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

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2011 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #284

Mar 192015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 77,987 miles


Cranked up vehicle, put it in reverse and began to move backwards. Heard a chime and at the same time lost power steering. There was a "power steering assist fault" message box on the left side of the dash. I stopped; put it in park and turned it off. After restarting it was ok. This has been happening the past couple of weeks to my wife however and she will not drive it anymore. I have contacted my Ford service dept. That handles the maintenance of the vehicle and informed them of the problem and that I received recall notice 14S06 in July 2014 talking about this very issue. They did a reprogram to the software which obviously did not "fix" the problem. It stipulates in that recall that if the update does not fix the issue that the steering gear is to be replaced free of charge. I have requested a date in a couple of weeks for work to be done as I am almost 3 hours from the dealer / service dept.

- Shallotte, NC, USA

problem #283

Mar 042015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 73,087 miles
When backing the vehicle out of a parking space a tone sounded, a warning message "power steering assist fail" came on and the vehicle became impossible to steer. After cycling the ignition the problem went away. It occurred again two days later in a similar situation (low speed) and again went away after cycling the ignition. Ford dealer diagnosed as "code U3000 failure type 49 internal electronic failure, need to replace electronic steering gear - part bb5Z 3504 D".

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #282

Mar 112015


  • 62,000 miles
Power steering failed while driving.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #281

Feb 282015


  • 44,000 miles


My Ford Explorer had a recall (14S06) so I took it into my dealer and had them to the update. Aprox 1000 miles later my power steering completely went out and now the bill could be as high as 1500 dollars and Ford won't cover it because I already had the recall fixed once. Could you tell me what I can do to not have to pay this large amount?

- Riverside, IA, USA

problem #280

Nov 242005


  • 70,000 miles
On 08-2014, I received a letter from Ford Motor Co. Indicating that I had a recall on my 2011 Ford Explorer and that. The affected vehicles may experience an intermittent connection in the electric power steering gear, which can cause a loss of the motor position sensor signal resulting in a shut down of the power steering assist. And that the recall would prevent the loss of power steering. I took my vehicle to the to the Ford house and the said recall was performed. If I understood correctly my vehicle should not loose power to the power steering. Wrong. Approximately 3-4 weeks later my vehicle lost power to the power steering. This is the one thing the recall was suppose to prevent. It is clear to me that the work done to my vehicle did not fix the problem. After paying $1,400 to repair my vehicle I contacted Ford Motor Company co. In hopes that they would reimburse me because my problem was never fix to begin with. Ford Motor Co. Advised that they had performed the work necessary to prevent my power steering for going out but could not explain how it went out anyway. Ford Motor Co. Never fixed my problem to begin with and are refusing to fix it now. I don't know why they would send a real stating that it is going to prevent something but it does not. This is a problem that could potentially injure or possibly get people killed and need to be resolved.

- Dumas, TX, USA

problem #279

Feb 102015


  • 64,826 miles
I sent my vehicle in two months for to be fix at drew Ford dealership. They also corrected a recall on the powersteering fault. Now the fault is back and the steering wheel is immovable or extremely hard to move. They also claim this will not fall under the recall, because it has been remedy the first time. I am very upset with Ford, because this can be a 600-2000 dollar repair. Power steering should not go this fast, my car is barely 4 years old. I may have to trade it in for more reliable vehicle like a Honda or Toyota. I want to support american companies. This experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

- Spring Valley , CA, USA

problem #278

Jan 302015


  • 83,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving 10 mph, the steering wheel seized and the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electric power steering module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle would not be repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering) due to a recent evaluation of the vehicle at a dealer. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #277

Jan 072015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 26,100 miles
Had unit back in dealer November 2014 for the recall14S06 and was told they did a software update. January 7th 2015 went to leave work, started unit to warm up. Got in it 15 minutes later and no power steering. Light on dash said :steering assist failure" took back to dealer and was told I had to spend $1600 because it needed the steering gear replaced. Please note this unit was built in March 2011 in the Chicago assembly plant and falls under the suspected time frame of the failed component. Also it is 10 months out of warranty but only has 26000 miles on it. I had to contact Ford and explain to them I felt it should be cover 100% but was told I would have to take it up with my dealer after they ran my case number. Was contacted by my dealer the next day and was told it would cost me out of pocket $800 plus it could take 3/5 working days to get component. I find this as a good faith gesture but come on Ford you knew back in the lab that the software update was only a bandaid and the really problem still need to step up to the plate and repair all failed units with a new steering gear at 100% your cost!

