really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,895 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #87

May 262015


  • 56,000 miles


On my way to work the service power steering light came on in my 2012 Ford Explorer. When I got work I called the Ford dealer they said bring the vehicle in the steering could go out. Later the same day I took it to the dealer and the steering went out in the 2.5 mile trip to get to there. I was going very slow and managed to maintain control of the car, it was difficult and scary, no hydraulics any more these systems are all electronic. The dealer has had the vehicle for a week and has not been able to recreate or diagnosis what's wrong and therefore how to fix it. Ford has been absolutely no help will not return phone calls, nothing. So today they stop the car rental coverage and shove an undiagnosed safely issue back on me. I really do not want to drive this vehicle not knowing if the steering might go out at any time. I found on the internet there have been steering recalls on this vehicle make, model and year, but apparently only those assembled in Chicago. Ford has not issued a recall on this vehicle.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #86

May 292015


  • 42,000 miles
I went to crank my car and when I did I immediately received a power steer fail assist notice. My car had no power steering. I was able to slowly drive to a parking space and review my owner's manual. I let the car set for 10 seconds and then cranked again in hopes that it would reset. It didn't. I was able to drive home and park the car. This morning I took the car to hixson Ford in monroe, la. By that time I had received a traction error on the dashboard and also was unable to use my signal light. I was told all of this was in relation to the power steering and the need to replace the steering column for a price of $1794. It appears that Ford is very aware of the problems of the power steering failure. Why hasn't there been a larger recall? my car is not one of the 2012 models that was recalled. Just out of warranty and then this. I think further investigation is needed in the problems with the power steer failure.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #85

May 292015


  • 42,000 miles
I am unable to enter the date of 5/29/2015 which was the date this occurred. The car was driving good and I stopped to shop. I came back to the car, cranked the car and immediately received the message of power assist failure. I tried to back up and realized that I had no power steering. I was able to get to a parking spot and checked the service manual. I followed the instructions and hoped that the power steering would reset as was told in the owner's manual. I was able to drive slowly and get home. Today I took my car to hixson Ford, monroe, la and had it checked. At this point I was receiving an additional error messages related to traction. Also, my signal lights would not work. I had read last night that there were some recalls on this problem related to Ford Explorer. The technician checked my car and told me we would have to replace the steering shaft/gears for $1,794. I had to leave my car at the dealership because it is not driveable. I would like for you to check and see if this is an on-going problem for cars with VIN numbers not included in the recall. I was told the recall was based on where the car was manufactured. It appears to me that Ford has consistently had a problem with the power assist failure on 2012 Ford Explorer.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #84

May 252015


  • 60,000 miles


Started car and power steering assist failure warning came on. You could not steer at all. Had to turn car off and on a couple times to get computer to reset. Cars 3 yrs old just out of warranty and Ford won't cover it even though steering could lock up as your driving.

- Manteca, CA, USA

problem #83

May 012015

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 50,100 miles
I received a recall notice a while ago and took my car in right away for the software fix. Not long after that, I started having problems where the power steering intermittently didn't seem to be working. 2 weeks ago I took it to the dealer to be checked. They said they found no problem. 7 days later I got in my car and immediately got a power steering assist fault error on the dashboard and couldn't turn the steering wheel. I had it towed to the dealership but once it was there, the power steering was working fine. Now, 5 days later, my car is still there and the only thing they keep telling me is that they have not been able to replicate the problem so they can't do anything. I sent the service rep a link to multiple websites where many people have had this exact same problem which can only be repaired by replacing the steering gear assembly but they made it clear that they won't fix it until they see it happen for themselves even though they retrieved the error code from the diagnostics in the car. I contacted a Ford rep directly and got an email message from the regional rep who also said that if the dealership cannot replicate the problem there is no repair. So, unless it happens again while they have it I'll have to just drive it and hope that when it does happen again it isn't in a situation that injures me or a member of my family. Also, if it does happen again while I'm driving but doesn't go out permanently it doesn't matter because they'll only fix it if it happens to them no matter what codes are present in the system. So it appears that intermittent loss of power steering is ok for Ford since they'll only repair it if they experience it no matter what the car diagnostics say! how many Ford owners are on the road now just waiting for their power steering to go completely out" how is this a safe policy" I shouldn't be afraid to drive my car!!!

