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.


definitely annoying
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
38,667 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. tsb 05-23-3 (1 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Feb 082012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


The TSB 05-23-3 covers model years 1999 thru 2005. Mine is a 2006 built in January 2006 with the same symptoms that other people report having with models 1999-2005. I called my local Ford dealer this morning and was told since TSB 05-23-3 is a technical service bulletin and not a recall, Ford doesn't cover any costs related to the repair. 7 Models years experiencing the same problem. Ford acknowledges the existence of an issue with several models across many years, troubleshoots & identifies the problem, develops and distributes a comprehensive repair procedure (TSB 05-23-3), then says " It's not our fault, you pay for it". Clearly at Ford 1 + 1 does not equal 2. As individual citizens attempting to persuade them to do the right thing, our voice is virtually unheard. But as a member of a group of individual citizens (class action lawsuit), our collective voice will make clear to Ford that 100,000 citizens + 1 class action lawsuit equals Justice for all voices.

If having your voice heard is important to you, please reply and tell everyone your story.

- , Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #2

Jul 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

I thought I was going mad! Strange whooping noise (almost like an alarm sounding) would happen when I was driving. Nothing particular set it off or made it better/worse. Seemed to clear up on it's own, although I have had the vehicle serviced for a dozen other things and one of those repairs could have done the trick.

- , Granbury, TX, USA

problem #1

May 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles

Every now and then when I come to a stop or begin to accelerate, I will hear a "whoop" sound. Sometimes I hear a "stomach" growling sound or low moan sound. All sounds come from the back end of the car. It almost sounds like trapped air is escaping but the sound is lower in pitch (not a hissing sound.) The service rep said they drove it but did not hear anything and to bring it back when is does make the sound. Since it doesn't do it on a regular basis, it's going to be hard to diagnose. I'm glad my doctor doesn't ask me to keep coming back! I took a chance on buying a Ford given their financial problems. I hope their service comes through or they won't stand a chance. Next time, I may need to go back to my reliable Honda.

- , Austin, TX, USA

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