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 1 of 2)

problem #27

Jan 162017


  • 107,000 miles


The battery charging system comes on while drive at normal speed and the steering becomes very hard and then everything shuts down and if you are lucky you might make it off the side of the road. This is very scary as I live in a rural around where you can't always get over in an appropriate area. In the past I could let it set for a minute and restart it and would be fine. Recently had to have it jump started for it to run again and then seems fine. Just last night/this morning it was so bad that we had to let it sit for several hours before we could get it to jump start it again. I have saw that others have had similar complaints. When I searched my VIN number it says there is no recalls but when I was searching for recalls it mentions the power steering as a recall. The recall was prior to me purchasing this unit. I am frustrated and this is a great safety recall that Ford should fix on all vehicles. The date entering as event happened was the last event but it started back in may of 2016.

- Louisville, IL, USA

problem #26

Dec 012016


  • miles
There are allot of issues going on with the truck we have just hit around 70K miles, this started a few months ago the passenger back door is not latching correctly upon being closed. The whole electrical system has been faulty for some time now A/C doesn't work correctly/ remotes and lights on car on constantly flickering... happens while vehicle isnt in motion and when in motion

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #25

Sep 012016


  • 90,000 miles
2011 Ford Explorer XLT: Failure of 2011 Ford Explorer passenger blend door actuator. Have had to replace this actuator three times in 12 months. Failure occurs slowly. Failure begins with clicking sound present for 10 seconds upon starting A/C or heater and turning off of A/C or heater. Issue progresses to clicking sound present throughout entire time A/C or heater is used. Issue then progresses to complete failure and not working. Vehicle purchased from Ford dealer. Ford certified used with approximately 70,000 miles. Issue started occurring at approximately 90,000 miles.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #24

May 292016


  • 89,000 miles


The power steering fails, and it becomes very hard and almost impossible to steer the vehicle.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #23

Apr 012016


  • 65,000 miles
After having epas replaced (@hall Ford ellizabeth city, nc) under recall 15N01 after complete power steering failure. We began a 700 mi. Road trip home and began to experience spontaneous traction control interaction with our driving input which affected either power distribution to the axels, braking ability, and steering ability. After making it nearly 300 miles the electronic stability control completely went out along with what felt like ABS control seemed like it intervened sporadically. We also recieved a dash prompt that the fuel filler inlet needed checked as well. Upon arrival to a Ford dealer along our route (sheehy Ford, warrenton, va) they pulled the codes listed and appeared to be a litany of codes nearly a page and a half long. They cleared the codes and drove the vehicle. After driving the vehicle around the block the traction control began to act intermittently without loss of traction. They came back and checked for error codes and the "steering position sensor was at fault" they went through re-calibrated the equipment installed and cleared out the codes and drove without any issues. We then continued on our remainder of our trip without any further issues. Upon arrival to our home destination the following day we began to again have traction control intervening with driver input when not needed where it appears to be shifting power from axle to axle or applying braking to aid in traction control. I have also noticed that that rear view camera displays the postion of the driver wheel in relation to the wheel path in reverse but appears intermittant as if there is a not a continuous connection with the sensor. Taking to our local Ford dealer here Monday 4-4-16 to have them thoroughly go through the vehicle but appears to continue to be an issue with the electronic power steering assist. All issues are present when traveling at speed and turning

- Oregon, OH, USA

problem #22

Aug 212014


  • 46,000 miles
2011 Ford Explorer was just returned two weeks ago for national recall on electronic power steering control module failure. On August 21st at 9:30 am my wife was approaching a red light. She applied the brakes and felt an immediate power loss issue with the breaks. She impacted the vehicle in front of her around 15 mph. Air bags were not deployed at time of accident. She did noticed the terrain management failure light was illuminated at time of impact. My wife did not feel the anti lock brakes engage, nor were there any skid marks visible on the road. Minor front end damage is evident and radiator was leaking fluid. Insurance company has been notified about recent recall.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #21

Jun 242014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


I was making a right hand turn going down a hill onto a street when the sensors went off and the power steering stopped working. The car registered two warnings. I stopped the car in the middle of the street. I was manually able to get it to a parking lot but it was extremely difficult. I drove very slowly. When I got to the parking lot, I turned the car off and restarted it. The warnings disappeared and the car functioned normally. I proceeded to call the dealership where I got the car from to explain the situation. I subsequently called the dealership the following day to voice my concerns and make an appointment. The best they could do was a week from today. This is a certified, pre-owned vehicle that I purchased less than a year ago.

