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 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #67

Feb 182014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


While traveling 70 mph on a highway steering wheel locked up, power steering assist light and traction control lights started flashing. Vehicle began to swerve as brakes were applied. Was able to coast off of highway with much effort and pull into a parking lot to call for assistance. Vehicle taken to dealership. Originally told it "sounds like a sensor has gone bad." Notified today that rack and pinion assembly must be replaced for an approximate cost of $2300. Basic warranty has expired and this is not covered under power train warranty. This vehicle is only 2 years old!!! also notified that there is a recall on the sync system that I was never made aware of. Have had this particular vehicle in the shop 5 times since I got it but can't afford to replace it!

- Friendswood, TX, USA

problem #66

May 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 13,490 miles
May 2013 (13490 miles) was driving 30 35 mph power steering went out, traction control light went on, I turned off and restarted. All was ok. Took to dealer and dealer replaced the steering rack December 23,2013, (21173 miles) was driving 40 mph power steering went out, traction control light went on. Would not reset by turning on and off. Drove to dealer with no power steering and dealer reset computer and sent me on my way. January 17,2014 (21808 miles) was driving 35 mph power steering went out, traction light went on would not reset by turning on and off. Drove to dealer with no power steering. Dealer reset computer and sent me on my way.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #65

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 #64

Dec 052013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving 50 mph when the advance tracking warning lamp illuminated and the power steering failed. The vehicle was taken the dealer for inspection. The contact was informed that the electronic power assistance system failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 37,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #63

Aug 102013

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
This is a continual problem report one 8/10/13 19,000 miles: Power steering light came on and power steering went out while driving vehicle <15 mph and back ceiling light came on and wouldn't go out. Ford: 8/13/2013 said ceiling light shortened out battery and caused power steering to go out - ordered light bulb came back in 3 days to replace light bulb - they said power steering was fixed. Report two 9/23/13 23,891 miles: Power steering light came on while parked. Ford: Did diagnostic said the issue was most likely wiring and said issue was fixed and I left with car report three 10/02/13 24,280 miles: Power steering light came on dashboard and power steering went out while driving on a highway 65 mph, pulled off hwy. Reported incident to Ford. Ford: Ran diagnostic, said issue was motherboard. Ordered part and I returned in a few days to replace computer board. Told issue was resolved and left with my car. Report four 10/31/2013 25,295 miles: Power steering yellow light came on dashboard as I started vehicle in parking lot. Power steering had not gone out only had warning light showing. I drove a few minutes home without the steering going out. I started car about an hour later in garage and power steering was completely out. Bright red lights on dashboard. Warning light said something to the tune of 'report power steering immediately". Ford: Kept car for 4 full days while we drove rental and was told they have no solution and Ford regional's engineers supposedly said 'this is not an issue they have seen before' (even though there are almost 100 reports on the NHTSA website about this exact issue) and to report if happens again. Report five 11/28/13 27,000 miles: Power steering went out while starting vehicle in garage dashboard light up with red warning signs. Have to wait until after holiday to report to service.

- Mascoutah, IL, USA

problem #62

Nov 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Steering suddenly became extremely hard and stiff to the point where I could not make a turn of more than 10% at any speed. Luckily I was only going 25mph at the time of the incident so I was able to gradually guide the car to the side of the road bringing it to a full stop. I tried resetting the "error condition" by restarting the car, but the steering became only marginally better. I was however able to drive the car down the side street at 5-10mph to my house which was a few short blocks away. Since the car was undrivable, I had it towed to all american Ford in paramus NJ, for service. Where they claimed that they have only heard of one or two cases such as mine. I directed them to this site to help them with their research, which they of course they were not interested in.

- Ridgewood, NJ, USA

problem #61

Oct 212013


  • 15,997 miles


Power steering failed during a turn making controlling the vehicle difficult. Warning lights for power steering assist, traction control and terrain monitor came on. After shutting down the car and restarting the vehicle the problem was cleared.

- Massapequa, NY, USA

problem #60

Oct 122013


  • miles
While driving on the highway steering wheel became stiff and a message appeared "power steering assist failed". vehicle was very hard to steer but I managed to turn on flashers, reduce speed and steer safely to the side of the road. I turned the vehicle off and called for assistance. While waiting for help I restarted the vehicle to try to maneuver to a safer roadside position. At that time the power steering seemed to be working again so I drove carefully home. I then visited the Ford dealership where no error codes or error history was found and they found no problem and sent me on my way.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

problem #59

Sep 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Power steering fault with advance trac and terrain management faults. Power steering was lost. This has occurred multiple times at low, medium and high speeds. This is a serious safety issue. Vehicle was shut off and then restarted and the faults were gone and power steering was restored.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #58

Jul 122013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Power assist fault, service advancetrac, terrain management system fault. Disables power steering and terrain management systems. Vehicle immediately becomes extremely hard to steer and very dangerous. Has occurred 3 times and is a serious safety issue.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #57