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #82

Dec 192014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 46,100 miles
In a parking lot on a Friday Dec.19 at 6am, the steering assist dash warning light came on, and in same instance, steering locked up. I was unable to steer, but was able to bring my 2012 Ford Explorer limited to a stop. Restarting the car enabled steering. I notified my spouse who called dealership and arranged for a service visit the next Monday. Dealer honored recall ( 14S06 electric power steering ) for issue by flashing the software. My 2012 Ford Explorer was presented to me as repaired & fixed and ready to drive in a safe manner. Same event occurred Jan. 8 at 8pm in a parking lot. I took my Explorer to same dealer the next morning. The dealer called and stated the rack & pinion and several steering modules required replacement. Dealer then stated you only get one (1) Ford recall service for an event and any further work would not be covered by Ford Motor Company. After the first repair attempt which was not a solution, all costs ($1700-$2300 for rack & pinion/associated parts contrasted to a virtually no cost software update done under the recall as a potential fix(thus using up your recall and closing your case, when the recall addresses the parts failure) are borne by the vehicle owner even if it still a recall event. Dealer did state they would check what Ford would do since the second event occurred 2 weeks and 600 miles later. Basically, Ford has developed a policy to circumvent covering the cost of a mandated safety recall. An internet search shows this is a business-as-usual practice for Ford for this steering lock up recall. Bottom line - Ford is keeping unsafe vehicles, which have a recall notice, on the road as people who don't have the funds or stamina to fight Ford, leave the Ford dealer service department with the same unrepaired safety defect present.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #81

Oct 222014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


Power steering assist failure light came on and vehicle steering locked up. Was told by Ford dealer it is unsafe to drive this vehicle yet they want me to drive it to them to be repaired which they are going to charge me for. I feel this should be covered by Ford in full.

- Marshall, TX, USA

problem #80

Mar 262013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
Power steering loss while driving. Steering becomes difficult. Must shut off car and restart to recover power steering. Happens often. Taken in for service and source of problem was not isolated or fixed.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #79

Aug 132013


  • 20,000 miles
The power steering pump quit working 2 times on my mothers SUV. Vehicle was taken to Ford twice because they did not fix it the first time. Saw recall but Explorer was not in the list. I am a mechanical engineer and was driving the vehicle on both occurrences. It is my ethical responsibility to report this issue. I also work in automotive field and I know this was a failure of the power steering. I do not want my mother or any individual hurt due to lack of investigation. I expect a response from your organization. The dealership can pull up all info, a rental was provided. I was barely able to manage the vehicle to the side of the road, a weaker driver, physically, would have had an accident.

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #78

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 #77

Jul 252014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles


Received recall letter from Ford to get my vehicle in immediately. Called sacramento downtown Ford and spoke with david. David said "sorry, can't help you right now as they have not sent us the parts or the software". he added, "call back in a couple of weeks". I was shocked that nothing was offered. Website even states may cause inability to steer your car and letter even states may cause an accident. But they can't help me right now? so disappointed in Ford! if something happens to me or my family Ford will pay.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #76

Jul 152014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I was stopped and the car was idling in drive (I was braking) when the car beeped and displayed two warnings, one about power assist failure or off and the other about advancetrac service (I don't remember the exact wording of the errors). The power steering was no longer working in the car. I put the car in park and turned it off and on again. After it turned on it still said the errors but I was able to move the steering wheel, and when I put it in drive and moved up a bit the errors also went away. I called the dealership and they were able to tell me there is an active recall but that they didn't know anything on how to fix it what it was, or any type of remedy or reassurance. They said the soonest they could take the vehicle to look at it was a week away.

