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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,983 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

problem #4

Mar 042011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 56,313 miles


ABS light & traction control light came on. Taken to dealer and found left rear axle assembly and tone ring had to be replaced. Was covered under extended drive train warranty at $100. Deductable. After having been in the automotive repair business for over thirty years I know this type of failure should not occur in normal vehicle operation in the mileage on this vehicle.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 202009


  • 27,500 miles
2006 Ford Explorer limited V8 26,000 mls..trans. Slams as if I were hit from behind. Engine revs 2600 RPM at 10-15 mph. Then shifts. Bought vehicle Mar.2009 noticed possible problem late Aug. 2009..slight drift/uncontrollability. Ford wont do anything about my or anyone's complaints. Maybe once somebody gets hurt will Ford finally fix the many problems with their Explorer line.

- Butler, PA, USA

problem #2

Feb 232008


  • 32,100 miles
While in park vehicle rolled backwards down incline almost striking person at bottom of driveway luckily he jumped out of the way and it struck side of his truck causing damage, driveway had been snow covered but cleared down to asphalt, had been parked approximately 10-15 minutes prior to this happening. This has since occurred multiple times in varying weather conditions, including rainy, snowy, and sunny with dry pavement. The vehicle has rolled forward and back, with and without the parking brake set, which the parking brake it takes longer and rolls slower; each time there after striking vehicle parked closely as a precaution, wheels get chocked now when parked on incline to prevent SUV from rolling. Ford has checked multiple times and not found any issues and fixed or replaced nothing saying it is because of the rear differential not a containing limited slip gearing.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jul 032006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles
New 2006 Ford explore vibration at 45 & 60 mph shakes SUV. During test drive dealer thought the problem was a flat spot on a tire from sitting on the lot. After driving the SUV for several days the vibration continued. Returned to dealer for correction. SUV received new drive shaft, and two rear 1/2 shafts. Problem sill exist. After testing couple other Explorer on lot was determined that they all had this same vibration. Ford is aware of the problem but describes it at normal. I hate to tell them that this is not normal. The SUV has problems with this vibration and if you let off the gas then reapply as if you had to break quick then accelerate the SUV struggles to regain power and has a more sever vibration. If I had know that this was typical with this unit I would not have purchased it. I thought it was a flat spot on the tire as the salesman thought. A very concerned and unhappy Ford customer.

- Mccalla, AL, USA

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