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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

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 #6

Oct 132010


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled and all the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact pulled the vehicle over and restarted it and it functioned properly. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The failure mileage was 73,000.

- Waterford, CT, USA

problem #5

Sep 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,700 miles
While trying to stop my vehicle suddenly accelerated and I had to put it in neutral to come to a stop. I pulled into a parking lot and shut the engine off and then started it up again and my engine revved at around 4000 RPM. The only way I could drive the vehicle home was to keep constant heavy pressure on the brakes. It always wanted to accelerate.

- Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #4

Aug 152012


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while at a complete stop, the vehicle hesitated. The contact was able to accelerate into traffic however within moments, fire emitted from under the hood. The fire department was called to extinguish the fire and advised that the fire originated from the right side of the engine bay area. The fire had spread to the windshield and dashboard as well. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who did not advise the contact on the cause of the engine failure that could have led to the fire. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileage was 50,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 122012


  • 554,000 miles
Engine lost power and began vibrating. Engine driven to dealership and engine light came on. Dealership states "seized" spark plug but because part is defective wants to replace all eight plugs. Unable to quote cost as plugs are known to break off during removal. Plug replacement recommended orginally to be 100000 now dropped to 60,000. Service writer stated "you must have had someone messing with your spark plugs". told him no one has serviced my car but his dealership. Special tool designed by Ford to remove these plugs. Cost cannot be quoted ($946 for one plug changeout plus full service fuel service prior to removal to "loosen" up carbon buildup which they say causes the problem with plug breakage) but cost runs into thousands of dollars and shavings from reboring the plugs for replacement of different design plug can cause engine to be damaged. Car purchased new in 2006. Only driver. Only dealer serviced. This is a terrible problem.

- Columbia , SC, USA

problem #2

Jun 052012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I noticed a yellow fluid leaking from the thermostat housing. I took it to a mechanic and he said that the antifreeze was leaking from somewhere in the manifold, probably the thermostat housing. We replaced the thermostat housing and brand new O-rings and added silicone sealant around the affected areas. We are still seeing the leaking. I have seen this complaint numerous times and it is time that Ford take responsibility for the plastic parts that are connected to the engine. Ford must use metal parts to replace these for me because plastic warps in the heat of Florida. The affected parts are the thermostat housing and it's connection to the engine. I have a 2006 Ford Explorer eddie bauer 4.0 with 55K mileage. Good maintenance always, oil changed regularly, fluids checked and maintained regularly. Ford must fix this!

- St.Petersburg , FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 012009


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the reading from the temperature gauge increased when the radiator failed. The radiator leaked coolant due to defective plastic. The radiator was replaced three times. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired a fourth. The failure mileage was 27,000 and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Bear , DE, USA

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