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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,523 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

problem #4

May 092011


  • 95,789 miles


The wrench appeared on my dash, took it to aamco and they diagnosed it as the torque converter was bad. This is a 2006 Explorer with 96,000 miles. I had the torque converter replaced and wrench still on.

- Chesapeake , VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 092010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 45,304 miles
9/9/10 Ford replaced gear shift circuit board. Shortly after there was a 2 second delay in reverse and a jerk. Ford replaced the solenoid pack in transmission at my expense. Ford Explorer eb at 45,304 miles.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #2

Jun 082006


  • miles
Problem with shifting gears from park, can take up to one minute in cases. This happens on a daily basis. I took vehicle to al long Ford, they kept my car for three weeks working on the problem. After I got my car back, the same problem existed.

- Inkster, MI, USA

problem #1

Jan 172006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
When trying to move the gear shift from park to any gear after being parked for any amount of time; the gear shift safety lever will not engage allowing me to change gears.

- Apo, AE, USA

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