definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,838 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.

2012 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 282016


  • 56,000 miles


The rear brake calipers were not releasing properly after application of the brakes. This led to accelerated wear of the brake pads, overheating of the pads and rotors, and ultimately, non-repairable damage to the rotors. We believe this is a safety issue related to a design flaw that could lead to brake failure, or overheating to the point of creating a fire or explosion hazard.

- Ridgely, MD, USA

problem #12

Sep 082016


  • 51,000 miles
While driving on trip, the calipers seized, the brakes almost caught fire. The caliper and rotor both had to be replaced with only 51,000 miles. Also, the rear brake pads and rotors were also replaced at 27,500 miles.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #11

Apr 052016


  • 17,400 miles
When stepping on the brakes, I could feel and hear a drag. Car has 17,400 miles, right rear pads were metal to metal and cut into the rotor. Rr brake pads were extremely difficult to remove, indicating the pads were seized into the bracket. This wording is taken from the Ford service repair invoice. I have had many cars and never had to replace brakes at a low mileage. This is a safety issue that needs to be looked into.

- East Brunswickj, NJ, USA

problem #10

Sep 022015


  • 32,560 miles


2012 Ford Explorer rear brakes - vehicle was purchased as a certified pre-owned. Part of certifying the vehicle was to replace the rear pads and rotors at 20K miles. At 32K I found myself having to replace pads and rotors again. This is known issue with Ford Explorer where pads are seizing in the calipers and dragging on the rotors causing premature wear. Ford dealers and Ford customer service are refusing to recognize this as problem, and more importantly as a potential safety issue.

- Oak Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #9

Sep 022015


  • miles
2012 Ford Explorer rear brakes - vehicle was purchased as a cpo. Part of certifying the vehicle was to replace the rear pads and cut rotors at 20K miles. Now at 32K I had to replace rear pads and rotors again due to seized calipers that caused the pads to drag and prematurely wear the pads. This is known issue with Ford Explorer where pads are seizing in the calipers and dragging on the rotors causing premature wear. Ford denies that there is any issue, yet the internet is full of stories of people who have experienced this issue. I feel the NHTSA should look into this as a possible safety issue for someone who may not be aware of the problem and be driving around with brakes that will eventually fail them possibly causing an accident.

- Oak Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #8

Aug 282015


  • 90,000 miles
The left rear wheel began making a loud squealing sound (break pads) and when vehicle was at a complete stop, a large cloud of smoke was radiating off of the left rear wheel. The wheel was removed and the brake pads were stuck against the rotor. The brake pads are fairly new (replaced in February 2015). The caliper was removed and a retaining bolt was broken off/stuck inside of the caliper mount. The piston was pushed all the way inside of the caliper and would not extend out. The caliper was leaking brake fluid. The caliper could not be set back in place due to the faulty retaining bolt.

- New Sharon, ME, USA

problem #7

Jun 302015


  • 50,486 miles


Had to have rear both rear calipers, rotors, and brake pads replaced because calipers were hanging up causing the brakes to drag. I also noticed smoke, could feel heat, and smell hot metal coming from right rear wheel on or around 6/14/15. I also noticed the same on 6/26/15. Dealership where I had vehicle repaired said that the left rear brakes pads were worn out, the right rear pads were 2mm from being worn out. Also both rotors were warped and discolored. Vehicle has advancetrac system as standard equipment, because of heat and dragging brakes, the service advancetrac light would come on when the above situation occured. Cost of replacement calipers from Ford was covered under the extended warranty purchased at time of vehicle purchase. The rotors, pads, and installation costs totaled $412.93.

- West Bend, WI, USA

problem #6

Aug 022014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Safety recall notice 14S06/NHTSA recall 14V-286 we received this recall notice in the mail from fmc. Knowing we had a trip coming up, I immediately took the vehicle in to ken garff Ford in Utah for servicing and to have the recall corrected. They supposedly fixed the issue so I went on my way. I drove a single gas tanks worth (appx 400 miles) and then everything went to hell. Power steering failed, traction control failed, terrain management failed. This is the exact problem for which Ford issued the recall in the first place. The Ford dealership is now telling me that they completely fixed the problem and it is my fault that these systems failed. They want me to believe an elaborate tale about how I have driven my Explorer 72000 miles without a problem and suddenly, after the recall gets fixed, I then have that exact problem? that is a sneaky lie that might work on someone more passive. When the vehicle failed we were driving with our family on a vacation and this incident stranded us in meridian, Idaho, where our vehicle currently sits 6 weeks later. It seems to me that when a safety recall is issued and "fixed" it shouldn't create a safety issue for the consumer anymore, which is exactly what this problem caused. It also seems to me that it is awfully convenient for fmc that my car broke immediately after it was "fixed". so now I am liable for the repairs. How nice for fmc. Meanwhile, it took fmc 6 weeks to get the part to the dealership in Idaho so they could "fix" the issue. We'll see how long it holds up this time. I am still waiting to get my car back.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #5

May 162014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,550 miles
I was on vacation and I started to get a very loud grinding noise from the rear brakes every time I started I had to put the brakes on. I decided to end the vacation early and headed home. Before I got home I had to stop at a Ford dealer about 300 miles from home. The guy at the dealer test drove the car and then inspected the brakes. He told me the rear brakes pads and rotors had to be replaced because they were worn to metal on metal. I had them fix the rear brakes for $324.13. He lubed the calipers and since then I have had no problem. I think the brakes should last longer than 30,550 mile on a $46,000 vehicle.

- Rapid River, MI, USA

problem #4

Jun 152013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,702 miles
The vehicle power steering and power brakes shut off while driving making pulling over and stopping very difficult for a mature male driver. I find it difficult I can only imagine how difficult and dangerous this could be for my wife or any smaller or less experienced driver. This happened multiple times during regular driving on fairly smooth surface normal conditions.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 072012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 14,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle independently engaged the brakes. The vehicle was designed with a unique braking program designed to engage with the cruise control when the vehicle was approaching a second vehicle. The system engaged despite there not being a vehicle in front of the contact?S vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed there was no remedy for the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 14,000 and the current mileage was 28,000....updated 12-24-13 the consumer stated the adaptive cruise control worked fine when he was following a vehicle in his lane. However, when he was in a separate lane, passing a large semi with large bright aluminum or light colored sides, on a straight highway without curves, the vehicle occasionally applied the brakes as if he were following in the same lane as the truck. The consumer believed the radar sensors on the vehicle were reflecting from the large bright sides on some trucks.

- Shady Cove, OR, USA

problem #2

May 282011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the ABS brakes suddenly engaged independently, causing the steering wheel to pull to the right and become difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician replaced all the sensors and the wiring in the ABS system. The failure continued after the repair. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 7,500.

- East Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #1

Nov 132012


  • 34,700 miles
I started my vehicle as usual, had just turned left off my street onto a two lane road, and approximately 0.25miles later I lost power steering. As I was accelerating from my turn, going approximately 40mph I felt the brake pedal pulsate and the steering wheel jerk a little. Immediately I had an alert on my dash "power steering fault." I attempted to press the brake pedal with no success and there was no resistance. I put it in neutral and coasted to the safest parking lot (approx. 1 mile). I shut the vehicle down and restarted but I still didn't have power steering however I regained brakes. I drove the dealership (3miles away). They shut the vehicle down then restarted and everything appeared to be operating correctly. Later after several test drives the Ford mechanic had my vehicle re-inact my same events for him.

- Grand Ledge, MI, USA

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