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 5 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #244

Apr 272014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


As I was getting ready to make a right hand turn, the steering wheel would not turn and, at the same time, there was a car coming up to the stop sign where I was turning. I used all the force I could to turn the wheel because if I couldn't turn, I was going to hit the other car. As it was, I barely missed them and finally got the car to turn right and then the light came on the dash - I still had to find a place to get off the road so I went into the church parking lot fighting the steering all the way. I finally came to a stop and put the car in park and turned off the ignition. There was no prior indication of impending failure of, as it turned out, at the Ford garage, the failure of the power steering gear. If this had happened on a highway at highway speeds, I doubt if I would be here today.

- Mauckport, IN, USA

problem #243

Feb 162014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
While driving on a highway received a warning for steering failure, shortly after power steering completely failed.resulting in very hard steering at highway speeds.vehicle towed to a Ford dealer who reset computer fixing problem but could not duplicate or explain why it happened.

- Franklin Square Ny, NY, USA

problem #242

Apr 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
We have had multiple incidents where the power steering would lock up and we would get a "power steering assist fault". so far, shutting down the car then restarting has cleared the issue. We have been lucky; this has occurred only at low speeds (backing out of the garage or in a store parking lot). Took the car to get checked today and it is going to cost $2,000 to repair the electronic power assist steering (epas) gear. Have to repair it because it is a safety issue.

- Lumberton, TX, USA

problem #241

Mar 012014


  • 44,000 miles


The car basically shuts off and you lose power steering. No warn lights just cuts off immediately. We brought the car to the dealership and they ran a diagnostic and told us the issue was with the power steering sensor and that it would cost $2,000 to fix. I took to the internet and searched the issue to find out that there have been a number of owners that have had the same problem. I called Ford customer service and they opened a case for us. They came back with $1,000 in financial assistance but it will still cost us $1,000 for soemthing I feel is not a part that "wears out". it is a very dangerous issue and I think that Ford should take care of replacing the part before someone really gets hurt.

- Mantua, NJ, USA

problem #240

Apr 182014


  • 54,000 miles
This is the 5th time my powering steering has failed!!! Ford has replaced the part, after I had to spend $1800!!! the power steering rack was replaced and power steering failed again. What is it going to take for Ford to figure this issue out.

- Waldorf , MD, USA

problem #239

Apr 092013


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the power steering intermittently failed and the vehicle became increasingly difficult to control. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,00 and current mileage was 69,000.

- Haslet, TX, USA

problem #238

Apr 262014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 21,000 miles


2 times within a week, Saturday April 26, 2014 being the most recent, as I was driving my power steering failed on my 2011 Ford Explorer XLT fwd. Warning lights saying "power steering failure" lit up and my power steering was no longer operating. I had to pull over using manual steering to turn the Explorer off and start up the power again to bring the steering back. This could have been very dangerous situation if I was driving on an interstate. It appears that many other 2011 to at least 2013 Ford Explorer owners are having the same problem posing a very serious safety situation. It also appears that Ford does not think it is serious enough to be researched further.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #237

Apr 222014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 71,500 miles
Steering power assist warning light came on; loss of power steering. Turned off car, then restarted again, problem went away. Has recurred numerous times.

- Guysville, OH, USA

problem #236

Apr 242014


  • 40,000 miles
About months ago my husband was driving along and all of a sudden, the vehicle started making a warning sound and the "assist power steering fault" message came up as well as service "advance trac." Then, without warning, there was no power steering. Shut the car off and restarted it and we had power steering again. We took it into the Ford dealership and they said they have never heard of this problem. It happened again, they looked at it and nothing found! last night my entire family was in the car and the power steering went out. Very scary. Look online, found a power steering recall in the 2011 Explorer, called the Ford Motor Company and conveniently our VIN is not part of the recall. Ford Motor Company was rude and would not explain the other recall to me because my VIN didn't get recalled as if it was confidential information. I feel this is a billion dollar cover up by the Ford company. They do not want to claim responsibility until someone dies.

