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:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,558 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #94

May 192010

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 97,000 miles


My 2006 Ford Explorer V8 has a hard jolt when it downshifts coming to a stop. This happens every time and feels like I have just been rear ended. After reading about many complaints online about this same issue with other 2006 Ford Explorer I replaced the throttle position sensor. This did not correct the problem and my mechanic says to try an computer update for the transmission's will give that a try next but I feel that this should be a Ford recall as there are many complaints about this problem online for the 2006 model that drop way down for the 2007 model. My mechanic says he has seen many problems with this model year also. It appears Ford fixed the problem for the 2007 model year and they should fix the problem for the owners that had already purchased the 2006 model.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #93

Oct 062010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
My 2006 Explorer at 58,000 miles the transmission had to be overhauled as there was slipping when shifting. Ever since the power train light keeps coming on and off. When the light comes on there is a jerking that occurs. Ever since I purchased the vehicle I have had nothing but troubles with the power tran. Ford needs to perform a recall. About ever 38 miles the power train light comes on then off again.

- Newark, NY, USA

problem #92

Oct 042010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I have a 2006 Ford Explorer and it has almost 60,000 miles. The car has been jerking very hard while shifting between gears. This has been going on for the past month. We took it to our local Ford dealer who we have had service our cars for many years. Upon diagnosis, they told us that we needed a new transmission. To repair the broken parts, they stated it would cost more to repair it versus getting a whole new transmission. Both the car dealer and we were very surprised a car this new and with low miles needed a whole new transmission. We research the internet to see if others have had the same issues. We found this seems to be a very common repair for the 2006 Explorer. Here is one of the websites that discusses this specific repair....

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #91

Feb 232010


  • miles


Vehicle shifts hard and jerks when shifting from park to reverse/drive to drive. Multiple sites on the internet reveal the same or similar complaints from hundreds of owners driving the 2006 Ford Explorer. Dealer requested Ford assist with the repair of my Explorer and as in many other cases, Ford has refused. This model year Explorer obviously has multiple manufacturing defects. These defects need to be recalled and repaired at Ford's expense.

- Madera, CA, USA

problem #90

Aug 142010


  • 40,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer place the vehicle in reverse a very hard jerk is felt. Today driving to work and felt as if I lost power and then just as suddenly regained power and the warning light came on for powertrain issue.

- Four Oaks, NC, USA

problem #89

Jul 062010


  • 40,000 miles
2006 Explorer automatic transmission shifts hard into gear, has difficulty shifting between gears. This has been a periodic problem for several months.

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #88

May 182010


  • 55,000 miles


A tone ring sensor in my 2006 Ford Explorer ABS/traction control system broke. It caused the traction control and brakes to go haywire. They began to grab and lock my brakes when I was moving causing erratic driving. When I went to stop, my brakes did not work properly. The traction control lights, ABS, and system lights all came on.

- Kiel, WI, USA

problem #87

Jun 292010


  • 54,172 miles
Vehicle transmission stays stuck in park. After having the shifter assembly replaced twice on warranty, the problem has come back yet again. Now not only do we have to wrestle with the shifter to get it into gear, it now lunges violently when shifting into reverse or drive. The dealership refused to repair under customer satisfaction program #09B11 saying our VIN was not part of that recall.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #86

Jan 012009


  • miles
The transmission in my 2006 Ford Explorer is a safety issue. Shifting from reverse to drive can take from 1 to 10 seconds to shift into gear. I am surprised I have not been in an accident from this defect. There are times when it shifts into gear that it gets stuck in a higher gear which affects acceleration from a dead stop. The only solution is to power down the vehicle and restart it. The transmission also lurches on stops, making it feel as if you have been rear-ended. I cannot believe that nobody has forced Ford to recall these transmissions. I cannot believe that owners safety can be placed in this amount of danger and still not have a recall.

- Buchanan, MI, USA

problem #85

May 142010


  • miles
I bought a 2006 Explorer and have had numerous issues.the first major issue was when my car would occasionally stall or die out. I brought the car in and was told they couldn't find anything wrong. I brought it back again because it stalled on the hwy while I was doing 65 mph and the car died. I was unable to pull off to the side because the car would not steer. I got the car to the dealer and was told it was my radiator. They fixed this but I explained a month later that the car was still stalling along with accelerating on its own and the volume on the radio would go up also on its own. They were unable to find a resolution. I tried to trade the car in and was told no. I cried and explained my safety concerns for my children but they do not care. Finally the car was not any better but started to stall more often and even began to lurch forward almost causing me numerous accidents. The last time it stalled was on the railroad tracks which was so devastating to me and my children. I brought the car in and was told after an 1 hour and a half they couldn't find anything wrong. I refused to leave and suggested they keep looking because the car is not safe. The came back after another hour and told me that they called Ford and they suggested a part to replace but couldn't guarantee it because they are not sure that would work. I said not to keep looking. After 3 hours at the dealer they had to bring me home and drive my car around with a computer attached. They called and said after driving the car for 57 miles it died on them and they could barely get it back to the dealer. They said it was the throttle body and it would cost est 448 and charged me 100 dollars for them looking at it. Why should I pay for something that could have been fixed under warranty if they would have listened to my concerns? Ford is now putting my children at risk of possibly getting injured in an accident. I can no longer drive the car because it now stalls every two minutes ever since the dealer.

