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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,067 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 012015


  • 105,000 miles


While parked, looking from front of vehicle, I observed a metal part hanging down on front right underside next to inside of tire. An ase mechanic friend saw it & knew that it was a corroded steering stabilizer link (long bolt w/ grommets). He reached under the vehicle and easily pulled it down. He said it is a common problem on many types of vehicles and replacement part of slightly different design is $10-20 & easily installed. I called metro Ford madison, wi who advised there was no recall on this part and would cost $200 to install a new one plus replace the other side but no wheel alignment is needed. I decided to buy 2 new links (moog brand) that are a heavier design and my son & I installed them. There is now much less body roll especially notice when in round-A-bouts where previously was difficult to remain in only one of the 2 circular lanes.

- Marshall, WI, USA

problem #5

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 #4

May 132014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
I was in the process of parking my 2006 Ford Explorer XLT, pulling very slowly into my parking spot, when the engine started roaring, it lunged, hit a parking curb and then thrust into a concrete pillar in a parking garage. The airbag deployed and engine died. My vehicle was totaled! I received burns from the air bag chemicals on both of my hands. I'm still shaken up about it. Neck is sore and lower back hurts.

- Denham Springs, LA, USA

problem #3

Jul 172013


  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated after starting the vehicle, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis where the contact was informed that due to severe corrosion of the lower intermediate shaft, the component would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileage was 35,000. Updated 11/30/13

- North Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #2

Nov 012011


  • 97,500 miles
Engine stalls. Whenever it feels like it, hot or cold, slowing down to stop, turning left or right, on the street roads and freeways. Starts and go again after 5/10 minutes but this is ridiculous. I paid so much money and time for diagnostic and parts already and yesterday was the worst. My 2006 Ford Explorer stalled in the middle of the freeway. Date: Nov 1, 2011, time:1550, and my wife was driving, when she's not happy, nobody's happy....she almost got ran over as she open her door, she could not go anywhere but wait for time to either cool off or reset on the engine.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 092005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles
My Ford Explorer XLT 2006 had a delayed delivery date to me for 2 days due to a "bad cluster" on start up. The truck was repaired and I picked it up on November 1, 2005. This vehicle is leased. There was a recall for the windshield wipers which I had repaired on December 8, 2005. On December 9, 2005 while I was driving with my two young children in the truck I pulled out of a parallel parking space and the steering wheel began to feel very tight and it was grinding when steering slightly left or right of the center and then it would free up again making the truck easy to oversteer. As I drove the tightness would go away until I slowed down and then it would get tight again. Also the grinding on turns either left or right remained. I got to a safe place and called my purchasing dealer burns Ford 359 West jericho tpke, huntington, NY 11743. They advised me not to drive the truck and call Ford roadside assistance. I did and they towed the truck to burns Ford. They called me later in the day to tell me that Ford advised them that there is a problem with the truck and parts will not be available until the 1st quarter of 2006. The following is the notice: 18962 2006 Explorer 4dr /Mercury Mountaineer-intermediate (1) shaft pop/clunk noise. Some 2006 Explorer 4dr and Mountaineer vehicles may exhibit a creak/pop heard and felt through the steering wheel, usually noticed at stationary of low-speed turns while accelerating and braking. If diagnosis finds that this may be due to intermediate shaft having stick-slip condition, do not replace the 1 shaft at this time. This is currently under investigation by engineering. A revised component is due first quarter 2006. Monitor oasis for updates. Effective date: 12/1/2005. Right now my truck is still at the dealer. I do not feel comfortable driving it and I need to rent a car. Please advise thank you, laura masiakos.

- Plainview, NY, USA

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