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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,883 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 #15

Jul 092009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,800 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. When attempting to make a turn, or decelerate, the engine would stall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer over five to six times for identical failures. The dealer replaced the fuel filter and the power train module. None of the repairs have remedied the failure. The Ford manufacturer was contacted, but no assistance was provided. The failure mileage was 25,800. Updated 1/25/10 updated01/26/10.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #14

Apr 212009


  • 36,402 miles
Trac control, ABS, check engines lights on. Rattle on left rear axle, ABS ring loose form axle, need to replace ring and axle.

- Platteville, WI, USA

problem #13

Jan 152009


  • 39,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer, purchase new. Radiator replaced as defective Jan 2008. Radiator replace as defective November 2008, Jan 2009 radiator defective again. Ford refuse to fix due to out of warranty. Gene evens Ford in union city Georgia service manager wayne said he has a lot of Ford Explorer with same problem he said "it seems that a chemical in the engine is what is causing the radiator to malfunction". this should be a recall but Ford is not doing anything about it.

- Fairburn, GA, USA

problem #12

Jan 122009


  • 74,000 miles


I am currently having to put my second all new radiator in my 06 eddie bauer Explorer. This is the second in 13 months. I feel that these radiators are defective as I know others have had the exact same problem and Ford refuses to acknowledge this problem.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #11

Oct 152008


  • 38,000 miles
Engine was racing, took it to dealer, they said it was programmable transmission, cost $100 to diagnose and reset program. Ok for a while, started racing again. Took back to dealer, said it is leaky radiator, it was bone dry and it was the engine fan racing not the motor. Just past warranty, never received extended warrant information until just last week, after the fact. Taking it to a different repair guy, engine could have overheated and locked up!

- Lockport, IL, USA

problem #10

Dec 052008


  • 48,000 miles
Roaring sound, rushing water, leaking under drivers side. Dealer said radiator defective, seam split, cannot repair. 2006 Explorer, 48,000 miles. Service rep scolded me for not getting extended warranty; radiator warranty is 3 yr/36K mi. Also said transmission needs flushing. Told him transmission had been flushed 3 months ago. He told me I could talk with Ford, but "given their current situation, " they were not going to be cooperative. I plan to call Ford. A 2.5 year old vehicle should not have a failed radiator/transmission.

- Hartwell, GA, USA

problem #9

Mar 192008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 0 miles


I have my third radiator in my 2006 Ford Explorer with the V6 engine.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #8

Nov 242008


  • 35,600 miles
2006 Ford Explorer eb radiator leak @ 35,600 miles. I first noticed the problem due to puddle on the ground and during inspection I found the radiator overflow tank empty. The I took it to Ford and they told me the radiator core was cracked. Vehicle no longer covered under warranty and dealer would not provide any after warranty assistance with repair. After checking with a couple auto parts stores, I was told the 06 Explorer has a defect with the radiator that causes it to crack. Napa for one, would only offer me a three month warranty on a new radiator due to the defect in the radiator design for that vehicle. I called Ford and they would not provide any assistance either and would not acknowledge their was a problem with the radiator design on the 2006 Ford Explorer. Quote from Ford dealer to replace radiator was $690.

- Huntley, IL, USA

problem #7

Oct 242008


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the radiator was defective and leaking fluid. The dealer stated that the radiator needed to be replaced; however, they refuse to acknowledge it as a major issue that is affecting all the Ford Explorer vehicles. The failure and current mileages were 47,000.

- Alexandria, KY, USA

problem #6

Aug 282008


  • 15,000 miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer jerks and jolts extremely hard while coming to a stop. The first time I took it in for the warranty repair they reprogrammed the computer which seemed to help for a few months. Today I returned for the same problem only it is three times as bad as before. They told me at first it was the drivers fault. Then they came back and said it was normal operation. My neck is very sore from all the jerking and jolting it has received from this car. In fact my neck is burning right now from pain.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #5

Sep 072007


  • 18,794 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving and would completely shut off. There were no warning lights illuminated prior to the failure. The most recent occurrence took place while driving approximately 30 mph. The vehicle took approximately 3-5 minutes to restart. The vehicle was taken to the dealer six times, but the failure could not be duplicated. A diagnostic was performed and no error codes were found. The current mileage was 26,090 and failure mileage was 18,794.

- Kings Park, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 162007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle lunged forward when the brake pedal was depressed. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle sporadically stalled and the engine warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure. They also did not find any error codes when a diagnostic was performed. The failure still persists and she is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The purchase date, transmission type, powertrain, fuel system, and fuel type were unknown. The failure mileage was 25,000 and current mileage was 48,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #3

Mar 012008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,700 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle would completely shut off. Afterwards, the instrument panel and check engine lights flashed one time. The contact allowed the vehicle to coast to a stop and then restarted the vehicle. The contact drove to the dealer and they found no failures. A diagnostic was performed in an attempt to find an error code for the failure. The contact believed that the vehicle was completely unsafe to drive. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 61,000 and failure mileage was 60,700. Updated 4/16/08 updated

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #2

Oct 222007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
We have taken our 2006 Ford Explorer with just over 20,000 miles on it into the shop 3 times due to intermittent lose of power when starting out. The computer software has been reloaded 2 times. The last time I took it in I told the dealer to keep it until it was fixed. After 2 days they said they could find anything wrong but believed there was a problem. Ford then asked us to drive a unsafe car to trouble shoot it for them with a flight recorder hooked up to the computer. Ford care and the dealer are both not willing to call back and fix the car.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #1

Jun 152007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,980 miles
Engine compartment fire.

- Weston, MA, USA

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