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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,303 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

problem #12

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 #11

Apr 032014


  • 28,434 miles
Right rear brake caliper seized, creating smoke and extreme heat to wheel area. Caliper replaced under warranty. Same issue with left rear caliper on 5-1-15 at 42K miles. Left caliper replaced at my expense, as it was outside the warranty period. Same issue with right rear caliper again on 5-26-15 at 44K miles. Dealership said that the caliper was ok after cleaning the area. There appears to be continual problem with these rear brakes on both sides.

- South Portland, ME, USA

problem #10

Apr 222015

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
Both rear brake calipers are seized. I noticed the problem only when the brake pads had worn down to metal on metal and were causing a grinding noise. I've owned the vehicle for less than a year and bought it from a dealership.

- Manitowoc, WI, USA

problem #9

Aug 282014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


I was driving down the street at around 20 mph when there were cars that suddenly stopped. When I was braking I felt as if the steering was allowing me to turn and it happened so fast I felt as if I lost braking power. Then I hit the car in front of me hard.

- Gurabo, PR, USA

problem #8

Jul 012014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Left rear brake caliper failed causing vehicle to become unstable for brief second when the caliper grabbed the rotor while traveling at highway speeds. You could feel this in the steering and would have to correct at each dip or bump in the highway. Brake pad worn to failure point before identifying the problem.

- Morton, IL, USA

problem #7

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 #6

May 292014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,050 miles


During traffic in hot weather on highway there is squealing sound coming from front drivers side of vehicle and smoke coming from rear driver tire after exiting highway to check the noise. After exiting highway I felt all 4 metal wheels and driver's side rear was extremely hot and other wheels were warm to the touch. I had the exact same conditions on passenger rear brakes last summer at ~50,000 miles, and the dealership replaced rear passenger caliper immediately. This time they claim are not able to reproduce the seizing of caliper after 3 mile test drive and calipers appeared to be in working condition. I argued that the problem may occur during long distance highway travel and may not happen on short test drive. Dealership argued that it is Ford policy not to perform warranty repairs/replacement work when they are unable to reproduce problems described by customer. I am very upset that I have to worry about my car starting on fire every time I drive on highway. 2011 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5L V6 tivct. Northwest Chicago il.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #5

Mar 142013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 39,350 miles
Air bag light has been on several times. Each time I have taken the vehicle in for service and they tell me each time they fixed it. I drive it some and the light comes back on. It is back in the shop for the tenth time I have paper trails and pictures to prove it. I ended up making an appointment the last time but before I got there I hit a deer end of March at 60 mph and the air bag didn't go off once the body work got done I took it into the Ford shop and they said there was a faulty sensor were the deer hit. They replaced it the I drove it eight miles and the light came back on so I turned around and they are telling me that there are no codes this time I have tried to get them to buy it back and they will not. The rear brakes have locked up four time and they have replace them each time and it continues to do the same with them also.

- Loudonville , OH, USA

problem #4

Mar 312014


  • 19,000 miles
The contacts a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the breaks would constantly squeal even when accelerating. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who indicated that the caliber, rotors and brake pads needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 19,000.

- Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #3

Aug 152011


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 10 mph and making a left turn, the steering wheel and braking system seized and would not function. The contact shut the engine off and restarted the vehicle. After restarting the vehicle the steering and braking systems functioned normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the steering unit would have to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The contact stated that the vehicle exhibited a clunking noise when turning the steering wheel. In addition, there was an investigation under NHTSA action number: PE12017 (steering:electric power assist system) that could have been related to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #2

Oct 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
Brakes make a grunting/grinding sound when braking shortly after being stationary. When this phenomenon happens on a downward slope, drive gets the feeling that brake effectiveness is reduced greatly. Owner has brought car to dealer a total of 4 times and was able to replicate noise one time.

- Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

problem #1

Jun 072012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 7,800 miles
Please be advised that the afore noted vehicle, on June 7th, 2012 on or about 5pm was involved in a single vehicle accident on route 63 at mt Washington, St. Croix. She was travelling southward on route 63 crossing the small bridge entering a sharp right hand turn in the road. She experienced a sudden, instantaneous, loss of response in the steering and braking of the vehicle. As a consequence, in the few seconds following, the vehicle left the roadway and struck a wooden utility pole.

- Kingshill, VI, USA

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