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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
48,912 miles
Total Complaints:
235 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (147 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (44 reports)
  3. TSB from Ford reprogramming the transmission control (11 reports)
  4. replace transmission module (7 reports)
  5. reprogrammed the transmission (4 reports)
  6. solenoid assembly replaced (4 reports)
2006 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #215

Jul 222014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


I have an 06 ford explorer. It has 130,000 miles on it. When I get ready to put it in reverse, sometimes it doesn't want to go into reverse. the gearshift will not move. I have to really force it to go. also, when I'm backing up ,it's like I can't get the vehicle to move, if I push the gas pedal in more then it's like it wants to "ram" I guess the word is, back. and last thing.. I've noticed when I start it the engine goes up to 2-3 rpms while being goes back and forth for a few minutes....can you tell me what might be wrong with my ford. thanks

- , London, KY, USA

problem #214

Feb 112010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

At about 30k mile I started having problems when shifting from reverse to drive the rpms go higher then usual and when it goes into drive it makes a loud noise. it sounds like someone hitting it with a metal bat. I live on an ave. with a lot of traffic and I have to back out of my driveway every time I leave my house. I've been honked at a couple times because of this problem. I feel I've been robbed by buying this car.

- , Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #213

Feb 072013

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

At 135000 miles my 06 LX Explorer shifts really hard with a jerk when transitioning from 1st to 2nd gear. If feels like the back end is going to fall out. As a 1st time Ford owner -- this problem is so severe that I'll never buy another Ford product again. And Ford wonders why Toyota always out selling their products -- it's call: "Standing behind your product." When Toyota had any problems that got complaints about their product -- the looked out for their future customers to return to buy their product. Ford obviously don't have enough concern for the safety of their current customers let alone the return of their future customers. If they don't see this as a problem, me along with everyone person who has complained about this very same problem will not be a repeat customer for their product -- neither my grown children & grand children.

- , Hartsville, SC, US

problem #212

May 012013

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


I own a 2006 Ford Explorer and as so many other people, I am having a problem with the transmission slamming into gear. I found an article from the Detroit New printed in May 2006 that I thought was interesting. Did some of these transmission get put into vehicles? What do you think?

shifts production back into gear at seven plants after identifying transmission defect

By Eric Bryant RSS feed

Posted May 1st 2006 3:31PM

Ford was forced to halt production at seven assembly plants after finding a quality problem with a transmission component, but all seven plants affected by the stoppage should be up and running again today.

A supplied component, described as "a clutch mechanism that helps make the transmission shift smoothly between first and second gears" (sounds to us like the overrunning clutch), was found to be problematic, but the defect was caught before any suspect vehicles were delivered to customers. The supplier isn't being identified.

More than 4,000 units of light truck, van, and Lincoln Town Car production were lost, costing Ford somewhere in the neighborhood of $35M. The automaker says that making up for the stoppage won't be a problem, as they seem to have a bit of extra capacity to put towards the effort, and F-150 inventories are current running at about 107 days of sales.

[Source: Detroit News]

- , Davenport, FL, USA

problem #211

May 162014

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This was the day I was purchasing from a prior owner, they initially paid for it, then I bought it.

- , Walla Walla, WA, USA

problem #210

Apr 012013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Does not always happen. When I engage the transmission into reverse I always make sure to have my foot on the brake solidly. At times at least 3 times a week, it hard lunges into reverse. Very disturbing. Also lately will do the same if I engage into drive.

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #209

May 012014

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles


Bought my 2006 Ford Explorer in great condition (or so I thought) from a used car dealership in February 2012. When we first test drove the truck, we noticed a few shifting issues, but took it to a transmission shop (during the test drive) and they said everything was fine with the truck, nice looking truck and they would suggest to buy. So, we bought the truck from Kraft Nissan (go figure) dealership. Since it was a used vehicle there was no warranty.

A year later (2013), the truck started making all kinds of shifting noises, the engine light and the wrench light would light up on the dash every once in a while. So, we put it on a machine and it was throwing a misfire code (0300 or something like that). We replaced every spark plug and the ignition coils in the truck. The truck ran fine for about 6-8 months. Then the wrench light came back on. Then the wrench light went off. Then the engine light came on, and back off. The truck didn't seem sure of what it was doing when I was driving, but I couldn't afford to take it to a shop and my husband is a pretty good handy man so would check stuff here and there and the truck would always seem to fix itself...

