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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,417 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Dec 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 123,031 miles


Dear sir first of all, I would like to state that I am not a us citizen, but, I'm a family man & I feel for others, I own a Ford Explorer 06, and recently I've been noticing that the trans has a mind of it's own, shifting wrongly, jolting into gear is not enjoyable or safe, the other day I was about to have an accident because the trans refused to shift when I tried to accelerate in order to escape a situation of hitting a car next to me, I've looked it up on the internet & found that everybody is complaining of the same issues, you can go for the below site & check the problem is that Ford won't admit that there is something wrong with the transmission, putting peoples life in danger for a few dollars more please fix this as it's very critical & dangerous at the same time [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Riyadh, AL, USA

problem #26

Dec 012008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Since purchasing this vehicle new in January 2007 the radiator has been replaced twice. Now, in December 2013 with 114000 miles, the radiator is losing coolant and the engine smells of coolant after driving. Most likely the radiator will have to be replaced for the third time.

- Hoover, AL, USA

problem #25

Mar 262012


  • 97,000 miles
We bought the used vehicle in March 2012 with a 30 day warranty. During the first month, noticed engine slipping (usually around 45 mph). Checked fluids, added coolant and naively thought the problem would go away, and it seemed to for about a month. However, the engine/transmission slippage has gotten much worse since then. We are constantly adding coolant and driving very carefully to avoid a hard jerk in the transmission around 45 mph. When we took it to the local Ford dealership, they said that the "transmission was probably shot" but that they could change the spark plugs "for about $250 each even though that probably wouldn't help." How in the world can a spark plug be this expensive to change? the dealership charged us nearly $200 to run diagnostics for a problem that we now know is related to this particular vehicle. This should have long ago been a recall, and Ford should be ashamed of itself for not fixing the problem sooner.

- Starkville, MS, USA

problem #24

Nov 072007


  • 19,000 miles


My son was driving home and the truck started jerking uncontrollably and he couldn't back up so had to call a tow truck. All of the transmission fluid had leaked out due to radiator failure. The truck was off warranty so had to buy a new radiator. In order for the radiator to have a warranty had to buy another part from the Ford place for $200. Got the part and radiator. Within six months to a year, same thing happened, had to have another radiator. Have had three radiators and now this year 2013 leaking again and the radiator that I paid $600 for the radiator place has went out of business so I have to buy another radiator. This is an ongoing problem with this 2006 Ford Explorer XLT and Ford knows about it. I am afraid to drive it half the time, never know when I won't be able to move it if all of the fluid leaks out or may stop in traffic suddenly. Please help us to get Ford to recall these trucks.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #23

Sep 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 97,468 miles
Both of these things have been happening over the last 2-3 years but I can not remember exact dates. First my car has been running hot continuously over this period of time which causes me to have to put coolant in at least once every month. I took it to the dealership and they told me this was common with the Explorer but there has not been a recall so I would have to pay out of pocket. They first told me it was the line to the radiator that was leaking so I had it replaced, then next time it was the thermostat and housing that they said was the problem. So I had this replaced. Now today 9/19/2013 I had to replace the radiator. It doesn't matter what I seem to fix this problem continues to occur. Secondly my car jerks into gear when I try to put in gear. They are telling me now I need a transmission but I see this is a recurring problems with many Explorer owners and it doesn't fix the problem either. I don't know what else to do because my car is jerking which causes me to almost hit people or doesn't go into gear fast enough which causes them to almost hit me. Please help!!! these problems first started to occur around 40000 miles. My problem is radiator and transmission.

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #22

Aug 152013


  • 77,180 miles
While driving at 40 mph car speed went to 0 mph, transmission totally slipped. Second time it has happened. Once I sit there for about 15 minutes on side of road it will they start to work as it should. But it does make loud noises while motor shifts gears. This is a known transmission problem yet no Ford recall. Unacceptable!!!

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #21

Apr 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


Transmission disengaged at red light. It started going backwards instead of forward. Had to put into park and then back into drive to get it to drive. Still going on. Now when actually on the road it is getting out of gear when vehicle is at driving speed. Engine revs up to 5000rpms, then down to 1000rpm. Vehicle lunging. Will get hurt I'm sure.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #20

Jul 112013


  • 70,000 miles
From July 5th to present my 2006 Ford Explorer truck was toed to the dealership 3 times. Each time it was for the same problem overheating. This has been a constant problem with this car since it was purchased in December 2005. The radiator has been replace twice, the transmission once, the throttle, etc. I have been told that now after the radiator was a replaced and the throttle, etc. At a cost of $2300.the car now needs a new engine and /or gaskets that need replacing. I cannot understand why a car with normal mileage, which was only involved in one minor fender bender.can need so much major work.

- Washington, D.C., DC, USA

problem #19

Jul 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 92,500 miles
I was driving 25 mph and turning left to a small street. I saw an engine light show on, and then the engine stop. At that point, I couldn't turn the wheel, and also it was so difficult for me to stop the vehicle. I had mention this problem at the Ford dealer in greenfield, MA who fixed my ABS break about two weeks ago. A person at the service responded, " that's normal. Our computer does not see other issue beside the ABS." I spend $85 for diagnosis the ABS break problem and spend almost $500 to fix the break. I took my vehicle to a small body shop in my area. This person ran the computer through the vehicle system, and the computer did not shown any problems. Then, I called Ford corporate and tried to get some advice from the company. The company said I should take the vehicle to a different dealer to get other opinion. Meaning that I have to pay another $85 again, and I still do not know I will get an answer or not. My concern, I do not want to cause an accident.

