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:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,410 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 steering problems

steering problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2011 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2011 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #304

Sep 012015


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While accelerating over 65 mph, the odor of fuel was present inside the vehicle. While driving at various speeds, the power steering and power terrain messages displayed before the steering wheel became locked. The driver was unable to turn the steering wheel. After shutting the vehicle off and restarting the engine, the vehicle operated normally. The cause of the failures were not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Camden, NJ, USA

problem #303

Aug 072015


  • 42,000 miles
At low speeds the floor of the car feels like it is shuttering back and forth. I thought it was the steering wheel but it doesn't move back and forth if I take my hands off but I can definitely feel it in the steering through the floor

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #302

Sep 122015


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While making a left turn from a stop, the steering wheel seized without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician stated that the vehicle was operating as designed; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering), but the failure recurred multiple times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #301

Aug 092015


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle loss power steering completely as the check power steering unit warning indicator illuminated. The failure recurred on two other occasions. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Herald, CA, USA

problem #300

Jun 252015


  • 68,000 miles
I had the recall work done for the power steering assist fault and this morning, I started the car and got the same fault code and had no power steering.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #299

Jun 202015


  • 67,500 miles
After starting vehicle, power steering assist failure alert noted. Power steering not working and attempted to reset by restarting car with no success. Towed to dealer. Need to replace total rack and pinion in order to fix this electrical problem.

- La Coste, TX, USA

problem #298

Jun 092015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering), but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. While driving at an unknown speed, the steering wheel seized and the vehicle could not be controlled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but was not diagnosed. The contact believed that this was a serious safety issue since it could cause a crash at any time. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The VIN and failure mileage were unavailable.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #297

Jun 222015


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving at 15 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to steer and the power steering assist warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. When the contact turned off and restarted the vehicle, it resumed normal operation. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering), but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 67,000.

- Etna, OH, USA

problem #296

Jun 142015


  • 81,000 miles
Traveling at low speed coming to a stop, felt like a lost in power and advance trac system failure, power steering failure warnings go off. I turn the vehicle off, I thought the vehicle shut down. I started driving again and same thing happen at low speed at next stop sign. I drove a little further and turn car off. Upon returning all systems were working fine. On 6/19/15 same thing happen at low speed, advance trac and power steering failure and still not working after several hours sitting.

- Van Buren Twp. , MI, USA

problem #295

Jun 012015


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering). The vehicle was taken to the dealer to service the vehicle under the recall, where the power steering control module software was updated. The contact mentioned that shortly after the repairs while driving approximately 40 mph, the electric power steering warning light had illuminated and a loud noise near the front end of the vehicle was present. The loud noise was dominant when steered left and right. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for diagnostic testing and the mechanic stated that the steering rack assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 49,000.

- Cincinnatti, OH, USA

problem #294

May 262015


  • 68,000 miles


While driving on the interstate, the power assisted steering failed, and two alerts appeared (service power steering*, and something about the terrain management. I was able steer the vehicle (with a large amount of effort) to the dealership for service.

- Chester, VA, USA

problem #293

Dec 212014


  • 47,607 miles
Ref, previous case 10667813... just curious … saw Ford had several 2011 vehicles added to recalls, but not Explorer for this cause … wonder why, since our experience was exactly what the other recalls were … lost power steering assist, could not control vehicle. Was electrical steering gear malfunction at 47,000 miles bill yarnell 419-349-4874

- Maumee, OH, USA

problem #292

May 252015


  • 71,000 miles
Started car, and power steering fault warning displayed on the dash. I turned off the car, waited for about 10 seconds, and then started the car again. This time everything works fine. I go down the road about 15-20 minutes. I pull over for about 5 minutes while leaving the car running. I get back in and start driving. It looses power steering again. I try to start the vehicle several times, and it continues to have no power steering. I do some research and find that there has been a recall for this very issue. I take it to the nearest Ford dealer and have them look at it. They said the recall is closed and will not take care of the issue. They say it had the software issue fixed last year before I owned the car. This time it is a part failure and will cost $1500. I do not think the issue was fixed in the first place when the recall was issued.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #291

Mar 232015


  • 52,000 miles
Car power steering wheel locked on 3/23/15. Brought it to sam galloway Ford in ft. Myers, Florida. Had part numbers bb5Z3504re (1 gear asy-ste), W712961-S439 (bolt), W716182-S439 (2 bolts) replaced. Labor and parts came to $1,567.53. Saw on this site that this make and model (not this VIN) had been recalled for similar incident. Ford would not reimburse us for this problem. On August 4, 2014, after receiving a recall notice 14S06, the car was brought to friendly Ford in poughkeepsie, NY for a power steering issue. Ford said that that visit resolved the power steering issue. As the owner of this vehicle, I feel that the issue was not resolved since we had a subsequent incident on 3/23/15.