It had a hard lunge anytime I was at a stop light (it would act like it was trying to go when I was stopped so I would put it in park, wait for the green light and put it back in drive so I didn't risk the chance of rear ending someone), it seemed if I pushed the gas pedal too hard it would act like it couldn't shift into the next gear correctly. It makes all kinds of loud banging noises and the tires would lose traction. So, in April 2014 we put it back on a machine and was throwing a code of U0101 - Lost communication with Transmission Control Module. We took it to a shop that had experience with "computer" issues with the Ford. They did a bunch of tests and sent the truck to a transmission shop. At this time, the engine light was on, the wrench light was on and the traction control light was on. We replaced the transmission value body and the Transmission Control Module. We got the truck back and it is still having the same issues.

We spoke with Ford who told us there was no way there was a 6-speed automatic BMW Transmission in our Ford Truck - we were right - we gave Ford the VIN for the truck and they came back and said "we are sorry, you are right it is a 6-speed auto transmission" (So basically FORD had no idea what transmission THEY put in the truck). Come to find out it is a Ford 6R Transmission which was only used in 2005 and 2006 Ford Explorer and it's obviously a piece of crap!

No one knows how to fix my truck! I have been without my truck for weeks and this is getting ridiculous. The truck has been to TWO transmission shops, a shop that has expertise in computer problems and another car shop. No one has answers for me. I can not get a rental car because my insurance will not cover rental unless I've been in a wreck. And now the transmission shop is talking about sending the truck to a Ford dealership and it could take a few months to diagnose and repair. Ain't nobody got time to be out of a ride for a FEW MONTHS!

Ford needs to recall their 2006 6R Transmissions...they know there is something wrong with them. There are HUNDREDS of complaints already out there and Ford is not listening to its customers. Basically, I am out of a ride and I still have to pay monthly payments for and keep insurance (because it's financed). Paying for something I can not even use and no one can tell me what is wrong or even how it can be fixed. I have always owned a Ford and I can promise this will be my LAST ONE!! With all these problems and Ford didn't even know what kind of transmission was in the truck is way too much for me to deal with. I don't know what we are going to do. I don't have the money to keep pouring into the truck for the repairs, but yet I can not trade it in because no one wants a broken truck!

- , Crawfordville, FL, USA

problem #208

Jun 232014

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I first noticed that when I pressed the gas, the car would hesitate and then jolt into gear. I first thought I had put some bad gas in the car because I went to a station I don't usually use. It then began to jolt into gear and hesitate every time I pressed the gas. Then it was all the time and it would darn near stall when I turned the corner.

I then got a powertrain indicator light on the dash board and took it to a local auto parts store to get a diagnostic test. When I cut off the engine, the powertrain light went off and did not come back on so nothing registered on the diagnostic test. About a week later, the light came on again and continued to go off when I turned off the engine. The car still continued to jolt and I could barely get it to drive more than 40 miles an hour. Then, unfortunately, on the way to my father's funeral, the powertrain light came on again, along with the check engine light and it stayed on. I took it to the shop that changes my oil and they did a diagnostic test which gave me a code of P0745, Pressure Control Solenoid Malfunction. I then called CarMax, where I have an extended warranty, to set up an appointment to get the car serviced. Their next appointment was not for three and a half weeks so I asked if I could have it serviced at a local Ford dealer and they said this was allowed under the warranty.

I got an appointed to bring it in within two days and they immediately told me it was a transmission problem. Now, the car only has 51,135 on it and I have had no problems with the car since I purchased it used in September of 2009. I was appalled to think that there would be transmission problems on a car with so little mileage. The dealer opened up the trans the next week and discovered the oil "looks" burnt and that I will need a new transmission. However, the warranty may not cover the replacement. I just lost my father, I have a special needs child, I need to prepare for back to school and now I am faced with having to get a new transmission and possibly a worthless warranty. The warranty company has implied that they may not cover the repair if I can't prove that I had the transmission flushed at 30,000 miles which is a "recommended" service. WTH!!!

- , Dolton, IL, USA

problem #207

Oct 032012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

THE jerking started gradually then when I punched it down to pass I thought for sure it would fall apart. Had bolts tightened but didn't help .HAPPENED MORE THEN ONCE. ford should admit the problem and help fix this. I hate to pass it on to someone else.

- , Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #206

Sep 032013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

VARIOUS STAGES OF THIS COMPLAINT. WHEN COLD, CAR SHIFTS INTO THIRD AND 4 TH ok. As car warms there is noticibly hard, LIKE THUMPING up-shifting and downshifting. If hard acceleration shifts smooth again. Been to a transmission place they found no problem with their code reader, thought the idle might be high. Went to my mechanic to check idle and found no codes wrong and idle at about 850 that they said was normal.

