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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Jun 012009


  • 50,000 miles


2006 Ford Explorer sporadically does not speed up when you hit the accelerator. Ford apparently knows about this issue and has a software fix in place that you must proactively contact them other words, you have to have the problem on the road and call them before they will do anything about it. It occurs everytime we drive the car, however, it is not consistent when it occurs or how times it happens the entire time the car is being driven. The consequences are that you can be driving 10mph or 70mph and when you hit the accelerator, the car engine will rev up much like you were sitting in neutral (I.e. it does not speed up) and after a few seconds will kick into gear/engage and start speeding up. This seems very dangerous if you were not expecting this to occur and were trying to pass a car with possible oncoming traffic. This issue should require Ford to recall the vehicles before somebody gets injured, if they have not already been.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #53

Jul 112009


  • 50,000 miles
Bought a 2006 Explorer in Dec. 06 and have since noticed several problems with it. The most concerning is when the car lunges/jerks forward when shifting from park/reverse to drive. It is now also starting to show a loss of power when shifting through gears as the engine revs but goes no where. I have taken it to the dealer for the lungin/jerking and they told me they could not feel it. It happens sporadically so this does not surprise me. I have recently been noticing this revving and loss of power when shifting gears (it's an automatic). I have taken it to two mechanics both of with agreed that the revving noise is coming from the fan clutch, not sure what this is, but could not diagnose the loss of power. I'm sure that this a transmission problem, after reading the hundreds of complaints on it appears at this time that the only thing that has been offered to the customer like me, is reprogram the computer which runs $150. This reprogram seems to help only sometimes. The alternative would be to replace the entire transmission which is very costly and funding is not easy to come by these days.

- O'fallon, MO, USA

problem #52

Jun 052009


  • 56,600 miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer feels like its being rear ended. I didn't start feeling this until I drove off the dealership lot with my newly purchased vehicle. I've taken it back two times to dealership to be fixed.

- Port Hueneme, CA, USA

problem #51

Jul 012009


  • 82,000 miles


Car shifts hard from 2nd to 1st gear, a hard jolt like somebody has hit you in the rear end.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #50

Mar 152009


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that whenever the vehicle was shifted into reverse, it would jolt back extremely hard. The failure almost caused the contact to sustain a whiplash. The failure occurred nearly every time she shifted into reverse. The dealer stated that the automatic transmission needed to be reprogrammed. She planned to the vehicle repaired in the latter part of June 2009. The manufacturer advised her to call NHTSA and file a complaint. The current mileage was 78,244 and failure mileage was approximately 75,000.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #49

Mar 072009


  • 50,000 miles
I took my wife's Explorer to the dealership and described the issue with the vehicle popping into gear late, or delaying before it goes into gear. I can even feel it when it changes gears when driving. Sometimes more sudden than other times. They said they knew exactly what it they kept my car for 6 hours to tell me that I owed them $89 for telling me what's wrong, and then told me its $1,300 to fix it. They said sorry about your luck, no recall yet, so you have to pay for it yourself. I would be happy to pursue this further... this is dangerous, and should be addressed by Ford before people are hurt.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #48

May 192007


  • 40,000 miles


My Ford 2006 Explorer limited jolts almost every time I come to a stop. I have taken it to the dealer to get reprogrammed, but the problem still exist. The valve box in this particular vehicle is defective and needs to be repaired under a recall.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #47

Jan 012009


  • 28,000 miles
2006 Ford Explorer. Transmission will not stay engaged. Driving along (happens at all speeds) and car slips out of gear (as though it is in neutral). Engine will "rev" when the pedal is pressed but the gear will not re-engage for 30 seconds or so. At highway speeds this is incredibly dangerous! I have coasted off the road, while dodging traffic on approximately 50 occasions. The dealership has attempted to repair it 7 times and has been unsuccessful. Vehicle is unsafe to drive.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #46

Feb 192009


  • 0 miles
The transmission on my Ford Explorer jerk the car forward when the truck is stopped. Feels as if someone hit the back of the truck after it is stopped. This occurs almost everytime the truck is stopped. I have taken it to the Ford dealer multiple times. Each time the act as if they have never heard of such a problem. The tell me they will reprogram the transmission. This does not solve problem. They told me there is nothing else they can do. The Ford dealer told me that this is the way it was designed and as of today will not take any action to correct the problem, as they state there is nothing they can do.

- Firestoen, CO, USA

problem #45

Feb 232008


  • 32,100 miles
While in park vehicle rolled backwards down incline almost striking person at bottom of driveway luckily he jumped out of the way and it struck side of his truck causing damage, driveway had been snow covered but cleared down to asphalt, had been parked approximately 10-15 minutes prior to this happening. This has since occurred multiple times in varying weather conditions, including rainy, snowy, and sunny with dry pavement. The vehicle has rolled forward and back, with and without the parking brake set, which the parking brake it takes longer and rolls slower; each time there after striking vehicle parked closely as a precaution, wheels get chocked now when parked on incline to prevent SUV from rolling. Ford has checked multiple times and not found any issues and fixed or replaced nothing saying it is because of the rear differential not a containing limited slip gearing.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #44

Jun 012006


  • 45,000 miles


Shift handle frequently "sticks" in the park position. Manual disabling of the shift interlock mechanism was required to allow engagement of the transmission. The interlock disabling process was performed successfully in each instance (as described in the owner's manual). In each case, the driver who experienced the failure was unable to successfully execute the process and required the assistance of another family member who was called to the scene.

