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 1 of 3)

problem #47

Jun 012016


  • 109,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced a complete loss of power. In addition, the contact noticed steam coming from the vehicle. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the compressor failed and the check engine indicator was disabled. As a result, the electronic control module caused the vehicle to malfunction. The compressor was replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was approximately 109,000.

- Pinellas Park, FL, USA

problem #46

Aug 012016


  • 179,000 miles
Car shuts off while driving. This has happened about 6 times in the last two months. Always at speeds under 40 mph and always within 3 minutes of turning the car on. There's never any warning or smell or sound. Dash goes black, radio cuts off, power steering fails, and I have to coast to the side of the road. Obviously this is very frightening and I've been very lucky that it has not yet happened at lights or turns. My car guy is really good and he's at a loss. He thinks maybe it's a security system malfunction. I drive with children in the car and I can't afford a to buy a new car. I'm not sure what my other options are.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #45

May 252016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving various speeds, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle restarted after numerous attempts. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. the vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage and VIN were not available. 

- Swedesboro, NJ, USA

problem #44

Apr 072016


  • 16,200 miles


Check engine lite and orange wrench lite which shuts car down no excelration pedal power steering gone and no brake control on freeway coming home. Trans. Will not shift and jumps when wrench lite is on very dangerous this has been going on since April took back to dealer sent to mechanic replaced 2 parts on excelleration module. Still not right.

- Pinson, AL, USA

problem #43

Jun 192014


  • 98,000 miles
Does the class action lawsuit concerning spark plugs include this model of Explorer? the V8 4.6L eddie bauer edition-if not, it should, as we were told the same info on sparks plugs breaking off if not done with a special extraction tool. We had diagnostics done and depending on what happened when removed and changed could cost anywhere between $600-$1500. Specifically told "do not attempt yourself." Service was performed June 19, 2014 by a local Ford dealer.

- Edwardsville, IL, USA

problem #42

May 162016


  • 108,000 miles
First problem started with the brain in the transmission area. Hesitating, lunging forward and tachometer jumping when taking off and during driving down the roads/highways. Had diagnostics tests done (March 3, 2016.) replaced brain and it stopped the hesitation, lunging and tachometer jumping=$2700. Next problem came along when we started hearing a ticking sound when it was started in the driveway(May 16, 2016.) come to find out the engine was blown which is now going to cost $6700. We have always maintained our vehicles with proper care and attention, but how can all these major things go wrong at only 108000 miles"?"

- Edwardsville, IL, USA

problem #41

Jul 132015


  • miles


Takata recall

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #40

Jan 272016


  • 190,149 miles
I bought a 2006 Explorer in 2010 and in 5 years I have had a sensor that's goes inside the transmission replaced, then transmission rebuilted, and the radiator replaced twice. Now that it's paid off leaking coolant again making it run hot. Now it saying check the charging system and stop on me on the freeway and now won't stay started. Thought I was doing everything right with the maintenance of the truck but it keeps breaking down. Also the wrench thing is on and won't stay started even while pressing the gas pedal to the floor all after I just had another sensor replaced. And besides the radiator leaking again that plastic thing they call a thermostat housing may be cracked. I feel I'm spending more money repairing things on this truck in 5 years that most people spend on a new car. If I had seen all the problems this model year was having would have went a different brand.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #39

May 312015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 35 mph, the engine stalled. The vehicle was able to restart. The failure recurred ten times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #38

Sep 162015


  • 61,000 miles
Driving on a highway I-95 in Florida. The vehicle started to miss as we accelerated. We took the car into a Ford dealer service for plug replacement. This auto has a 4.6 litre V-8 engine. We were amazed to find that it will cost upwards of $1000 to replace 8 spark plugs. That cost esculates if any plugs are broken. The plugs are two piece construction and separate on removal. Only Ford can remove the plugs and more will be charged for any broken. It is impossible to remove these plugs without breakage. Ford recommends not changing the plugs until 100,000 miles. By that time you are out of guaranty and if they are hard to come out at 60,000 miles imagine if they are left in. These plugs are known to blow out of the head and I am sure there are many accidents. I am a disabled veteran 83 years old and a mechanical engineer. My wife and I are fishermen and need a vehicle to bring our boat to water. We are avid Ford owners and are greatly dissapointed.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #37

Oct 262011


  • 69,364 miles


Purchase this vehicle in 2011 once it was home within 3 months began having problems, I also purchase the Ford extended warranty and took it back to the dealership. They explained they could not find an issue with the transmission. It jolts, lunges, and sometimes the transmission doesn't engage. I feel extremely unsafe trying to pull out at an intersection because the car starts to jolt and I have to slam on the gas in order for the car to is horrible and I feel very unsafe driving; especially with my children in the car. Even if I am driving on the interstate I have to put the car into overdrive to stop the majority of the jolting, and that does not even guarantee it will stop. It has been a battle with the dealership. Had it independently checked by aamco and the transmission replaced, but the issue still occurs. Not sure what can be done. This vehicle needs to be recalled.