Possible solutions low fluid, condensate dripped on the master valve connecter at the side of the transmission for which there is a Ford repair kit that redlirects the water. Trying one more mechanic with these ideas and if it gets fixed '''great' if not it will be gone. Appreciate any ides.

Update from Dec 4, 2013: After talking to 3 transmission shops, Ford service advisor and 2 mechanics shops I was really confused, especially about what the repair was going to cost. I read the service and operations manual and came up with an option. When I read about the battery part it said that if the battery was disconnected or replaced thee ECM and TCM would have to RE-LEARN my driving habits. The directions it gave were to have all accessories off, run the car in Park for a minute and then run it for one minute with the A/C on. Drive the car ( it would take some miles to RE-Learn) for a while. The manual said shifting might be a bit harder but should adjust. So far I took the Explorer for a 10 mile ride on city streets, through 15mph school zones and on the expressway. It has RE-learned something and has operated NORMAL???? I will have to see what the new normal will be but for right now so good.

- , Reno, NV, USA

problem #205

Dec 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


My first and last Ford Explorer. The car is actually very beautiful but the fact that EVERYONE has problems with the transmission and Ford refuses to acknowledge the problem is crap! I have been a loyal Ford customer for 15 years and I will never buy a Ford again solely because of this. Seriously, trannys are not cheap to fix, and jolting into gear is not enjoyable or safe. At 50,000 miles, a well cared for car shouldn't have transmission problems! I swear I will sue Ford if this issue ever causes anyone injury. Thanks for nothing Ford, letting this issue slide has cost you HUNDREDS of future customers!

- , Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #204

Mar 022012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Ford has really let American auto supporters down. This was my 3rd and last Ford Explorer. 2006 XLT. I also had a 2002 Ford Explorer and it did the same thing. Hard jolts between shifting if it shifted at all. I just learned my mechanic and a licensed Ford mechanic that problem is that the AC drains right on the transmission instead of away from it. There are two cylinders where the wiring harness connects to the transmission. These are to prevent water from seeping into the transmission. All Ford had to do was run a small tube with an elbow from the ac drain away from the transmission. Even you if have replaced the transmission replaced the solenoid etc... this will happen again.

The water corrodes the wiring harness which prevents the wires from making a successful connection to the transmission causing it to misfire. Resulting in the hard jolts and shifting. The worst part of the problem is that FORD knows what the problem is and will not correct or recall this vehicle. I have replaced the wiring harness and it runs like new for now. I will trade it in before it starts shifting bad again.

- , Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #203

Jul 192013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,589 miles

I was driving my vehicle w/ my 3 children and my vehicle wouldn't shift into 3/4 gear my vehicle jolted and when I went to give more gas then it shifted hard and I was able to drive past 40 but when I come to a stop then I couldn't go passed 20 wouldn't shift into any other gear besides 2. This is a safety issue god for bid I got into an accident I can't imagine what would of happened. Every place I called or went to stated this is a known fact issue in the 2006 Ford Explorers and no one will address the issues!!!! Now as a single mom I have to find a way to come up w/ $2200 for this repair!!!! Grrr

- , Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #202

Mar 052012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I've been a loyal Ford customer for many many years and very disappointed that I have a problem with my vehicle and can't get help to get it fixed. I work hard to keep my vehicles in excellent condition, now I can't drive it.....

Driving and without warning on the highway the vehicle stalls, putting foot to the floor, not going nowhere, people looking wanting me to get out the way...but I can't. The truck when parked and trying to get it in reverse to get out the driveway is a job in itself, it jerks. I'm unhappy with this experience. And yeah I called Ford customer service to explain the problem,,she said "Do the best you can"......UH?

People tell me.."Oh what a beautiful SUV that is"..but if they only knew that the transmission sucks. I can't recommend this truck to nobody!! Ford you ought to be ashamed...Henry would. Make it right for your clients and they will remain loyal. If not, hello TOYOTA

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #201

Jul 112012

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

Very very upset with ford. I'm a student and finally could afford my dream truck, a ford explorer and what a disappointment. The truck still shifts good but when I go from park to reverse its awful. Feels like the transmission will fall. Mechanic says it will cost me at least 2000. Definitely can't afford it. And ford won't do nothing, I had always liked their SUVs but most likely won't buy another one. I guess next time I should do a research before buying a car. :-((

- , Atlanta, GA, US

problem #200

Jan 012010

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I am also a victim of the 2006 Ford Explorer transmission. This vehicle had 40,000 miles when it started 3 years ago. Its sporadic, sometimes no problem, sometimes annoying, sometimes it is scary. At its worse, shifting into reverse is delayed 2 to 5 seconds before a very harsh engagement. The speed the lever does not seem to impact this condition. It occurs about 30% of the time when regardless if the engine is cold or hot. This harsh engagement will spin the wheels and let out a loud squawk if on pavement. This engagement is very hard and feels like a minor collision.