- Issaquah, WA, USA

problem #43

Jun 152006


  • miles
The shift handle frequently is "stuck" when attempting to shift into gear from the park position.

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #42

Nov 152008


  • 64,000 miles
Failure #1--gear shift selector very difficult to move from park; dealer said Ford redesigned, but not covered by them. Failure #2--leak in seam of radiator (between plastic & aluminum). Again, not covered by Ford or by extended warranty.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #41

Oct 152008


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was purchased with 10,000 miles. When the vehicle comes to a complete stop, there is a kick in the transmission as if the vehicle had been rear ended. The contact has taken the vehicle to the dealer three times for repair. They reprogrammed the computer for the timing in the transmission; however, the failure persisted. The dealer blamed the contact's driving as the reason for the failure. The failure worsens in cold weather. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #40

Jul 182008


  • 12,600 miles
My 06 Explorer has been lurching extremely hard from 1st to 2nd and vice versa. It's to the point that when stopping, I am coming literally within an inch of hitting another car. The SUV stops and then lurches forward. I am seriously concerned about the safety of my family and the safety of others while driving my SUV. The website shows there are 73 other complaints about the same exact problem with the 2006 Explorer models. Ford is not taking any procedures into getting the vehicles recalled. I don't feel safe driving my truck; I don't understand why there isn't a recall. The trucks are still considered very new and yet they are lurching and having a huge transmission problem. When I took my truck to the Ford dealer, they told me there is no problem, everything is was fine! something has got to be done to get these trucks off the road. We are driving hazards just waiting to cause an accident!! I feel that it will take another incident (like the Firestone tire one) before Ford will come out and do something!!! my truck is jolting worse than ever and I am seriously concerned.

- Lehi, UT, USA

problem #39

Nov 152007


  • 11,950 miles
My 2006 Ford Explorer has transmission problems that cause it to lunge forward when stopping which Ford says they are aware of but cannot seem to find the propper remedy for. This is a very dangerous malfunction that could cause me to run into other stopped vehicles. I have brought the truck in three times to get the problem fixed with no improvement with the condition.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #38

Oct 012007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
When the car stops, starts or drives slow... it jerks when changing gears from 1st through 3rd, both up- and down shifting. It has also started to slow (for no apparent reason) when driving at a steady speed on the highway (going around 65-70 miles an hour), I have had mullinax Ford look at the transmission 5 times now, and it is still there. Currently I am involved in a lemon law case trying to get Ford to buy my car back. They are stating that there is no significant problem with my transmission and at the same time saying that it is due to abuse or neglect on my part "??" I can only suggest that others take the same route - the more the better to get the attention of Ford to completely fix this problem. I also have had my compass worked on (did not show anything or just two lines), the gear shifter replaced (wouldn't shift out of 'P'), the rear window replaced (due to water leak) and the air conditioning system replaced as there was something bend "?". I also have experienced that when work has been done on the car the breaks worked differently afterwards. In my opinion the 2006 Ford Explorer is a lemon.

- Apopka, FL, USA

problem #37

Apr 022007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
My 06 Explorer has been lurching extremely hard from 1st to 2nd and vice versa. Its to the point that when stopping I am coming literally within an inch of hitting another car B/C the car stops and then lurches forward. My car is also revving up for no reason at around 3000-4000 RPM when I don't even push on the gas, or barely tap it! I am seriously concerned about the safety of myself and the safety of others while driving my SUV. I came across this website today: and found that there were 66 other complaints about the same exact problem with the 2006 Explorer models. Ford is not taking any procedures into getting the vehicles recalled. I don't feel safe driving my truck, I don't understand why there isn't a recall. The trucks are still considered very new and yet they are lurching and having a huge transmission problem. When I took my truck to the Ford dealer in miami, fl they told me it was a brake problem and replaced my brakes, yet when I pulled out of the parking lot the problem was not fixed! that was in Nov 2007. I am now stationed in anchorage Alaska at elmendorf afb and have made an appt with the Ford dealer here on Monday. From what I have read there is no permanent fix out there for this problem, everything is temporary. Something has got to be done to get these trucks off the road. Obviously we are all driving hazards waiting to happen!! my truck is jolting worse than ever and I am seriously concerned.

- Eagle River, AK, USA

problem #36

Jun 292006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
Consumer complaint: ODI case number: 10185415 in follow-up to the above case, I have been reading the subsequent complaints and read with disgust that alot of those people writing now bought the 2006 Explorer as used. We were fortunate to have turned ours in under the lemon law for all of the same reasons listed in the other complaints but within a day or two of turning the vehicle in, there was a big colored picture of my Explorer in mathews currie Ford's used car ad. My problems were just being resold to some unsuspecting customer who thought they were getting a deal on a good low mileage car. It's is a shame that Ford is still allowed to sell those Explorer and they take no responsibility for selling defective vehicles.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #35

Jun 102006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
Hard jolts when stopping and when shifting gears. Taken to dealership 4 times, Ford Motor Co. Recommends keep driving it. Dealership states they can't fix it.

- Macon, GA, USA

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