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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Mar 132010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 69,810 miles


I have a 2006 Ford Explorer and I had to replace transmission and rear before vehicle reached 70, 000 miles. I was told by the mechanic that they could not replace transmission oil and differential until 100,000 miles. Ford should guarantee the transmission and rear end up to 100,000 miles, it's nt fair to the consumer.

- Opelika, AL, USA

problem #16

Jul 252011


  • 66,720 miles
The wrench, the ABS, and the anti-sway icons started coming on intermittently on my 2006 Explorer. They would reset immediately using the reset button. The dealer replaced a wheel-speed sensor and stated that the sensor was damaged when the "tone" wheel cracked. Dealer also stated that unless the tone wheel was replaced, the ABS was not operational. Seems like this is a major safety concern; if you think you have ABS, but don't the driver is set up for the big fall! Ford is aware of this cracking problem: Why no recall?

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #15

Apr 042009


  • 75,000 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer and when your at a stand still it feels like someone hit U from the back and it fails to switch gears when its suppose to and not only that when U try to go it just hums then finally takes off and I almost cause me to hit a tree....the dealer says nothing is very upset!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #14

Jul 292010

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 79,030 miles


2006 Ford Explorer 4.6L V8 4X4 engine shut off while driving at speed of approximately 40mph. Was in a low traffic area so no damage was done to any thing but have concern for failure to happen again on interstate or in traffic causing potentially deadly accident.

- Port Charlotte , FL, USA

problem #13

Jun 302010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer. At 40000 miles the transmission went out and had to be replaced. Shortly thereafter I had a cracked radiator and had my first radiator replaced. I now have 67000 miles and just had my 3rd radiator put in. I am not going through Ford as they wouldn't guarantee their work on the first one they replaced. Clearly there is a major problem with the radiators in this car and it is unfair to all of us who purchased this vehicle.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #12

Feb 082010


  • 56,000 miles
Spark plug separates and remains in the engine block when attempting to remove them. Three of eight was changing spark plugs due to the computer making the transmission buck and slip when driving.

- Cape Coral , FL, USA

problem #11

Dec 012006


  • 30,000 miles


When slowing down to come to a stop my 2006 Ford Explorer lunges forward as if something is skipping. It has been doing it since 30K miles and they would not replace or fix it under warranty, said it was out of warranty issue. Said it would not brake but would just be an annoyance.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 202008


  • miles
I own a 2006 Ford Explorer and when I slow down to stop, I feel an awful jerk, just as someone is rear-ended me. For some reason, when I slow down to a stop light or sign, the transmission jerks the vehicle when shifting from 2nd down to 1st gear. This is definitely not what Ford has made the Explorer for, to shift with a sudden jerk from gear to gear. This is not really a safety issue, but causes real problems when you expect that you've purchased a great vehicle, but you actually didn't. I know that I'm not paying for this mistake or flaw in design of the 2006 Ford Explorer. I will fight this issue to the end as a martyr, and I'm not kidding about this.

- Pulaski, VA, USA

problem #9

Aug 302009


  • 34,000 miles
I recently purchased a 2006 Ford limited edition Explorer. Within 24 hours of purchase I noticed that the vehicle would "lunge" forward while attempting to bring the SUV to a complete stop. It feels as if you were just rear-ended! I purchased the extended warranty and have been told to bring the car to service. Recent research has lead me to believe that this SUV's model year has this same disturbing trend among vehicle across the usa. A thorough investigation needs to take place and a recall is my recommendation. Consumers should not suffer for an obvious flaw on the behalf of a major manufacturer.

- Roselle, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jun 122009


  • 40,610 miles
Was driving home from work ABS, traction and wrench light came on. A grinding noise started and felt like the brakes were being used even though I was touching the gas pedal. Could have caused a accident if I wasn't driving in a neighborhood. We now have a car sitting in our drive broken down that we still owe over 15,000 for. Calling Ford Monday to have it towed over. What I have read online, it looks like I am not the only one with this problem. I have a 5 yr old and a 2 yr old and want a car that is safe. The brakes failed a couple of years ago and Ford told us there was nothing wrong.

