise control. The auto acceleration was while at 10 miles per hour or less and my foot was on the brake. This has become more and more frequent and I am worried it could be the computer, the transmission, the engine, or a control system not functioning properly. This has happened on multiple occasions with passengers in the vehicle. My parents were frightened when it happened. I am worried the thing may accelerate on its own and hurt another vehicle(s) or its passengers. There hasn't be a fire or crash yet but it is my fear that will happen unless this safety issue is meaningfully addressed. I already had certified auto repair of rockville md look at the vehicle and they told me they couldn't find anything wrong following a computer diagnostic. The jerking and auto acceleration are becoming more and more frequent and I am reporting this because I am concerned about the safety of my vehicle and others on the road. Also, there are heavy virbations occuring during the idling process and I am not a mechanic but this may have something to do with the safety concerns on the vehicle.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #51

Jun 212012


  • 91,690 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the transmission slipped. The transmission fluid was changed but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified but offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 91,690.

- Crisfield, MD, USA

problem #50

Jan 092012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 59,900 miles
Sticks in park, bangs when shifted to reverse or other, slips out of gear when driving then engine will rev as if in neutral, sticks in park when on hill will not shift to drive or reverse ( out of park), when the vehicle looses gear it will rev and I am unable to accelerate and have to pull over to allow other vehicles by until I can get it to engage and go into gear otherwise the car just revs and goes nowhere.

- Ketchikan, AK, USA

problem #49

Nov 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
When vehicle is put in reverse the transmissions jolts extremely hard into gear. Feels like your vehicle go hit. Seems very unsafe. When driving it seems like the transmission jerks into 2, N 3rd gear.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #48

Aug 012011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when shifting into drive or reverse, the vehicle would jerk violently. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who informed the contact that the failure could have been caused by an incorrect differential. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was not available.

- Dixon, MO, USA

problem #47

Nov 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 40 mph, the contact depressed the accelerator pedal but the vehicle hesitated to accelerate. The vehicle then rapidly accelerated to approximately 60 mph and began to decelerate independently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technician advised the contact that the transmission would have to be rebuilt or replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000. Updated 02/20/13 the consumer stated there was an emmission issue and the radiator was leaking. Updated 02/20/2013

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #46

Apr 112012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
First incident occurred in early April 2012: My car was emitting a foul smell and overheating. Upon inspection, it was discovered that my radiator was leaking. I turned my vehicle into Ford and it was replaced. Second incident occurred early-mid Oct 2012: My car was jerking and the check engine light came on. It was taken to have the codes checked and it was indicated that I had 2-3 random "miss-fires" to my spark plugs. As this is normally an easy at-home fix, we were able to replace all the spark plugs. The issue with this incident was that in the process of removing the spark plugs, all but one broke in half. This is such a common problem that Ford has designed and sells a specific tool to remove broken spark plugs. Once the tool was purchased, I was able to fix the problem and my car no longer jerked and the check engine light went off. Third incident occurred late Nov 2012: Vehicle started jolting and jerking excessively and check engine light came on. Feels like transmission is not engaging gears properly. After much research, I found that this is a common and major safety issue regarding this vehicle. A safety recall needs to be done imminently. Another issue, started in the end of 2011: When going from park to reverse or drive, stick shift will stick and I will have wiggle and pull hard to make it move.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #45

Sep 122011


  • 65,000 miles
When I moved from park to drive the transmission jolted and slammed into gear... today while driving the truck went from 40 to about 10 mph and will not go above this speed.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #44

Nov 012012


  • 85,000 miles
Whenever I put my SUV in reverse it jolts and it feels as if my transmission has fallen out. I also notice it does the same when I try to put in "drive" some times. My car is well maintained and I have always bought Ford trucks. I'm scared to drive my children in the car at times because my truck has a mind of it's own and decides when it wants to accelerate and when it doesn't. please give some insight. I've seen many message boards and it seems as if this is a problem across the board for this make and model.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #43

Nov 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,300 miles
Vehicle jerks as if the transmission fell down when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear or when decelerating. Also, feels like some one rammed into the back. Vehicle moves jumps forward while stopping at a traffic signal. I have missed hitting the vehicles in the front a couple of times.

- Novi, MI, USA

problem #42

Nov 092010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 50 mph, the vehicle began to jerk intermittently. The failure recurred whenever the contact was driving between 45-65 mph. The vehicle was taken to a specialized transmission center where the torque converter and other related parts were replaced. In addition, the computer system was updated. The malfunction became worse after the repair was performed. The vehicle had not been further repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Fort Walton Beach , FL, USA

problem #41

Sep 232012


  • 72,659 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the vehicle would shake whenever the gears were shifted. The contact mentioned that the vehicle would make a loud noise and the transmission started to slip. Also, the gear shifter failed to move out of park. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 72,659.

- Southbridge, MA, USA

problem #40

Sep 152012


  • 90,000 miles
Transmission slips. Vehicle lunges when reversing and shifting gears. I'm afraid I may hit another vehicle or pedestrian. According to there are many owners with the exact same problem of the exact same model and model year.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #39

Aug 152011


  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact was stopped at a stop sign and as she attempted to accelerate from the stop, the vehicle suddenly jerked forward abnormally. The failure recurred whenever accelerating from a complete stop or when in reverse. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic advised the contact that the transmission would have to be replaced. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 126,000.

- Little Chute, WI, USA

problem #38

Sep 012011


  • 126,000 miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer jerks every time I stop at a red light, stop sign or even put my vehicle in reverse. When I purchased my truck it only 125000 miles on it and it started jerking a few months after I purchased the truck. I have been back to the dealer and they tell me this is a very common issue with the 2006 Ford Explorer. There is a serious problem with the transmissions on the 2006 Explorer and Ford refused to help or give any assistance. I travel with three small children and I'm really scared that I'm going to get rear ended because of the jerking. I have searched online and there are hundreds of Ford Explorer owners that are having this same exact issue. We need to have someone that keep speak for us and our right as car owners. I am a mother of 3 and full time worker I can't afford a new car. Ford should stand up and admit there is a problem with the 2006 Ford transmission. I came across your website and figured I will try and get some help here. This is really serious because someone can get in a serious accident. This is a really bad jerk and it just gets worse and worse. Please help!

- Little Chute, WI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?