- Fairfax, IA, USA

problem #276

Dec 282014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
When parked in a parking garage I started out and of my spot and down a ramp toward the pay station/booth of the garage to exit. The power steering assist fault came on, I immediately lost power steering and was headed directly toward the pay booth/attendant until I was able to brake and muscle the steering away from the impending crash. This power steering issue has started to occur briefly over the last few 6 months and either resolves itself or if I stop, shut off, then restart it seems to reset. The electronic power steering seems to be at fault. I can only imagine losing this at highway speeds and the danger it poses to drivers.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #275

Nov 272014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 71,147 miles
After bringing my car in on 9/15/14 to address the Ford Explorer 2011 recall, sheehy Ford in springfield, va declared my parts ok and reprogrammed my pscm (I had never had a single issue with my power steering)...I subsequently drove to Kentucky (from burke, va) and several other places...eventually driving to my parent's house in vienna, va (about 30+ minutes away) for thanksgiving day (12/27/14), just 3 months later. Several streets from arrival I received a message that my power steering was failing. The car became very difficult to drive, but I was able to park the car in front of their house. After research on the internet, I hoped to be able to start the car and find the problem fixed, but unfortunately was not able to steer the car at all. I had to have the car towed the next day to a dealer (I did not choose the same dealer who had done the recall). They replaced the power steering parts several days later, but the parts were not covered under the recall because the code they received was different. This happened 3 months after they declared my parts ok! I only had to pay $100 for the fix because of my extended warranty, but am ill about what might have happened if I had been on my way to or from Kentucky when the power steering failure happened so I feel obligated to report my issue to you. I understand from press releases I've seen that you consider this issue closed. I do not believe that to be the case...

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #274

Dec 212014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 47,607 miles


We were driving the vehicle at approximately 35 mph when warning light came on stating there was issue with power steering, I believe it said power steering service was required. When we stopped at next intersection, it was evident power steering assistance was reduced. After pulling over and shutting off vehicle, then restarting, there was no power steering assistance, only manual. When traveling at low speed, turning was virtually impossible. Immediately after stopping, because wheels could not be steered, vehicle went straight, blocking a cross path in a commercial lot, with cross traffic nearly causing collision, although no collision occurred, there was clear danger.

- Maumee, OH, USA

problem #273

Dec 072014


  • 42,608 miles
2011 Ford Explorer limited: I was driving my family back from a vacation and had been traveling at an approximate speed of 65 mph on the hwy. I turned into a parking lot for a restroom break for the kids when the rack & pinion bar broke completely near the driver side front wheel. I noticed the chimes, some loud pops and harder than normal steering prior to the part breaking. Vehicle was unable to be steered. It is not a every day driven vehicle. Vehicle has 42,608 miles on it. Luckily we weren't traveling at 65 mph when the part failed.

- Monroe , NC, USA

problem #272

Nov 082014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
On cruise control at 75mph heading East on I-44 towards tulsa, ok. Power steering service warning, advance trak warning, terrain management warning become active. Power steering advance trak and terrain management no longer active.

- Cashion, OK, USA

problem #271

Oct 182014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 112,265 miles
Driving at highway speed, all steering was lost with family in vehicle. No problems had occurred with the vehicle steering until a flash update had been completed by dealer for the recal notice. As others this occurred over a weekend and we were not home felt we could not drive even after shutting down, re starting and error cleared. Rented a vehicle ourselves until Monday when the dealer provided a rental. After being in the shop for a week was notified that Ford would do nothing about the issue as they assume no liability after the flash was completed! our dealer stepped up and paid for everything. They should not have to do this and as an insurance professional view this as a major liability and if this is not correct asap someone or many will be killed! why is this so, hard to enforce based on the number of claims for this failure" even now with what might be the correct repairs and based on others who have done the same what assurance do any of us have"

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #270

Sep 262014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 99,580 miles
The power steering failed while I was driving South on I-75. The recall for the module (reprogramming) had already been performed less than 2 months before. Now, after having the car in the shop for a week and 2 days, Ford has agreed to pay all but $700 of the repair. The reprogramming obviously was not an effective solution since the power steering failed a short time after that was done. The car is not safe to drive. The steering went out without notice as I was traveling 70 mph on an interstate highway. I was eventually able to muscle it over to the right lane and get to an exit without getting into a crash, but that was pure luck. The traffic was very heavy and I didn't want to make any hasty moves because I wasn't sure what was going on. It was a very scary situation. Ford has admitted that this is a problem, now they need to fix it.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #269

Sep 222014


  • 111,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to turn and the warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to dealer for repairs under recall NHTSA campaign 14V286000(steering). The vehicle was repaired but the problem has recurred. The vehicle was taken back to dealer who explained that the vehicle was no longer eligible for the recall repairs since it had been repaired once before. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 111,000.

- Pine Bluff, AR, USA

problem #268

Sep 122014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 35 mph, the power steering seized and excessive force was required to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the steering gears needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the failure occurred after the vehicle was previously repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 14E001000 (steering). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 114,000...updated 10/07/14 the consumer has since traded the vehicle. Updated 10/10/14

- Plaistow, NH, USA

problem #267

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 #266

Jun 032013


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving at any speed, the power steering and computer failed. In addition, the engine, ABS, traction control, air bag, and security sensors illuminated. The dealer advised the contact to reset the master controls. The vehicle also exhibited computer failure. The firmware was updated multiple times, however the failure recurred months later and included various electrical shorts. While driving at an unknown speed, the power steering failed. The vehicle was towed to the authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact waited for months to determine if the dealer was able to provide a remedy to the firmware failure. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V286000 (steering) and 14E001000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Holly Springs, NC, USA

problem #265

Jul 032014


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 10 mph, the steering wheel seized and the power steering warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 14V286000 (steering) because the parts were unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Livonia , MI, USA

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