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 8 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #184

Aug 082013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,100 miles


While driving home from work in pittsburgh, pa I experienced a failure in my 2011 Ford Explorer's power steering. Apparently, the newly designed power system shut down causing a manual override for manual steering 'only'. again, very difficult to steer at a high rate of speed. I am a pa state trooper and drive as a profession. I personally struggled to keep my vehicle on the roadway and was very fortunate to safely bringmy vehicle to a stop. I cannot stress how unsafe and dangerous this defect and/or problem is. I am calling. My Ford dealership tomorrow for suggestions. Again, I have investigated numerous crashes and fatalities in my career and expect this problem to be reviewed at the highest level for safety.

- West Grove, PA, USA

problem #183

Aug 062013


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the power steering and traction control warning lamps illuminated as both components failed. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 58,000.

- Gleason , TN, USA

problem #182

Aug 052013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 63,047 miles
This happened to us 2 times in 2 weeks. Power steering failure light came on along with the auto trac light. At this point we lost power steering. We were on the highway and we were close to a walmart so we stopped and let the car sit and we went into walmart.when we came out the light was off and the power steering was fine. Monday I was backing out of my garage and the lights went on again and no power steering. I was able to pull the car back into the garage and there it sits. I cant drive it as it is to hard for me to turn the wheel. We are taking it into the dealer Friday and I called them and they have no recalls for the car and said they cant find the information I found about the power steering that was reported in 2012. I am just glad my husband was driving the first time. We have tried the car since Monday and still no power steering.

- Russellville, AR, USA

problem #181

Aug 042013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,928 miles


I was traveling at 40 mph on a busy city street when all of the sudden I heard a warning bing sound and saw the power steering fault and all terrain management failure warnings on my instrument panel. Lost total ability to steer the vehicle and had to put on emergency lights, stop on side of the road, turn the vehicle off and on (hoping that it would reset and resolve the issue) and doing this cleared the warnings and I was able to steer again. However, two days later the problem happened again after starting the vehicle in a parking lot and before starting to back out of the parking space. Once again turning the vehicle off and on again reset the warning and regained steering ability again.

- Madison Heights, MI, USA

problem #180

Jun 292013


  • 51,000 miles
Power steering assist fault has happened 5 times in the last month and this is the second time I have had it at the dealer.

- Englewood, OH, USA

problem #179

Jul 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 10,100 miles
Please reference previous complaint confirmation number 10475098, September 11, 2012. The problem is a complete loss of power steering assist that occurs instantaneously, without warning. This problem was supposedly repaired by my Ford dealer last fall (September, 2012) by reprogramming a control unit. The problem has now been recurring again, almost weekly (three times in four weeks). I feel this is a very serious safety issue. During the most recent incident, my wife was driving by herself. She does not have the strength to drive this car without power steering assist. Luckily she was traveling in a straight line and could bring the car to a stop. If she had been turning a corner or rounding a curve, she would have gone off the road. I have seen on the internet that other drivers have had the same problem. I will take the car back to the dealer, but Ford needs to own up to this problem and figure out a permanent fix.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #178

Aug 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,700 miles


Travelling on the freeway at 78 mph, an alarm sounded, followed by a message that said "power steering assist fault (or failure, I don't remember exactly which term was used)", at the same time, I suddenly had no power steering. The warning also stated "service advance trac" and an icon showing a car with skid marks behind it, displayed on the dash. Had my wife, or one of my children been driving when this occured, I'm certain there would have been a serious accident. I was able to manuever off the freeway and turn into a parking lot. I had a car without power steering when I was very young, and I don't recall it being this difficult to use. I turned the car off, and googled the issue, to find I'm not the first to have this happen. After reading that it resets, I re-started my car and the power steering was back. It took a few seconds for the "service advance trac" message to clear, but it did as well. I was able to drive the car afterward, for approximately 40 miles, without further incident. This was on a Friday afternoon, too late to get to a dealer. I will take it in on Monday morning, first thing.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #177

Aug 012013


  • 59,000 miles
After filling up with gas, I started and went about 6 feet and the codes of power steering assist along with a couple others came up. I tried restarted the Explorer and it did the same thing. I then let it sit for 5 minutes and restarted it again. The same thing occurred. I have now brought it in and after looking into it. Many people have had the same issue. I had my 1 year old son in the car and to be honest. This is a safety issue that should be taken care of by the manufacturer. If I were in the middle of an on or off ramp in a turn. What would happen?

- Marine On Saint Croix, MN, USA

problem #176

Jul 252013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 26,514 miles
My wife and I had just traded our car in for a 2011 Ford Explorer. She was on her way home and the power steering locked up on her with a warning message on the dash. She was barely able to control the vehicle from crashing into the other cars around her. She turned off the vehicle and restarted it and everything returned to normal. We called the dealer who promptly had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealership. They replaced the steering column and everything seems fine now. When looking up this problem online we found that this was not the first time this happened as Ford had said over the phone to me. I pointed out that the NHTSA had an action # PE12017 filed and this was obviously not the first time this had happened. They basically called me a liar. Ford needs to do a recall on this issue before someone or god forbid a family gets killed due to this issue. My wife and stepdaughter are ok only due to the quick thinking of my wife. Ford needs to step up and correct this issue asap and stand behind their product, not cover up this huge problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #175

May 312013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
The power steering goes out and then a warning appears stating a malfunction with the all terrain stability control. Not only does the power steering stops working, but it feels like the vehicle is going to turn over for a couple of seconds. This has occurred three times; our Ford dealership has made two attempts to repair the problem with a third attempt scheduled next week. The last event was day before yesterday while I was driving on I-26 at 70mph (speed limit) and nearly caused me to have an accident. The dealership states that they just don't know what the problem is and told me they are speaking with Ford about the problem. I feel that this is a very dangerous problem and I don't think Ford knows how to fix it. Thank you.