- Winchester, NH, USA

problem #18

Mar 052013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
Upon starting the vehicle it suddenly excelerates. I now keep my foot on the brake at all times immediately following ignition. It has has happened four or five times in the last several months. I have owned the vehicle since 2007 when I purchased it from ocala Lincoln Mercury as a Ford certified vehicle. It had approximately 14,000. Today it has only 54,230 mostly highway. That is less than 7000 miles per year. Itr has regular services at my local for dealer. All of my repair records are obtainable through the Ford Motor Company.

- St. Cloud , FL, USA

problem #17

Sep 092011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


During a left turn across three lanes of traffic our Explorer would not accelerate. It lurched to start and would not go above 10-15 mph, nearly stalling. We were able to drive the car home but could not get it to go above 20 mph. At speeds 10 - 20 mph it jerked violently. This was a common occurrence at speeds 45 - 60. Moderately accelerating between 45 - 60 mph has caused hard jerks for years with this car prior to it being off warranty. We've taken it to ted britt Ford several times and each time they said there was nothing wrong. We also noted they only put it on the ticket once, the other times telling us they took it off since they didn't have the issue and wouldn't charge us for it. The time mentioned in this incident the dealer offered to split the cost with us due to our previous issues and their inability to fix it. They also did not fix the issue as we still cannot accelerate at speeds 45 - 60 without hard jerking from the engine or transmission. We no longer use this car on the highway because it is dangerous trying to switch lanes or merge on to a highway when the car violently shakes at highway speeds. It would not accelerate and often left us running out of merge lane space without the ability to get into traffic. I have read several such problems with this car and I am surprised nothing has been done about it. We have spent thousands having this car looked at and in failed attempts to fix it.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #16

Mar 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
With only 86,000 miles our Ford Explorer transmission has failed once again. When we had 23,000 miles on our vehicle we noticed the transmission was shifting rather hard and took it to the dealer and they found nothing wrong. At 58,000 miles the transmission engagement was so rough that we had to get it repaired. Since the warranty is only up to 36,000 we decided our best bet is to not take it to the dealer. We had the valve body repaired and it ran fine up until now. 86,000 miles and this vehicle is once again at a repair shop having the transmission fully rebuilt. In the time I have owned this vehicle I have paid over $7,000 to keep it running with regular maintenance, tires, radiator repair, brakes and now the third transmission.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 142013


  • 87,000 miles
Just like many others who have reported the same issue with their 2006 Ford Explorer, when backing out of the driveway, I put the vehicle in reverse. There was a jerk as the transmission seemed to finally engage. I thought the trans broke at the time? this has happened more then once. I have also experienced the same issue as others with the delayed shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. My Explorer has just 88K miles on it.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #14

May 032012


  • 72,000 miles
The vehicle was driving at a speed of 40-45 mph and stalled. This again happened on May 25, 2012 while leaving on our vacation. We parked the vehicle and rented one to drive the remaining distance. When taken to a mechanic it was found the throttle body was bad. We have replaced it and in the month of November the vehicle began doing it again. As you drive it will just completely shut off. As the mechanic told us there is no electricity going to the engine and you can coast to the shoulder and restart the vehicle. This will be the 2nd time correcting this problem if this is the true issue. It was read there is a recall on Ford vehicles for that year make but not for the Explorer model. I have contacted Ford and they also stated there is no recall. With the age and low mileage of the vehicle there is no reason this should be happening.

- Franklin, LA, USA

problem #13

Mar 212009


  • 38,000 miles
While driving to Florida from Missouri, to take my kids to disneyworld, with a car that was well kept and relatively new, on the highway a few miles after pensacola, the vehicle overheated and stalled, so we had to stop on the side of the highway at night. Steam was coming out from a crack on the top of the radiator. I had to call for a towtruck and lost a couple of days of our vacation until the closest mechanic we found was able to replace the radiator with a new one from Ford. I got stuck with a $1000 bill since the car was out of warranty. But that was none of my worries. The issue was that the car broke down in the middle of nowhere on a highway at night with a lot of speeding 18wheelers. At 70000 miles the incident happened again. The vehicle overheated and stalled on a short 30 mile Excursion to branson Missouri. The hilly highway leading to branson Missouri is not the best place to break down. Opened the hood only to see the radiator steaming again. The car was towed again and fixed at a $1200 bill. The vehicle is a lemon and Ford should be forced to buy it back or at least fix the problem permanently. It can break down anywhere anytime, and because the way it breaks down and stalls because of the overheating it can cause a really bad accident if you are unlucky enough.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Aug 082007


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when an abnormal noise emitted from the engine compartment. The contact maneuvered to a safe location and noticed an excessive amount of radiator fluid leaking onto the ground. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer three times for the defect and the radiator was replaced each time. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 32,000. The VIN was not available.

- West Hills , CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 202011


  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was abnormally leaking fluid. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed. The dealer advised the contact that the radiator plastic failed and caused the radiator crimp to leak. The contact stated that the failure also occurred in 2010 and the radiator was replaced at that time. The dealer advised that the radiator would need to be replaced again. The manufacture was contact and advised that there were no recalls for the radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 74,000 and the current mileage was 114,000.

- Washington, MI, USA

problem #9

Nov 242012


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when driving approximately 50 mph the temperature gauge started to rise. A few miles down the highway he saw a large cloud of smoke coming from his engine. The contact was able to merged to the side of the road and have the vehicle towed. After diagnosis from the dealer they advised him that the radiator fractured and started to leak onto the engine. As a result, the engine and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure and current mileage was approximately 83,000.

- Las Vegas , NV, USA

problem #8

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

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