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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,044 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #16

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 #15

Aug 092013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 81,846 miles
Issue. Hard jerks/clunks while shifting into reverse and them forward. Also feels as if your are being hit in bumper as you are stopping while transmission is down shifting. This seems to be an on going issue with so many 2006 Explorer, please look into a recall as this a defect with the Ford model. Also way too expensive for parts and labor! failure at mileage of 81,800. Too early to die with this mileage!

- Eagle River, WI, USA

problem #14

Jun 012012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the while refueling, fuel began to leak from the vehicle. The contact was unable to refuel the vehicle as gasoline overflowed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who replaced the fuel sending unit, sensors and tubes. The failure was not corrected and later recurred. The failure was reported to the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 70,000. The current mileage was 90,000. Updated 8/19/13 the consumer stated she has been two several dealers for the same problem. Updated 09/05/13

- Georgetown , OH, USA

problem #13

Jun 132013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 54,720 miles


Thee have been ongoing issues with the fuel system dating back to 2009 fuel system solenoid and vent. It has been repaired at least three to four times for the exact same repair and the same parts every time. The fuel system does not allow the gas tank to be filled at a normal rate. It takes as long as 45 seconds sometimes to put one (1) gallon of gas in the tank. It can take well over 10 minutes to fill the gas tank sometimes. I have tried to deal with customer service representatives at Ford and they have been of no assistance whatsoever.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #12

Jan 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
When attempting to add gasoline to the tank, gas shoots out of the tank at the nozzle area as if the tank is full. Gas must be added at an extremely slow rate in order to fill the tank. Even when adding gas to the tank at the extremely slow rate the pump will continue to kick off every few seconds.

- Bluff City, TN, USA

problem #11

Apr 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Having problems with fluid overflowing to the overflow tank, overheating and cylinder misfire readings.

- Sacramento , CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 212011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,100 miles


While driving the vehicle, the smell of antifreeze started coming into the car. My fiance' checked the radiator and overflow bottle and found out it was gas mixed with the antifreeze. My car's mileage is 80100. I do not believe the car should have this issue at only 5 years. This problem/complaint should be investigated and damages should be covered by the dealership or manufacturer.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #9

May 202011


  • miles
I own a 2006 Ford Explorer. The vehicle experience a failure on the fuel fill system in 2008. I was not able to put more than a gallon of gas in at a time, wait for awhile, add another gallon, etc as the fuel fill would act as though the tank was full. Took to a dealer and had it replaced based on tsb#07253. Experienced the same failure again now in 2011 and brought it back to the dealer and was told since it was more than 12 months since the original replacement I had to pay the deductible again to have the work done.

- Florence, WI, USA

problem #8

Feb 142011


  • miles
Fuel backs out when filling, can only get 2 or 3 gallons before fuel sprays out all over. Check engine lights.

- Grandview, TN, USA

problem #7

Mar 102011


  • miles
Vehicle will not accept fuel when filling up at pump. I took the car to the dealership and they said it was because of a dirty emission canister. The canister was replaced 03/18/2011 and the problem has returned 03/19/2011. I believe this to be a Ford problem and not mine. I was also told that it got dirty because of the heavy snow we received this past winter. I'm curious, don't they sell these cars up North where it snows heavy every year? hopefully this issue will be looked into soon.

- Hazel Green, AL, USA

problem #6

Mar 152009


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when attempting to add gasoline to the fuel tank, he noticed that the pump would shut off at ten cent intervals which made it difficult to add fuel in a timely manner. The failure occurred every time he added fuel to the vehicle. The canister and hose were repaired by a mechanic but the failure continued. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. The manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was approximately 110,000. The failure mileage was approximately 90,000.

- Tom's River, NJ, USA

problem #5

Feb 112010


  • 53,000 miles
Bought 2006 Explorer new. Around 14,000 miles engine problems started, have taken car in to Ford dealer where car was purchased about 7 times for basically same problem ~ engine light / car engine lunging. Mechanics did different things; replaced one defected part while under warranty, reset computer, but problem always came back. Sometimes happening before I made it home. Some times months later. Now they think maybe it could be the throttle body.

- Fox Island, WA, USA

problem #4

Oct 202009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I own a 2006 Ford Explorer XLT with a 4.0 V6. Recently I was filling up with gas and it began clicking off every 1/2 gallon. I eventually filled up after about 20 minutes. I tried again the next day, thinking it was the pump, same problem. Ended up taking apart the whole fuel line system looking for a clog. No such luck. Finally decided it must be the evap/charcoal canister. There is a tsb on this issue, so Ford obviously knows about it. But I had to wait for the part to come in, and had no other vehicle to drive, so I just continued filling up for 30 minutes just to get a full tank. The worst part was that you could hear the bubbling down the line, since the charcoal canister would not properly release pressure from the tank. Sometimes the gas would even come back out the fill hole and spray me with gas (a real safety issue). I ended up getting the part very cheap off of an junked Explorer. But the part from a dealer was over $400. Definitely a safety issue which needs to be addressed. Thank you.

- West Friendship, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 012009


  • 55,000 miles
The filling of gas in the vehicle is almost impossible- the gas shuts off every 2-3 gallons then spits gas back out all over the person trying to fill it. Resulting in gas being spilled out everywhere on the vehicle, the driver, the ground. This began happening every few times getting gas and now it is everytime. I looked this up online to find a tsb 07-25-3 problem accompanied by dtc P0451 saying this happens alot on Ford Explorer built before 11/27/07. I called the Ford dealer service department they said this happens all the time. That the evap canister and vapor line will have to be replaced. Why is this not a recall? it's not safe to have gas sprayed on you and the car and ground everytime you try to get gas. Thank you for your concern.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #2

Dec 222008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. In December of 2008, the contact attempted to fill the vehicle with fuel, but the fuel would come back out of the filler neck. It took approximately 15 minutes to place five gallons of fuel in the vehicle. The vehicle was driven to the dealer and they stated that they repaired the vehicle. When the contact attempted to fill the vehicle with fuel the same day, he continued to experience the same failure. The vehicle was driven to another dealer and they stated that the fresh air hose, which was connected to the fuel housing unit, was not allowing the fuel system to vent properly. The mechanic stated that the reservoir evap canister and the fuel vapor hose needed to be replaced in order for the vehicle to be repaired. The manufacturer stated that they were not liable for the repairs. The current mileage was 50,787 and failure mileage was 48,000. Updated 03-09-09 updated 03/13/09.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 082006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
: the contact stated after smelling gasoline inside and outside of the vehicle, the vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealership determined there was a fuel rail leak causing gasoline to spill out onto the engine.

- Bronx, NY, USA

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