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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,098 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 #4

Mar 212014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,420 miles


I was driving on a major street during heavy afternoon traffic. The steering became extremely difficult and I could barely turn the wheel. The warning lights for advanced traction failure and power steering assist fault came on. I also noticed the terrain management control was no longer illuminated. I tried to turn off the road into the driveway but it was extremely difficult. I am a reasonably strong adult woman and had to use all my strength to turn the wheel even slightly while slowly moving. When I managed to get the car into a safe place I put the car in park and turned it off. When the car was started again, it returned to normal and I was able to drive it. Three days later, the same thing happened with another driver while I was a passenger. The older male driver had similar difficulty steering and turning the vehicle. I took the vehicle to the Ford dealership for service. They repaired the rack and pinion steering for an estimated cost of over $2000. The mileage on the vehicle was approximately 36,400 miles so about 400 miles past the warranty. We were able to get Ford to reduce the cost to approximately $750, some of which was for the alignment that was necessary following the repair. This incident could have been far worse with devastating results. I am a mom and girl scout leader and Transport children frequently throughout the day. At the time of the incident I had 4 children in my vehicle.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Aug 152012


  • 27,500 miles
I was slowing down and getting into the left turn lane. The light was green so I started to turn left and the traction light system came on, both lights, and the steering system failure alert came on and I lost all power steering and almost hit a pole. It was a nice day, no rain or moisture. The pavement was dry.

- Sharpsburg, GA, USA

problem #1

Aug 102012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,472 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph the power steering assist failed message came on the instrument panel, immediately after it became extremely difficult to make any turns or maneuver the steering wheel. The contact mentioned that after powering off and restarting, the vehicle was performing as normal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure who filed a report and did not offer any further assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 28,472 and the current mileage was 29,600. Updated 09/21/12 the consumer the ABS and traction control failures and related messages appeared on the instrument panel's message center. The dealer found a diagnostic code for the speed sensors. The vehicle was repaired. Updated 09/27/2012

- Fort Worth , TX, USA

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