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:
92,696 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #9

Oct 192016


  • miles


The vehicle's transmission propels forward at low speeds while braking. Even though the brake is applied the vehicles to propels forward and can cause an accident or worse. When trying get to stop at a stop sign or red light you have to try and stop well ahead then you normally would to try and get it to propel before reaching out the pedestrian walk area. My fear trying ge to stop coming off a highway off ramp with a pedestrian crossing or trying to stop abruptly I. a residential area with a child running across the street after a ball.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #8

Apr 112016


  • 106,000 miles
We recently bought our truck in March 2016 and since about April of 2016 the truck continuously shuts off, in traffic, on the highway, on residential roads..pretty much any and every where, it happens while driving and while idling. All power is lost including power steering. Sometimes it will shut off 2/3 times in a 5-10 minute span will driving. It has cut off on me twice while driving through intersections while I had my children in the car with me almost resulting in accidents both times. Sometimes while driving it loses power then suddenly regains power back and will continue to drive. This is an all round dangerous and potentially deadly situation! after doing some research it seems as if this is a very common problem with these vehicles. I've contacted Ford myself and so far they haven't issued a recall and are aware of this situation. Please help!!

- Deptford, NJ, USA

problem #7

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 #6

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 #5

Jan 212016


  • 158,000 miles
I have replaced the radiator 2 times and getting ready to replace for the 3rd time. This is my 1st Ford vehicle and if this continues it will be my last. I have found this is a common problem with the 2006 Ford Explorer and something needs to be done about it. A recall. Ford stand by your vehicle. It leaks transmission fluid at the radiator and the only way to fix is replace the radiator. All 3 times it leaks at the same place. My mechanic says there is no stabilization for this hose so in a short time it breaks and starts the leak. Fix your problem Ford.

- Arena, WI, USA

problem #4

Nov 242015


  • 162,813 miles
Vehicle went to shop to fix ABS light. The following morning before shop opened up, the vehicle caught on fire (while stationary and not running) burning completely. The fire caused considerable damage to the shop and another vehicle that was in the adjacent bay. Fire department determined fire started on its own and cited similar incidents for Ford Explorer.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #3

Dec 222012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 93,000 miles


This vehicle has been jerking when I am going slow to the point as if someone hit me in the rear end of the vehicle. It is a very strong jerking sensation enough to frighten any reasonable individual. It also has been trying to accelerate when my foot was on the brake pedal and not in cruise control while going well below the minimum speed necessary to use the cruise control. The auto acceleration was while at 10 miles per hour or less and my foot was on the brake. This has become more and more frequent and I am worried it could be the computer, the transmission, the engine, or a control system not functioning properly. This has happened on multiple occasions with passengers in the vehicle. My parents were frightened when it happened. I am worried the thing may accelerate on its own and hurt another vehicle(s) or its passengers. There hasn't be a fire or crash yet but it is my fear that will happen unless this safety issue is meaningfully addressed. I already had certified auto repair of rockville md look at the vehicle and they told me they couldn't find anything wrong following a computer diagnostic. The jerking and auto acceleration are becoming more and more frequent and I am reporting this because I am concerned about the safety of my vehicle and others on the road. Also, there are heavy virbations occuring during the idling process and I am not a mechanic but this may have something to do with the safety concerns on the vehicle.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Nov 272009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
The radiator was leaking on my Explorer and Ford refused to fix it, eventhough it was still under warranty. I see that there are many complaints on the 2006 Ford Explorer for the radiator leaking.

- Westfield, NJ, USA

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