- Ossining, NY, USA

problem #20

May 132014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 66,800 miles
This is the 4th time my vehicle has lost its power steering. I was driving in traffic at about 45 mph and the power steering. I have to find a place on the side of the highway to pull over and turn my car off and wait a while then restart it and sometimes it fixes the problem and sometimes it doesn't. there is only a matter of time that this will happen going at a higher rate of speed and cause injury or worse! Ford needs to recall this asap!

- Haslet, TX, USA

problem #19

May 112014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,116 miles
My wife, and three children were driving at freeway speed with the cruise control set. The power steering failed and the warning lights came on. The controls on the steering wheel locked out and she could not cancel the cruise control. The loss of power steering made it difficult for her to get pulled over. She tried to call me for help but no functions of the sync system worked. She pulled over and waited for me. I restarted the car and the steering was reset. I drove it to the dealership. Today is Sunday so I will arrive there tomorrow and have it evaluated. Very hazardous and scary for my wife and the children. Unexpected loss of power steering is a safety issue that can cause accidents.

- Arcadia, OK, USA

problem #18

Jan 232014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I was driving down the street at 55 mph when the 'power steering assist fault' displayed on the dashboard interior display. The steering wheel immediately locked up & I lost complete control of the vehicle & drifted to the right. I stepped on the brakes to avoid crashing & turned the car off. Once I turned the car back on the fault was no longer there & I drove home. I called the Ford dealership & made an appointment to get the vehicle checked the next day. Later on that same day, my wife & I had an appointment. However, when we started the vehicle up, the same fault was immediately displayed & the steering wheel locked up. I kept turning the car off & trying to restart, but the fault would not go away. I had to get my vehicle towed to the Ford dealership. I did some research online only to discover that I was not the only Ford owner that had this problem. Several others had the same issue. This finding prompted me to look on the Ford website to see if there was any recall but there is none. The Ford dealership quoted me for an 'air bag safety fault', electrical & valve malfunction, after running a diagnostic test on my vehicle. I was deeply concerned because the 'air bag fault' never displayed due to the other fault. The estimated cost was over $3,000. Also, I had to rent a vehicle in the interim. I asked about recalled parts & legal action when I was at the dealership but no one had any information. When I went to pick up my vehicle, the Ford dealership said they would pay for the rental & they made contact with Ford company. The Ford company allegedly emailed the Ford dealership & took $1,000 off the total cost. I have a wife & a baby. This is our only mode of transportation. I fear for the safety of my family in this make of vehicle & I would like for Ford to investigate this electrical issue further & recall its parts. Please help us & all others with this issue.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #17

Nov 062013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 58,161 miles


I was rounding a curve in an intersection when the steering became impossible to steer. I managed to get it off the road and I noticed the traction controls were lit up along with the steering failure warring came on. After restarting the car everything returned to normal.

- Matewan, WV, USA

problem #16

Nov 232011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
While driving, power steering assist abruptly fails, as does advance trac stability control. The vehicle becomes much harder to control. If the car is in a turn when the steering fails, the steering wheel lurches and tries to re-aim the vehicle straight ahead, disrupting the turn. Dashboard warnings confirm the steering and advance trac failures. Also, the turn signal sustain fails, so using the turn signal requires constant pressure on the signal arm. On average, this problem has recurred every 2000 miles, at any speed. Turning the car off and restarting "fixes" the problem temporarily until the next failure. Two trips to the dealer for examinations have resulted in no answers - both times the results of leaving the car for several days have been shrugged shoulders and "we couldn't duplicate the problem, and there is no trouble code. It worked fine for us." As is nothing ever was wrong with the car, and even if there were something wrong, there is no way to repair it! how the NHTSA and Ford Motor Company can allow these vehicles to roam our highways with no recall, or even a technical service bulletin, knowing there is a chance the drivers may lose control and crash, as some already have, is a crime against vehicle safety and against the very mission statement of the NHTSA. I will be copying this complaint to my elected representative in the United States congress, who in the past has proven to be far more interested in my safety than Ford or the NHTSA.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #15