- Gainesille, VA, USA

problem #36

Oct 102013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
I bought my first Ford Explorer almost 8 years ago. I had absolutely no problems with this vehicle and felt very safe driving my newborn son. I had a second son and decided to buy a new Ford Explorer because it was such a dependable car. Now I am regretting that decision. I bought a 2006 Ford Explorer at round 60,000 miles. It now has 70,000 and I have already had to get another transmission and it still has not fixed the problem. It jolts, lunges, and sometimes the transmission doesn't engage. I feel extremely unsafe trying to pull out at an intersection because the car starts to jolt and I have to slam on the gas in order for the car to is horrible and I feel very unsafe driving; especially with my children in the car. Even if I am driving on the interstate I have to put the car into overdrive to stop the majority of the jolting, and that does not even guarantee it will stop. My husband is in the military and gone a great deal. He should not have to worry about the safety of his children or wife when he is deployed overseas or when he is training away from home. He is currently away from home for training, getting ready for deployment. He is calling every chance he gets to make sure the car has not broken down or we have not been in and accident due to this very horrible vehicle. If I had enough money I would buy another vehicle and tell everyone not to ever buy a Ford again. I think I am more upset with the fact that my husband is possible being sent overseas in October, and he cannot even go to war with the knowledge his family is safe. I really wish someone would understand that this is a huge problem and major safety problem. Please help all of the families with this defect.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #35

Nov 262013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
We bought this used from a used car dealership. The very next day I noticed while driving the engine just shut off. Couple months later the same thing happened and has continued to happen often. Last week I was driving 45 mph on a highway in the rain and lost all control of the vehicle. The brakes didn't work, the steering didn't work, the entire car shut down, I had a panic attack because I was in traffic and almost caused a huge accident with other vehicles. I put on the hazards and finally was able to drift into a the middle of the road called the turning lane. I called the dealership many times and have only been told "we are sorry". I tried calling a lemon law lawyer but was told, sorry, if the truck was a 2007 then I would have a case. So, now what do I do? I have a 10,000 car loan for a vehicle that I am frightened to drive anywhere. Please help me.

- Souderton, PA, USA

problem #34

Jun 122014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 64,863 miles
I was driving up small hill-dry conditions and the car shut down. On coming vehicle swerved and avoided collision. This has happened many times after the traction control sensor comes on. The car also jumps out when shifting gears and sometimes it is very hard to shift. Transmission problem! safety recall imperative!

- Tavernier , FL, USA

problem #33

Mar 152013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I've had multiple problems with this car. First the car shifts hard approx between 10 mph and 20 mph, the car lunges, stalls, then shifts hard into gear. When it first happened, I took the car to a certified mechanic and they did a complete transmission flush... the car ran smooth for about 10 days, then it started leaking transmission fluid which resulted in my radiator being ruined. Replaced the radiator and a plug in the transmission. ($1,800) the car then ran fine up this past Sunday. The car as me and my wife were driving home from a 400 mile trip with the ac running, the wrench light came on and the car started lunging and shifting hard again. I exited off the highway and the check engine light came on... the car started shifting hard between 2nd and 3rd gear and making a loud clunk noise. Took it to the mechanic and he did another transmission flush on Monday June 16, 2014... two days later and the car still lunges, stalls, and shifts hard. I called Ford and they said because the car is out of warranty, there's nothing they could do. I even asked them because there are so many complaints about the 2006 transmission, they still couldn't help me. The second problem is the car even though in park, it tends to roll down the driveway into the street in the middle of the night/ early morning... this happened a couple of times... told Ford about the problem, and because the car is out of warranty there's nothing they could do... the last problem is every once and a while the car doesn't shift into reverse... told Ford about the problem and once again, because the car is out of warranty there's nothing they could do...

- Summit, NJ, USA

problem #32

May 132013


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving at low speeds the vehicle stalled and the check engine light illuminated. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 97,000.

- Ozone Park, NY, USA

problem #31

May 052010


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 40 mph, there was a loud noise in the front end as the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had already taken the vehicle to an authorized dealer who replaced the radiator twice but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the radiator and engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure multiple times and provided no remedy. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. The VIN was not available.

- Henry, IL, USA

problem #30

Feb 022011


  • 80,000 miles
While traveling on the highway the vehicle suddenly lost power as if it stalled. Engine was running but vehicle had no power. Vehicle had to be turned off and restarted to regain power. Always feared being rear ended or stalling on railroad tracks. Dealer determined it was electronic throttle control and replaced it. The vehicle has not had this malfunction since the repair about 18 months ago.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #29

Mar 022009

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Shifting of transmission slams hard on a fast take off, then at 45 or above cycles gears and won't stay in overdrive.

- Portage, IN, USA

problem #28

Feb 112011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,130 miles
Driving at 45 mph, transmission shifted with a jerky motion, first started then.when you first take off it jerks and makes a noise. When you back up it jerks hard enough it whips you body back. Had it checked at a transmission place. They tore it down and found nothing ( $400). Still jerks and shifts rough. Don't know how long it's going to last.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

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