- Sugar Grove, VA, USA

problem #174

Jun 122013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles


2011 Explorer was parked, engine running. Attempted to back up and unable to steer vehicle. Power assist failure and power steering fail lights came on. I turned vehicle off, waiting a few minutes, turned vehicle back on, no further warning lights came on. Was able to drive normally. I did not report this incident to Ford. About a month later I was slowing down at an intersection and the same warning lights came on. I was able to pull over to the side with much difficulty in steering. I called my local Ford dealer, they suggested I call road side assistance. I informed them this happened to me a few weeks ago and I was able to drive after turning off the car and restarting. I did just that and once again was able to drive my vehicle. I brought my vehicle to local Ford dealer. Two days later I received a phone call from dealer saying they were not able to reproduce the problem and I could pick up the vehicle. I informed them something was terribly wrong and they needed to do more investigating on this problem before I would pick up my vehicle. Service tech said she would let the service manager know. Please help. Thank you.

- Bonita Springs, FL, USA

problem #173

Jul 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 76,981 miles
Upon backing down driveway, vehicle steering locked up and would not turn. I stopped and turned off the ignition. Then restarted the vehicle. Power steering returned. Left driveway and proceeded to next intersection where steering failed again and locked up. This repeated once again before my husband had to drive vehicle without power steering to the dealership.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #172

Feb 152013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
As I was driving my Ford Explorer one morning on a secondary road probably around 40-50mph, all of the sudden the following warnings were displayed on the dash board: "power steering assist fault" and "service advance track". these warnings made the steering wheel get extremely heavy and difficult to maneuver. I managed to pull over on the side of the road, and turned off the car for a minute. When I started it again, the warnings had disappeared and everything worked fine. The same incident has happened 3 more times within 5 months after the first incident. All of them had happened at different speeds and various traffic conditions. I believe this is a serious failure that should be corrected in order to prevent accidents or fatalities.

- Petersburg, VA, USA

problem #171

Jul 212013


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while making a right turn at 15 mph, the power steering system malfunctioned and the traction control light illuminated. The contact also stated that the power steering system malfunctioned while in reverse. The contact mentioned that both failures occurred while the air conditioner was in use. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who did not give details of the failure. The failure mileage was 41,000.

- Oak Harbor, WA, USA

problem #170

Jul 172013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Driving down the road and a warning flashed about power steering. I had about 3 seconds to get the car to the side of the road to avoid getting killed. Ford knows about this already and is doing nothing" are you kidding me??"

- Hamilton , NJ, USA

problem #169

Jul 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 42,354 miles
This is the second time this issue has occurred. The first time I was able to restart the vehicle and it corrected itself. Currently I cannot physically steer the vehicle and will have to have it towed. We were in the mountains last weekend so this is a very serious issue. I happen to be a male with the capability and capacity to handle extreme situations and I doubt that I could avoid an accident if this were to happen while driving. I was searching for fixes and saw that a few cases had been reported. Make this a priority as the electronics in this vehicle are severely flawed and someone will get killed soon.

- Liberty, MO, USA

problem #168

Jul 182013


  • 14,779 miles
I was making a left turn at approximately 20mph when my power steering went out. Luckily there was no car to my right and I was able to muscle the car to the right side of the road and onto a side street. The dash board was flashing power steering assist fault, then service advance trac. I turned off the car and restarted it and the message cleared. I went straight to the dealership and showed them the pictures, the dealer did a epas diagnosis, it said code C200D:49, and an interactive diagnosis pinpoint test, it said internal electrical failure, they replaced the epas rack and pinion. I received my car back today and it appears and feels like it's turning fine.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #167

Jul 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Coming to a stop at a stop sign, warning messages appeared - power steering assist failure and advance trac control fault. The vehicle lost all power steering assist. With much effort (extremely hard to steer!), I pulled the vehicle to a parking space to diagnose the problem. The advance trac warning message stayed on. The traction control light and the traction control 'off" light also stayed illuminated. I turned the Explorer off. When I restarted, the power steering returned and after a few seconds the advance trac warning message went off. Took vehicle to Ford dealer (alan vigil Ford) the next morning. They told me I needed a new steering rack. Parts will not be in for several days. They told me I could drive the vehicle until the parts arrive. I'll bring it back to them then.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #166

Jul 022013


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the power steering intermittently failed. The contact also mentioned that the service advance track and power steering assist fault lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that there was a gear in steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 44,000.

- Frankfurt, IL, USA

problem #165

Jul 122013


  • 52,000 miles
While driving the vehicle the power steering quite, was able to get vehicle off the road but was very hard to steer. Now Ford want $2119, to repair a manufactured part that is not covered under the vehicles warranty. The vehicle is owned by the disabled veterans of America and used to Transport veterans in operated by the randolph county veteran's office winchester, in. I have taken care that this vehicle is serviced on time and this is a blow to the transportation needs of the veterans of randolph county.

- Winchester, IN, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?