Aug 262013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,545,413 miles
While driving to work the following warnings came up. 1. power steering fault 2. service advancetrac system car became very difficult to steer, almost resulting in a major car accident as I was approaching a very tight turn on I75. Upon doing some research it appears this issue is way to common, and extremely dangerous.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #14

Aug 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 59,871 miles
While driving down the highway, there was a notification on the info center that there was an issue with the power steering. At that point I lost power steering in the vehicle and then traction control. This issue has occurred 4 times in the last month and we have already taken it to the dealership and they were unable to find out what the issue was since it is not keeping records in the computer of these issues.

- Wooldridge, MO, USA

problem #13

May 312013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
The power steering goes out and then a warning appears stating a malfunction with the all terrain stability control. Not only does the power steering stops working, but it feels like the vehicle is going to turn over for a couple of seconds. This has occurred three times; our Ford dealership has made two attempts to repair the problem with a third attempt scheduled next week. The last event was day before yesterday while I was driving on I-26 at 70mph (speed limit) and nearly caused me to have an accident. The dealership states that they just don't know what the problem is and told me they are speaking with Ford about the problem. I feel that this is a very dangerous problem and I don't think Ford knows how to fix it. Thank you.

- Sugar Grove, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Coming to a stop at a stop sign, warning messages appeared - power steering assist failure and advance trac control fault. The vehicle lost all power steering assist. With much effort (extremely hard to steer!), I pulled the vehicle to a parking space to diagnose the problem. The advance trac warning message stayed on. The traction control light and the traction control 'off" light also stayed illuminated. I turned the Explorer off. When I restarted, the power steering returned and after a few seconds the advance trac warning message went off. Took vehicle to Ford dealer (alan vigil Ford) the next morning. They told me I needed a new steering rack. Parts will not be in for several days. They told me I could drive the vehicle until the parts arrive. I'll bring it back to them then.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #11

Jun 042012

Explorer 6-cyl Diesel

  • 12,000 miles
I own a 2011 Ford Explorer, I have had numerous failures to the electronic power steering assist. First time this happened I was along at about 65 mph and the steering wheel locked up and the warning lights started flashing "traction control" "power steering assist failures". steering wheel becomes very difficult to move and steer car. This has happened 1/2 dozen times, each time I slowly steer the car to a safe stop turn off the car and restart the car and error clears out. This last time it occurred as I was turning left from a left turn lane when suddenly in the M idle of the turn my power steering locked up. Fortunately I was traveling at very low speed, but I was not able to steer car and went onto oncoming lane again I was fortunate not to hit anyone. However, this time the problem did not clear itself and the car is at the local Ford dealer for 8 days now. The service manager says its a gear and Ford does not have it in stock!!!

- Pembroke Pines,, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
While pulling into a busy intersection (attempting to turn left at a T intersection) the power steering failed. I received errors on the cluster stating that power steering and stabilitrak had failed. I was unable to steer the car into traffic; luckily there was a driveway a few degrees off center from the T and I was able to pull in there.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #9

Jul 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,500 miles
While the car was moving the dash annunciator came on and, in succession, indicated "terrain management system fault", "service advancetrac" and then "power steering assist off". this last one is a serious problem as this car is virtually impossible to steer/turn without power assist. The power steering assist stopped completely without warning. If I were at high speed, at a curve, or had to avoid another car or person, I would have been in big trouble. Some time later the car corrected itself. Then it happened a second time 9/10/2012.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #8

Aug 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 27,762 miles
I was traveling approx 60mph when an alert from the dash sounded, the steering wheel vibrated and 2 messages appeared on the onboard messaging system: 1) "power steering assist fault" and 2) "service advance trac". at that time I lost all power steering ability. I am very fortunate that I was driving on a straight stretch of road at the time as I am unsure if I could have kept the vehicle from going off of the road. I pulled over at a gas station and turned the car off. I restarted the car approx 5 min later and it had no warnings and the power steering had been restored. The next day, the exact same thing happened, except I was going approx 10mph turning left into the Ford dealership to let them look at this problem. They informed me today that they needed to order a new "rack" and that the part was "backordered" and had a delivery date of November (today's date is 8/27/12).

- Gainesville, FL, USA

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