- Palmer, AK, USA

problem #75

Jun 252013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 20,420 miles
Driving to work on June 25, 2013 (20,420 miles) on the highway going 55 mph when a "power steering assist" fault code popped onto the screen and with very limited steering capabilities was able to pull off of the highway, turn off the engine for 10 minutes and the error corrected itself. On May 9, 2014 (30,513 miles), after coming off a winding road turned onto a straight lane, power steering assist fault code popped up again, was able to drive it home. On May 23, 2014 (31,002 miles), got into my parked vehicle turned on engine and the power steering assist code popped up and I wasn't able to turn the wheel at all, had to turn off the engine and restart it again. When the first incident happened on June 25, I contact my local dealership and I was instructed "if it happens again, bring in your vehicle." For the second incident, I took my vehicle to the dealership and because there was no fault code showing at that time, they couldn't find anything wrong and was told "if it happens again, don't turn off your engine and drive straight to the nearest dealership so they can retrieve the codes." My main concern is not being to control the vehicle if it happens again and causing an accident.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #74

Mar 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,257 miles
Ford Explorer 2012 with vibration and grinding sound in the steering column and loss of all steering. Initially infrequent however after two years the occurrence is common at all speeds and road conditions. I have experienced sudden and temporary loss of all steering on the interstate highways. I took my vehicle to three separate Ford dealers four times for this problem. I was told by the service adviser there were no diagnostic errors and the problem could not be replicated in a test drive by the service technician. When I returned to my local Ford dealer in may, 2014 I brought website reports of other drivers experiencing steering gear failure in their 2011 and 2012 Ford Explorer. This vehicle is currently waiting at the Ford dealer (over two weeks) for replacement parts.

- Bluffton, SC, USA

problem #73

Apr 292014

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
On three different occasions within the last month the power steering fault assist has gone off. Twice while driving and once when first staring the vehicle. I took it to the shop and they drove it for a few days but can't fix the problem unless something is recalled or the problem happens while they have the vehicle. This is to dangerous of an issue to happen while driving when my two small children are in the car.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #72

May 092014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 28,498 miles
While driving down the interstate my power steering went out. It was very hard to maneuver my car to the exit ramp and almost impossible to turn on smaller streets.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #71

Apr 152014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
This is the second incident with the steering assembly. In August of 2012 my power steering failed and the steering assembly was replaced after a two month wait for parts. (first clue there was a serious problem) it was repaired and 6 months later it has failed again. I am a police officer and we have purchased Ford Explorer as patrol vehicle. I have written a letter to the police association with my concerns about officer safety issue. When is NHTSA going to step up to the plate and recognize the serious safety issues with this flaw. This problem could have been buried years ago, but with social media the problem is exposed. Your credibility as an investigative body is certainly at question. The fact recalls were forced on Toyota and you blatantly ignore the issues with Ford is an integrity issue with your abilities to be impartial. My neighbors lost a 4 year old son in the old Chrysler mini van issues with the rear latch problem. It was uncovered that Chrysler was aware of this problem and was exposed by the media. Dealing with Ford head office gives me the impression that they are not concerned about customer safety or my concerns. I wonder how they were so empowered. There are many articles since 2012 about NHTSA investigating this issue. Influenced by corporate power or an inept investigative body. I think both.

- Caledon East, ID, USA

problem #70

Apr 122014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
My wife was driving our 2012 Ford Explorer down the highway when the steering went stiff (power steering went off), causing the vehicle to swerve into the other lane, after which the terrain management system fault light came on. I happened to be in our other car following directly behind her and was able to watch the incident happen. She immediately slowed down and steered the vehicle to the side of the road. I switched vehicles with her and drove the Explorer to our house, with no additional trouble. After restarting the vehicle, the fault light was no longer on. Our vehicle is at the dealer now, and they could not find any issues. I did a google search and found this webpage, which clearly shows that this issue is wide spread and could easily cause a fatality: www.aboutautomobile.com/complaint/2012/Ford/Explorer/steering fortunately, my wife was only traveling 45 mph and there was no other vehicle in the other lane when the car pulled out of the lane. We have not received a safety recall for this issue yet, but we recommend NHTSA contacts Ford immediately to inquire on what they are doing to identify the defect and implement an immediate solution. This issue, if not corrected, may result in a fatality - especially if the vehicle is being operated by a young, elderly or distracted driver.

- Fort Benning, GA, USA

problem #69

Feb 182014


  • 51,805 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 mph the power steering suddenly malfunctioned making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. The contact indicated that the disabled air bag and disabled traction control sensor lights illuminated during the incident. The vehicle was turned off and back on several times in order to correct the defect. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the defect but no solution was offered. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 51,805.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #68

Mar 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when turning the steering wheel left or right, a grinding noise was heard without warning. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the rack and pinion needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 44,000.

- Rock Port , MO, USA

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