- New Lenox, IL, USA

problem #84

Apr 142010

(reported on)

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2006 Ford Explorer with a defective gear shift. Consumer states that the repair work was made for the recall. Then was further advised that this repair would not fix defect and consumer would be responsible for paying for the repair. The consumer stated the vehicle was a part of a customer satisfaction program. The program was to repair the transmission gear shift lever from getting stuck in the park position, by replacing the gear shift lever circuit board free of charge. Prior to notification, the consumer noticed the gear shift would periodically and temporarily become stuck in park. The consumer had the repair performed. The first circuit board replacement did not fix the defect. So a second circuit board was installed and seemed to fix the problem. However, a month later, the gear shift lever became stuck in park several times. The consumer contacted the dealer, and was informed the repair would not be covered. The consumer was informed other parts within the gear shift would need to be replaced. The consumer was informed the repairs were outside the limits of the recall.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #83

Mar 262010


  • 16,000 miles
Have a 2006 Ford Explorer limited V8. When in stop & go traffic car lunges sometimes lunging so hard felt as though I was rear ended. Bought the car in Dec 2008 had only 16,000 miles and was certified pre-owned (although don't think the dealer did anything to the vehicle). About 1 month after purchasing vehicle had to bring it in because change oil light went on. The person I called said they couldn't find the record in the computer. Only when I went in and let them know it was cpo & oil was suppose to have been changed and I didn't think it was done. The service person left the front desk for about 15 min and came back only to find the records in their system. At that time I complained about the lunging & jerking and was told it was because I was not used to the 4 wheel drive that kicks in automatically. Once spring came had the same problem and called the service dept at the dealer I purchased the car from I was told unless it does this all the time it would be a waste of my money to bring it in for service. As of today's date it is still doing the same thing and I have become aware of so many other people with the exact same problem, why is Ford not fixing the problem. This is a safety issue. More than once I have almost rear ended the vehicle in front of me luckily I had my foot on the brake. Hopefully Ford will do the right thing and do a recall. I am sure they are aware of the problem !

- Shelton, CT, USA

problem #82

Apr 102010


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle was purchased in February 2010. When placing the transmission in reverse, the vehicle lunges backward very violently. The problem occurs intermittently and without warning. The vehicle was taken to a transmission shop 4/10/2010 and there are pieces of the clutches sitting on the bottom of the transmission pan. The transmission now requires a complete rebuild. The previous owner told us that the vehicle had just gone to a Ford dealer for a recall repair on the shift lever and there was nothing said about the lunging.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #81

Mar 222010


  • 60,460 miles
Just recently noticed my 06 Ford Explorer having unexpected engine surges. Went to stop at an intersection and it felt like the vehicle was fighting me to stop. When the light turned green I gave it a little gas however the vehicle begin to maintain that speed like I had the cruise control on. I purposely did not give the vehicle any gas and saw that it just kept accelerating. Finally after breaking out I began to brake and again felt the vehicle accelerating. Since no one was in front of me I wanted to see what the vehicle did if I gave it a little gas in which it made a popping sound and did not respond when I gave it more gas but the engine still was running. I pulled over and put the vehicle in park. I tried to rev the engine but it did not respond. A wrench light came on during this process. I turned the vehicle off then on again in which it seemed there was nothing wrong. As I drove home it did fine except when stopped at the same intersection it died. I started it again and had no problems and I did make it home. After some research I found multiple similar problems like this with this vehicle however no recalls have been issued. I have an 8 year old son and do not feel comfortable driving this vehicle. At this time we cannot afford to get this fixed. What are my options at this point other than making a complaint? please help! I'm a hard working american that likes to buy vehicles made in the usa however we as a nation need to help out with these issues so we all can continue to support american car purchases. Thanks

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #80

Mar 102010

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I was driving my 2006 V8 Explorer at 40mph using cruise control when the truck stalled. This happened once before in 2009, not sure if I was using cruise control at that time. Not sure what to do.

- Haymarket, VA, USA

problem #79

Sep 082009


  • 54,877 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact took the vehicle to the manufacturer to have recall; number 09D11 (automatic transmission; operation) repaired; however, the remedy repair was insufficient and failed to address the gear shifter safety defect. The contact notified an authorized dealer regarding the malfunction and scheduled an appointment to have the vehicle repaired. The current and failure mileages were 54,877.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #78

Sep 132009


  • 54,730 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that since the vehicle was purchased the air conditioner has malfunctioned. The gear shift also moved out of park own its own. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer confirmed that there was a recall associated with her VIN for the gear shift and made the necessary repairs. Whenever the vehicle shifts gears on its own it would lunge forward and a metal odor was within the vehicle. The dealer informed the contact that the transmission needed to be replaced. The contact stated also stated that the vehicle was very unsafe to drive. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 54,730.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #77

Feb 242010


  • 50,000 miles
We bought a 2006 Ford Explorer new in 2006. After three years and 50,000 miles the transmission started shifting very hard from park to reverse to drive. Now, at 61,000 miles, the transmission is not responding when pressing the throttle while car is already in motion. If you let your foot off of the throttle and then press the throttle again the engine just revs up for several seconds before shifting into gear. Very dangerous when merging on or off the interstate. Ford dealership says it needs a new transmission.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #76

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 #75

Jan 072008


  • 23,519 miles
When coming to a stop the transmission will bang into gear and it feels like you are getting hit from behind. Also have had bucking and the transmission shifts up and down and slips. Was told the bucking and slipping is due to a lean reading in the computer. Told to change spark plugs. Took it to a mechanic and three of the eight plugs broke off as they were trying to take them out. The spark pug are made by motorcraft which is Ford. They had to buy a kit to extract them and it cost an additional $300 to change eight plugs which I had already purchased at a cost of $68. It didn't fix the erratic shifting at first. Still shifts very hard from 1st to second and acted up shortly after getting it back.

- Cape Coral , FL, USA

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