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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
79,800 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #8

Sep 162015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


We have a very nice Ford 2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer with a 4.6 litre 8 cyl. engine. It started to miss when riding above city speeds. I am an 83 year old Army veteran with many driving years. In a case like this it is a need for changing spark plugs and even a tune up. I was amazed to find out that I could not do the change myself. More amazing was the price from the Dealer Service. The plugs cannot be changed by anyone without breakage of the plugs.

These plugs are made in 2 parts and will separate leaving one half in the engine. Only Ford service has the tool to remove this half. I was given a quote from a Dealer for $941 to change my plugs. With that price there was no guaranty that if the plugs break the price is inclusive. I would be charged way more for any broken plug. If we agreed the replacement could go as high as $2000.

I am a Mechanical Engineer and did all the research for removing these plugs, This was including Fords information on removal. I did all the things required for success. I soaked the plug bases with Blaster to loosen the threads. The car was soaked for 3 days not just for a few hours as directed.

Our vehicle has 61,000 miles and not the 100,000 before removing that Ford suggested. I used no force on the removal of the plugs. When the threads came loose after back and forth I removed 3 plugs in one piece. Using the same method 2 more plugs came out broken. The other half is still inside the heads.

I will sum this up by telling anyone that there is not a way to remove those plugs without breakage. This is a Mechanical mistake by Ford and their is a class action law suit involving this problem. I have been a Ford owner all my life and am really surprised by Fords attitude in this respect.

- fredhencken, Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #7

May 072013

Explorer 4.6L 3v

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

4 L/S spark plugs came right out following Fords TSB on 3 Valve spark replacement. All 4 R/S spark plugs broke. This tied the car up in the driveway waiting for the Lyle tool to arrive from One broken plug would still not come out. The Explorer had to be taken to Coggins Deland Ford in Deland, Fl to have the plug removed. Coggins Tech had to grind down his own Lyle tool to insert it deeper into the broken plug and remove it.

- bossguy, Hyde Park, NY, US

problem #6

Aug 172015

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

This PROBLEM first occurred in April of 2015. I'm driving and then out of nowhere the car just stalls lights turn on (2 red lights...looks like an oil can and the battery light & 1 yellow light the engine light). It did it 2 times in one day. Very scary as I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old.

Anyways, I took it to Park Citys Ford and of course they felt confident that this wouldn't happen again after they changed the gasket and other crap totaling at almost $900. I dished out the $ because he was so sure that was the problem. Well then not even 2 weeks later it did it again.

Called up Park Citys they drove it around and said there was no problem, no codes everything looked fine. Well yeah, so it wasn't fixed and he didn't know what to tell me. I am beyond pissed because it continues to do this yet they have no record of this happening and don't know what to do. I'm like really you got to be kidding me. NO SOLUTION. It has happened around 11 times since the initial April 2015 episode. I just hope it lasts till I can trade it in for a new car at the end of this year!!!! UGH

- Sydney E., Dallas, TX, USA

problem #5

Jun 262014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 183,400 miles


Just would like to know if anyone has had a similar problem where the engine at startup seems to rough idle (shake) - check engine light has come on but doesn't indicate what the issue is.

Would like to know what the issue is and best way to cost effectively repair it.

- c$cashrollers, Nashville, TN, USA

problem #4

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,500 miles

Running rough. i never will buy a ford again i a piece of sh*t and even ford dealers donot know how fix it bull sh*t

- vbarraza, Denver, CO, USA

problem #3

Jul 082010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

This just started a couple of months ago and has happened almost every other day. I've had it to 3 different shops and nothing can be found. the dealer says there are no codes but the charging system light comes on every time it dies. I'm hoping for information to help me fix the ford

- Jean H., Washington, IL, USA

problem #2

Jan 012006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 400 miles

We purchased a 2006 Ford Explorer a few years ago and ever since we go it, we have been having issues with the Wrench light coming on. When this light turns on the car starts jerking and we cant step on the gas any more because the car hesitates to go. We have to pull over turn the car off, wait a while then turn it back on and the car is ok again, but the engine light stays on sometimes for a few hours and sometimes for a few days. When we 1st had the problem we took it back to the dealer and they said nothing was wrong. we took it back a few more times and they kept telling us the same thing. Well that dealer closed, we took it to other Ford Dealers and they would tell us the same thing, there is nothing wrong with the car. Well at 1st it would happen like once ever 2 to three weeks, then it would do it like once a day, well now it does it EVERYDAY more than once a day.

Two days ago I was on the freeway going 70 miles an hour it happened to me. I always have my 8 year old daughter with me so Im usually on carpool. Well when this happened I had to get out of car pool crossing the yellow lines just so that I can get to the the other side to pull over, and i cant step on the gas. So I turned the car off, waited a while and then turned it back on and continued. Then it happened again not 2 times, 6 times total that day while traffic is moving at 70 miles an hour, we almost crashed.

I am tired of taking it to the dealer just for them to say nothing is wrong. I emailed Ford Corporate and all they can say is take it and have it diagnosed. I told them we have done that many times and they tell us the same thing. I got mad so I called to speak to a manager, which was no help. She said for me to have it diagnosed again. I asked if they are going to pay for the diagnostics this time and she said no. I told her if they found something wrong with the car, is Ford going to have it fixed and she said no. We have to pay for it. Its upsetting because this is an issue the car came with, not something that happened over time. We don't want to get in an accident having to pull over on the side of the freeway every few miles. Its ridiculous.

- Angela A., Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The Ford dealer said they couldn't 'find' anything wrong when we took it in for service.

If this problem (the wrench and engine light coming on & running rough) is posted all over the internet - shouldn't Ford be aware of it and doing a RECALL????

If you stop your vehicle - turn it off - restart it - the wrench light goes away and the truck runs fine. As soon as the wrench light comes on it jolts & jerks until you stop the vehicle and turn it off the engine light just stays on!

Took it back in to the Swope Ford this morning for the second time - waiting for their response.

Thanks for informing other Ford owners of this problem!

- Barbara F., Elizabethtown, KY, USA

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