Notes: The NHTSA's complaint data shows potentially scary power steering problems with the 2011 Ford Explorer.

The NHTSA complaints are pretty serious - owners report the power steering cuts out while driving. The NHTSA opened an investigation in June 2012 but hasn't reached a decision about a recall yet. In the meantime, buyers beware.

It's too bad because the 2009 & 2010 Ford Explorer are solid, trouble-free model years.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
206,914 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.

2011 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Jul 232012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


I was making a right turn onto a service drive to go on the expressway. As I was completing the turn I lost the power steering & the car started to decelerate. I got 2 messages on the dashboard, the only one I paid attention to was "service advance track", I think the 2nd message was about a loss of power steering. If it was, it was because of the advance track breaking. I was able to pull over to the side of the road & stop the car. Shutting the car off & restarting did nothing to clear the problem. When I looked up advance track in the owner's manual it explicitly said if the advance track broke the car would decelerate & power steering would be lost & the car would need to be towed, it should not be driven if this happened. I then called the dealer & was told I would need to have the car towed in. When I called the next day I was told the part had been ordered & should be in on wed & then it would be installed. When I called on wed I was told the part was on a 2 week national backorder; which meant the part would not be in until Aug 9. it is now Aug 20 & the part has still not been received, I have no idea when the dealer expects delivery. The dealer has been very good about it & I am driving a rental car, paid for by Ford, until the repair is complete. Earlier in the year I had another problem with the throttle boot needing to be replaced & I wonder now if the 2 problems are related.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,500 miles
On July 4, 2012, was driving on the highway getting ready to exit in about 100 yards, as I was decreasing speed I heard and felt a light bang, the car seemed to surge like it was the transmission and brakes were pulsating, and had no power steering. Car pulled severely to the right almost hitting the guard rail, could not steer. Jammed on breaks, fortunately in the slow lane, and pulled over. Power steering light and hill descent control fault came on, shut the car off and turned it back on power steering then worked but the traction control light on center console did not work until the next day when I took it to the dealer. Dealer kept car for 2 days, returned it to me with no found no fault. On Sunday, July 22, 2012, the same thing happened at 30 mph, felt the car jump forward then the power steering assist light and hill descent light came on as well as another light (I took pics of the error messages). This time when I pulled over and restarted it, it did not work, let the car sit for 15 minutes still did not work, called the towline and no answer, so drove the car 3 miles to home with no power steering or traction control. Next day called dealer called dealer, and they said they could not take me in for another week, also stated they never heard of these issues, so I googled and found this website where other people are having the same problems. The traction control has happened numerous times (at least 10) and the power steering twice within 18 days.

- Riverdale, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jul 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
Driving on highway at highway speeds when the alerts for failure of the electronic stability control came on. We then realized that the power steering had failed and had difficulty steering the vehicle. Managed to get the vehicle off at an exit. Towed to dealer. Dealer not clear as to what happened and part to repair is on back order from Ford. Internet research demonstrated this is a common problem with 2011 Ford Explorer.

- Akton, OH, USA

problem #4

Jun 082012


  • 43,878 miles


While driving my vehicle it lost power steering assist system showed "power steering assist failure" as well as "service traction control". this was the scariest feeling I have ever had. This has happen to my husband several times.. I immediately called my local Ford dealership spoke with service advisor. I was told to turn my vehicle off and restart it. I advised my service advisor that I had taken my vehicle in for service on April 30, 2012 (40197 miles) and I mention this same problem for repair. What is it going to take for Ford to realize that this is a serious, serious problem. I am afraid for my family to be in this car, we travel alot and I am refusing to drive it. I was afraid of purchasing an american car but loved the new Ford Explorer look and body. However, I don't think I'll ever purchase another Ford vehicle and I will trade this car asap........

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #3

May 142012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
While in operation vehicle lost power steering assist. Steering became extremely difficult. Warning message "power steering assist failure" followed by "service traction control " light are displayed. Shutting off vehicle and restart temporarily cleared the failure. Failed more than once.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #2

May 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,186 miles
While coming back to work from lunch, my wife was turning left into parking lot when the power steering assist fault light came on and steering became very stiff and hard to turn. Local Ford dealership picked up the car and kept for a week but could not duplicate the problem, so Ford would not let them fix the problem. Got the car back on Friday June 1, 2012 and drove the car as usual. Monday, June 4, 2012 on the way back to work from lunch, driving 40 mph, the power steering assist fault light came on and steering again became very stiff and hard to turn. Is it going to take a tragic accident from this apparent problem before Ford does anything. I am asking the NHTSA to please begin an investigation into this problem before my family or another family is seriously injured from this problem.

- Searcy, AR, USA

problem #1

Jan 092012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,500 miles
Ford Explorer 2011 has lost power steering and stability control at various speeds under various conditions 3 or 4 times over the past several months, including on the highway at 65 miles per hour. Steering is restored after shutting the car off and restarting. Stability controls may take several minutes to restore themselves or may need to have the car turned on and off several times to restore.

- Chagrin Falls, OH, USA

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