- Juneau, AK, USA

problem #7

Jun 132009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,302 miles


I have a 2006 Explorer V-6 eddie bauer. My vehicle has 35,302 miles. I was out running errands on a Saturday morning without any problems. Then without warning the vehicle just started jerking as the car came to a complete stop. Then as I began to drive (after the red light) I noticed the RPM's just seeming to go up and down as I was driving. I had about 5 more times that I needed to stop (stop signs) my vehicle before I got home and it continued to jerk as I came to a complete stop. I did not feel safe at all driving with my kids in the car. After the car first jerked when I went to stop the wrench illuminated stating powertrain problem. I started doing research on this problem and I have found hundred of the same or very similar problems. Why has Ford not looked into this problem, come up with a solution and issue a recall.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #6

Feb 122009


  • miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer has a major transmission problem. Ford refuses to do anything but reprogram it. It has been done 5+ times. It jerks and lunges into upcoming traffic.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #5

Jun 152006


  • miles
The shift handle frequently is "stuck" when attempting to shift into gear from the park position.

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #4

Nov 282008


  • 50,000 miles
Apparent transmission problem lead to discovery of blown radiator.

- Holly Springs, NC, USA

problem #3

Aug 302008


  • 10,356 miles
While returning home from a routine shopping trip with my wife and 2 kids, the entire vehicle died completely in the middle of a busy street. The entire dash board went dark, the engine completely stopped running and as usual when the engine stops running the steering and brakes typically don't work too well. Luckily the emergency brake worked like it was designed since we were going down hill at the time. I couldn't even turn on my hazard lights (what's the point of those when you can't use them to let others know you've now become a hazard)" I was able to restart the vehicle after a minute or two had lapsed and proceeded to move onward to our destination. This issue occurred when the transmission shifted from 2nd gear to 1st gear and going at a slow speed only 20mph. Had this happened with my wife driving I'm positive there would have been a major accident! this is a 2006 Ford Explorer bought brand new off the show room floor and only has 10,356 miles on it. Practically still brand new! I've done some research regarding this issue and have found that this isn't an uncommon problem with this model of vehicle. I've also found a few places that mention the cause of the issue as a throttle body malfunction. I'm looking to find if replacing the throttle body resolves the issue. If the issue is this common why hasn't Ford been proactive and replaced the defective parts" our confidence in this car is now gone and we're afraid to take our children anywhere in this vehicle.

- Inman, SC, USA

problem #2

Jul 072008


  • 45,500 miles
I own a 2006 Ford freestyle. On 7/7/08, the vehicle accelerated when I put it in gear (reverse) to back out of a parking space. I drove it a couple of blocks while keeping one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator. At that point, I called for a tow to a Ford dealer. On 7/8/08, the dealership diagnosed the problem as the throttle body needed to be replaced. I was informed the part was on back order until the end of August or the first of September. Obviously, this part is in great demand or it would be available prior to that anticipated date. I am concerned because if I had been on the freeway when this occurred, it could have a tragic ending. How many other freestyles have had this problem" how many wrecks have occurred because of this failure of a part" my vehicle has approximately 45,000 miles, and it was purchased 8/06. I am requesting Ford provide me with a vehicle (at no expense to me) to drive until my car is repaired. The repair is going to cost me $650. In the meantime, I am still having to make payments on the car. Ford has offered me 10 days of rental with them paying only $27 per day. It is only fair they provide me with a comparable car rent free. Obviously this part is in great demand--but I perceive that to be Ford's issue--not mine.

- Kingwood , TX, USA

problem #1

Jun 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
I own a 2006 Explorer eddie bauer with 3000 miles on it. Here is the problem, just before coming to a complete stop at stop light, stop sign or whatever, the engine revs to 1200-1500 rpms for just a brief second. I am not giving the car any gas to induce this occurrence. I have no idea why the car is doing this and neither does my local dealer. The service manager acknowledged that the car is in fact doing what I described above, but could not offer a fix. I tested another 2006 V6 Explorer with 3 miles on it, to mine and the service manager surprise; it did the exact same thing as my truck. The service manager said he would look into the situation and call some of his engineer buddies to see if they could give him any information. I never heard back from him. I am also beginning to notice that I actually have to break harder to get the truck to come to a complete stop. This can not be normal, yet my Ford dealer is insinuating nothing is actually wrong with the car. Longer than necessary stopping distances and will lead to unnecessary collisions. Because the Ford Motor Company will not admit there is a problem with 2006 V6 Explorer my dealer will probably do nothing to remedy the situation. I complained to Ford Motor Company and never even received a confirmation that they received my email. I honestly believe that this is a recall situation. To my knowledge, all 2006 V6 Explorer exhibit this problem of sudden acceleration, admittedly not by any stretch a powerful sudden acceleration but still it is a sudden acceleration. I am confident in my assessment because I have personally driven 2 Explorer and different service rep claimed he drove yet another 06 Explorer that did exactly the same thing. It seems to me that if Ford has a design flaw in one of there cars they should design a fix for the problem and then repair the affected cars.

- Woodmere, NY, USA

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