With experience, we have learned to hold the breaks hard until it engages to avoid the tire spin and the car jumping. But the other day we gave everyone a scare when it didn't engage until after we let up on the breaks; by that time a mother and two kids had walked behind the car and everyone got good scare as the wheels spun and the car jumped about a foot towards them.

This problem also occurs going up thru the gears we will also experience a hard shift, as though someone hit the car with sledge hammer. Of all the shifts, this happens about 20% of the time now. Cold or hot it does not seem to be a factor.

Three years ago when this started it was occurring less than 10% of the time and has gotten worse. We have the fluid flushed & replaced, no improvements. Called Ford 2/25/2013, they reported no information with 2006 Ford Explorer transmissions. I was really hoping to know the cause of all of this.

Has anyone had their transmission disassembled and discovered the cause?

Also, this Explorer has same coolant leaking as others. We've been adding coolant every 2 months for 3 years now.

- , Summerville, SC, US

problem #199

Dec 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I could not in good conscience recommend a Ford Explorer ever again, this was our third explorer, the second one had the same problem at 40,000 miles and we traded for our third explorer. This vehicle has NEVER been ran hard, was taken well care of, only driven short distance to work and back, local driving to grocery stores etc. on short vacations. My wife and I are in our 60's and were not planning to have this extreme cost on a vehicle that has been well-maintained. We have spoken to Ford Motor with no resolve, nor did they really care, we took the vehicle back where we purchased it and they quoted us a repair cost of $3500.00 and were aware that this is a problem with the Ford Explorers, but can do nothing for us. We have always been a defender of Ford, but not anymore, all of our friends, relatives, neighbors and anyone we come in contact with will be enlightened with our problem. We like SUV'S, but there will be no more Fords in this household, NOT EVER again. Therefore we are taking the explorer to a local transmission specialist to have it replaced for the low, low cost of $2500.00. We have read many others complaining about the same problem. Since Ford is aware that this is an on-going problem, one would think that Ford would be doing some kind of recall or at the very least, doing the work for cost, not $3500.00. There needs to be a huge class action lawsuit regarding this and if enough people complain, perhaps someone will do something.

- , Council Bluffs, IA, USA

problem #198

Nov 102010

Explorer XLT 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

feels like being hit from behind when put on reverse shift gears will not take when i take off engine lights comes on sometimes and wrench lights come on never a ford for me i see all the complains to no answer from ford they (ford) should make a recall on the pc of crap they made other then that i love my vehicle just transmission problems

- , Bowling Green, FL, USA

problem #197

Dec 232012

Explorer XLT 6.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 93,300 miles

I purchased my 2006 Ford Explorer in 2010 and performed perfectly until mid 2011. Around March of 2011 my vehicle started having a REAL HARD JERK when shifting gears. I took it to the shop and had it fixed which was the Pinion seal on the drive shaft and rear differential was bad and leaking. Once that was replaced the problem stopped until about 3 months ago when the problem returned. I checked the pinion again and it was fine. I then drove the vehicle from Missouri to Alabama and while on the trip I lost Drive and Overdrive and had to drive approximately 600 miles in third gear. I contacted Ford due to having been told that the transmission had been recalled and Ford stated that there was no recalls on the 2006 Explorer period. I have since found the recall number and and am going to contact ford again and see if I can get them to admit it and fix it or else I am going to file a lawsuit for failing to maintain the extended warranty that I purchased with the vehicle. Due to the fact that when I first started having problems with the vehicle in 2011 I took it back to the dealership where the vehicle was purchased and they stated that I did not have a warranty however when I contacted Ford this time they stated that my warranty had expired at 86,000 miles. I will never purchase another Ford nor Recommend a Ford product to anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Dixon, MO, USA

problem #196

Sep 102012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I have been with Ford for over 12 years. This is the first set of problems I have had. My alternator went bad the first year, no help from Ford or dealership. Then my radiator and now, what I thought was simply a need to change transmission fluid, is a costly problem. A new transmission is needed. I do not feel safe in my truck anymore, I will get rid of it as soon as I can, but I will not go back to Ford. They no longer back their products.

- , Suffolk, VA, USA

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