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 4 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #264

Aug 282014


  • 80,000 miles


Steering stop moving in the middle of driving on the express way. Had to turn the vehicle off and then restart for it to continue moving. This happen a view times but never on the express way.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #263

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 #262

Aug 202014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
Power steering still failing even after recall "fix". my Ford Explorer 2011 already had the power steering recall (safety recall notice 14S06/NHTSA recall 14-V-286) fix completed at dealership on 8/7/14, but the power steering is still failing! this is very serious if the recall "fix" is not working. Please require Ford to immediately implement the proper fix and immediately notify all owners who have already taken their Explorer in per the recall and have this issue fixed immediately. Ford knows about this issue and could be putting people's lives at risk.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #261

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 #260

Jun 162014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 53,550 miles
On June 16th, 2014, I was traveling 40 mph with my 3 year old and 18 month old in the car and I lost all power steering and ended up in a ditch. There was no way to control it or even turn the wheel. It happened again on June 19th, 2014 however, my husband was driving and was able to get the car off the road.

- Holly Springs, NC, USA

problem #259

May 052012


  • 35,000 miles
Power assisted steering goes off with no warning. First happened back in 2012, pulled off road, restarted car everything worked fine. Problem occurring more frequently over past 6-8 months. (3 or 4 times) dealer says unaware of any general problems with the steering am scheduled to take to dealer for further analysis. Not covered by any recall but problem widely reported on the web.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #258

Jun 032014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 56,000 miles


At approx 1430 on June 2nd on highway on ramp accelerating had the service advancetrac warning light and chime come on and the traction control off light and chime come on and lost all power steering control of vehicle. I immediately put on my emergency flasher and let off the accelerator and forced my Explorer to the shoulder. Once on the shoulder of the highway I cleared the faults, I wish I would have taken cell photo of fault, and turned vehicle off and then restarted vehicle with no issues. I did not have any other issues for the rest of the drive approx 25 to 30 min.

- O'fallon , MO, USA

problem #257

Mar 302014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
While driving on the interstate at about 70 mph, an electrical light came up on the dash and I immediately lost power steering. My family was in the car and it was extremely frightening. I was able to muscle the car over to the right lane at which point, power steering was restored. The issue happened again around 20 minutes later and then rectified itself after a minute or so. I drove the car to the dealer and spoke with them about what happened. They kept the car for a week and could not "replicate the issue". this was the first week of April. I am now learning that Ford was aware of this problem back in January and has issued a recall.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #256

May 232014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 62,350 miles
I was driving on a four lane highway when a signal came on dash " steering assist failure" and I could not steer the vehicle. Was just coming off highway and was able to continue to ramp and had to pull off on median in middle of busy exit ramp. Stopped and then restarted car which temporarily fixed problem now dealership is telling me the steering column module needs replaced - will cost me $600 !!!!!:( very disappointed in Ford as there are many reports of this happening to others !

- Montoursville, PA, USA

problem #255

May 272014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,417 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when backing out of the driveway the power steering failed. As a result, the power steering assist fault and service steering advance tract lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle has not been taken to a dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 87,417 and the current mileage was 87,437. Pm updated 9/4/14

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #254

May 212014


  • 59,100 miles


While driving approximately 45 mph on local road, power steering gave out and vehicle became extremely difficult to effectively steer and pull off across 2 lanes of traffic onto shoulder. After pulling off to side of road, turned of engine and re-started. Steering came back and was able to return home. Next day, SUV did same thing 2X and added a new error message regarding traction control system fault along with power steering system fault. Ford has a section in their owners manual warning that failure of this system will require additional effort to steer the vehicle, but the dramatic change from power steering to this scenario is startling. My husband reviewed on line and discovered a re-call for the power steering problem had been issued in January. When contacting Ford dealer they stated this recall did not include our car since the recall was only for vehicles that had repairs for this same issue (done in a certain time period). If this issue had happened with a less experienced driver (ie our 17 year old daughter who drives this car frequently) the issue would most likely have caused her to panic and due to diminished maneuverability may lead to an accident. I am surprised the re-call is only for a part that has been installed to make a repair when the underlying problem this repair was being made for has not been addressed. It appears there are several complaints about this same issue.

- Kennett Square, PA, USA

problem #253

May 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
While turning on a curve in the road warning message on the instrument panel " steering power assist failure " appeared 3 to 5 seconds later car was extremely hard to turn vehicle crossed center line resulting in a near miss of a head on crash pulled to the side restarted vehicle and loss of power steering was corrected. Has happened numerous times.

- Lebanon, IN, USA

problem #252

Oct 012013


  • 45,000 miles
Power steer assist default shown on dash. Vehicle lost power steering while in motion. It was reset by restarting the vehicle. This occurred several times before becoming fully disabled on May 18, 2014. Vehicle became very difficult to control while in motion and nearly impossible 5 mph and under.

- Robinson, TX, USA

problem #251

Jun 192013


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while driving approximately 60 mph, there was a loss of power steering with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normally. The failure recurred. The vehicle failure was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 41,000.

- La Plata, MD, USA

problem #250

May 152014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I made a left hand turn and the power steering went out. I pulled into a parking lot and turned the engine off and restarted the engine. The power steering was fine. I went home and came back out to the car to go on an errand the power steering did not work. We called a wrecker on May 17 to have it towed to the Ford dealer.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #249

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 #248

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 #247

Nov 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The power steering assist on my 2011 Ford Explorer has just stopped working suddenly on two different occasions. Both times happened in parking lots and the steering started working again after turning the vehicle off and back on again. I'm reporting this because the Ford dealer will not attempt to fix it since it reset itself and is now working again. However, research shows this is happening to many people with this make/model and this is a potentially very dangerous situation that needs to be fixed to prevent a future tragedy. I will likely get rid of this car now because it is not safe to drive on busy highways.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #246

May 062014


  • 66,800 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while traveling 40 mph, the power steering and service track warning lights illuminated. The manufacturer was contacted. There were no repairs completed on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 66,800 and the current mileage was 66,801. The VIN was not available.

- Vine Grove, KY, USA

problem #245

Apr 152014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,500 miles
The service advance track warning appeared followed the power steering failure. The power steering totally went out. The result could have been disastrous had I been turning sharply at the time of failure. Luckily I was able to pull to the side of the road. This appears to be an ongoing problem with this vehicle and many have reported it. It is only a matter of time before this known issue results in a fatality.

- Boiling Springs, SC, USA

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