- New Paltz, NY, USA

problem #290

Apr 272015


  • 83,000 miles
In April 2015, I had two instances in which my vehicle lost power steering with a corresponding "power steering assist fault" message. I, fortunately, was in a parking lot both times and was able to steer to a parking space, turn off the ignition and restart the car (as advised in the owners manual). In researching the issue, I discovered a recall notice for power steering issues. I took my car in for service on April 23rd to have the service performed. On April 27th, when I started the car to pull out of my garage at home, I realized that I had no power steering. Turning off the ignition and restarting no longer worked. I contacted the dealership who performed the recall service. Because the power steering was working when I took the car in for the recall service, they performed the basic reset and sent me on my way. Ford is telling me that because they had serviced the recall once, they consider it to be repaired and will not cover the repair of the failed power steering. Fortunately I was not traveling down the interstate at 65 mph when my power steering failed, otherwise it could have been tragic. I cannot believe Ford is refusing to repair a known defect that was serious enough to warrant a recall.

- Liberty, SC, USA

problem #289

Apr 012014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 89,162 miles
Upon starting the vehicle a warning appeared on the dash stating that the power steering assist had failed. Turning the car off and restarting it cleared the problem. When the vehicle went in for service in August of 2014 there was a recall from Ford (14S06) that reprogrammed the computer module. After the service there were still intermittent occasions where the warning appeared, but it always went away when cycling the engine off then back on. On April 27. 2015 the warning again appeared, but would not disappear when the off/on cycle was completed. Attempted this multiple times throughout the day, but the warning persisted. Had vehicle towed to the purchasing dealership.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #288

Apr 142015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Summary: Updating the software does not fix the żloss of power steeringť problem under Ford recall 140S06 for 2011 Ford Explorer. Power steering still fails after the software update. However, Ford rejects to cover the cost of replacing the steering rack to fix the problem if the customer has done software update; Ford agrees to cover it only if customer has not done software update. Basically if you are given remedy option 1 which is updating software by the dealer, then you lose the right for remedy option 2 which is replacing gear for this recall regardless if option 1 has fixed the problem or not. This is not right! in July 2014, I brought my car to the dealership after receiving power steering recall letter. They could not detect the power steering error code at that time, so simply they updated the software. But I still occasionally experienced the same error message, and it happened more often later on, until last week April 14th, 2015, the message stayed on, and I lost the power steering completely in a parking lot. I called Ford customer service on April 17th to open a case #[xxx] requesting to replace the steering gear under the recall 140S06 at no cost. After a few days' prolonged back and forth with the dealer and Ford, my case was denied by Ford. The reason given to me is that the software update was completed so my recall case was closed and it will not be covered to replace steering gear. When I asked about the recall 12month/12K warranty that I am still within, Ford insisted that it only covers the software that was updated. But I believe the recall is meant to address the problem of loss of power steering, if the same problem exists, meaning software update does not work, the warranty should cover the recall remedy option 2 to replace the gear for a real fix. No way will a software update fix a physical hardware defect. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #287

Mar 022015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a loud noise coming from the steering wheel and it was extremely difficult to turn. The vehicle was serviced under a power steering manufacturer's recall, but the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer more than three times where a code was reset, but the failure persisted. On another occasion, while driving, the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was taken to a dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Monroe, AL, USA

problem #286

Apr 072015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 57,650 miles
Several occasions turning on vehicle system reports power steering assist fault, service advance traction control - power steering failed, and steering wheel very difficult to turn. Turning off and back on had made it go away before, then did not. Power steering assist service advance traction and terrain management systems all failed, truck nearly impossible to steer. I believe this to be an extremely dangerous issue, if power steering goes out, and the wheel is that difficult to turn driving in any condition becomes a potentially hazardous activity. I live in a rural area, roads are very curvy, often scattered with loose debris (sand, salt, gravel) if paved, or just gravel in some areas, and safe navigation of these roads to get to my home would be impossible. I have discovered that Ford has issued a recall for vehicles assembled in the Chicago plant, between 5/2010 and 2/2012, for exactly this problem, and though this vehicle meets those criteria, there is not a recall on my vehicle.

- Unionville, IN, USA

problem #285

Mar 072015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that driving at 45 mph, the steering wheel seized. In addition, the contact stated that power steering failure, service power assist was displayed across the message board. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the power steering needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Roscommon, MI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?