- Papillion, NE, USA

problem #235

Apr 172014


  • 77,559 miles
While driving my steering column locked up and lights on my dash indicated that the power steering and traction control were no longer working. I was forced to attempt to pull over which was nearly impossible due to my power steering no longer working. I turned my vehicle on and off 2 times (giving it time between to resent itself) before it would work properly however the lights indicating the power steering and traction control was not working remained on. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that Ford refuses to fix this problem. This is the 3rd time this has happened to me. This is a major safety concern Ford! fix the problem before people start to lose their lives!

- Gleason, TN, USA

problem #234

Apr 102014


  • 77,013 miles


While driving my steering column locked up and lights on my dash indicated that the power steering and traction control were no longer working. I was forced to attempt to pull over which was nearly impossible due to my power steering no longer working. I turned my vehicle on and off 5 times (giving it time between to resent itself) before it would work properly however I continued to have the same issues with it throughout the day. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that Ford refuses to fix this problem. This is the 2nd time this has happened to me. This is a major safety concern Ford! fix the problem before people start to lose their lives!

- Gleason, TN, USA

problem #233

Apr 092014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,500 miles
The steering power assist fault was lite up and then I lost all steering and all I could do was turn my flashers on to avoid being hit and drive off to the side of the road.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #232

Oct 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
This is the fourth time that it has happened to me. I have been driving down the street, when the car completely loses all power, cannot turn the wheel, cannot accelerate at all and you are completely unable to move the car. I have taken the car in every time to be serviced, they say that the computer shows that nothing is wrong, no codes show up. This past time I was 1 foot over train tracks when the car died. An oncoming train passed before I had time to restart my car. This could have been fatal and if my children where in the car I would never have been able to get them out of the car. It has happened at an intersection and driving 40 mph down a busy street, happened taking a left turn on a busy street. There are no warnings that it is about to happen. It literally just stops working. This is a serious and very dangerous defect on this car that needs to be addressed before a family is killed.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #231

Mar 282014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 42,790 miles
Driving around a curve and the steering locked up. We swerved into the other lane and luckily didn't get hit. The power steering assist fault notification came on.

- Greenwell Springs, LA, USA

problem #230

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 #229

Mar 222014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 32,848 miles
I was driving in the highway approximately 65 mph, all of the sudden the "powersteering assist failure" message popped up. I exited the highway but had a very difficult time turning the steering wheel. I turned the vehicle off and then restarted it again; the steering wheel went back to normal. This is a very dangerous issue; I have children and depend on my vehicle daily.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #228

Mar 052014


  • 93,000 miles
While driving the power steering shut down along with the traction control.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #227

Sep 052013


  • 46,224 miles
Lost steering assist during turn into driveway. It was extremely difficult to manually steer the vehicle, which I was able to stop due to the low speed. The next morning it was again very difficult to steer the vehicle when I backed out of the garage, however, after stopping and starting the vehicle 2-3 times the power steering begin working again allowing me to drive the vehicle to the Ford dealership. While driving the vehicle forward in their maintenance bay the steering assist failed again, at which time two computer failure codes where present, which I read and then showed to their maintenance representative. The code listed on the receipt was C200D. The second issue involves erratic shifts and loss of power when accelerating from a stop up to 35 mph. A Ford dealership has completed two-three computer software upgrades. The most serious shifting problem occurs when pulling out or turning onto a roadway and there is minimal acceleration when the accelerator pedal is pressed down, and the vehicle is unable to adjust as expected to the traffic flow. This problem was first reported 02/2013 and most recently during 09/2013.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #226

Nov 142013


  • miles
I was parked at a store parking lot. I got in the car to back up and this message "powersteering assist failure" popped up on the screen and I was not able to turn the steering wheel at all. I shut the car off and then restarted it...then the power steering went back to normal.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #225

Feb 272014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Power steering fail light came on and I lost my power steering. After killing the car, letting it sit then restarting it I started back working.

- Port Allen, LA, USA

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