Aug 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


After having multiple issues with the power steering failing while driving our 2012 Ford Explorer, the power steering finally gave out completely. The vehicle now has no power steering and is very hard to drive. This has also affected the electronic traction control. The vehicle is less than 2 years old, so this is very unacceptable. Ford needs to find a solution to this before someone gets in a serious accident and some is seriously injured or worse.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #56

Aug 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 46,461 miles
The power steering suddenly went off. This happened twice in 24 hours. I took it to the Ford dealer right away. I am glad that my 16 year old driver was not at the wheel when this happened. This is unacceptable for a one-year old new car. Safety must come first. Repair cost is estimated at $2200. Please look into a recall, as I have heard this is very common. Please work with Ford to remedy this obvious mechanical flaw. Thank you.

- Hot Springs, AR, USA

problem #55

Jul 252013


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the steering wheel seized as the traction control warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering unit needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 39,000 and the current mileage was 40,000.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #54

Jul 262013


  • 40,102 miles
I was driving the vehicle down the highway when the steering went stiff and several lights on the dash came on. I immediately slowed down and struggled to steer the vehicle of the side of the road. Once to the side of the road, I called the dealer they acknowledged this a common problem in the new Explorer and that if I turned the vehicle off and restarted it would reset the system and to bring it to dealer immediately. I arrived at the dealer (after it happened a second time) where they informed I would need a new rack and pinion. I don't mind paying for the replacement part but this is a huge safety issue. If I had been going through a turn at those speeds, my kids and I would have been killed. If the dealer and Ford know there is a problem why hasn't there been a recall. Do we have to wait until someone dies?

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #53

Jul 082013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Loss of power steering while driving - service advance trac & terrain mgmt system fault warnings has happened twice in the last 2 weeks. Problem clears after restarting car. Would be very dangerous if my wife or kids were driving the vehicle.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #52

Jun 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 53,260 miles
We purchased our vehicle in August 2011. In June of 2013 the power steering gave out. We dropped it off at our local Ford dealership on June 18. Two days later the mechanic informs me that they could not figure out what was wrong and had to call Ford Motor Company directly. They informed the mechanic that our vehicle's power steering rack (epas) needed to be replaced and it is not covered under the powertrain warranty. They charged us nearly $2000 to fix the car. Which was approx. 5% of the total cost of the car. The car was under 2 years old and only 53K miles. We feel ripped off and used. We are loyal Ford customers with this being our 3rd Ford in 10 years. We feel it should be covered under either a powertrain or manufacturers warranty.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #51

Jun 202013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
While my wife was driving our 2012 Ford Explorer, the power steering went out and the "service trak system" error message appeared. She was on a major freeway and had to manually pull off the freeway to safety, which was very difficult with out the power steering. Once she turned off the car and restarted it, the error went away and power steering was normal. This is a dangerous situation when driving on a major freeway at or above 55 mph. This is the second time this has happened.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #50

Jun 212013


  • 14,000 miles
I was driving in a parking garage and the terrain management system and power steering systems became disabled. The car was very difficult to handle once the power steering was lost. When I parked the car, shut the car off and restarted, the power steering appeared to be back but the terrain management system continued to show an error. I will be contacting the dealer today. I have seen similar complaints listed here - I hope Ford is addressing appropriately.

- Wethersfield, CT, USA

problem #49

Jun 052013


  • 46,000 miles
Power steering went out and service trac system error message appeared. Vehicle went into manual steering, which was so stiff, my wife was unable to steer the vehicle. After cycling the ignition, the car returned to normal. This concerns me as the safety of my family was at stake. If my wife had been on a busy highway, she might have been in an accident. Ford knows of this problem with their 2011 and up Explorer. Ford should recall these vehicles, as they pose a safety risk.

- Lagrange, KY, USA

problem #48

May 182013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I bought my 2012 Ford Explorer in January 2012, and had no problems for several months. Recently, when starting the vehicle the "power steering assist fault" warning started coming on. After turning off the ignition and re-starting the engine, the warning went away and I regained power steering. About 6 days ago, I drove 15 miles to work, and the same "power steering assist fault" warning came on and stayed on - even after recycling the engine. The "service advance trac" warning also stayed on and I lost the power steering. This is unbelievable, the dealer said that they had to replace the "power-steering gear box", and the part is two days away. I saw someone posted that Ford doesn't consider this a safety issue because you can still steer it. If I have trouble steering it, I hate to think what my wife or daughters would experience. This vehicle isn't like a regular full size car or truck, I am 6'2" and weigh about 270, and when the power steering failed, I could not steer it to park the vehicle in reverse. It was very difficult to steer at any speed under 5mph. If this happened while driving at speed, a person could lose control. This is obviously not a minor fix on a new car. Looking at the posts, Ford needs to address this issue asap. I asked the dealer what this repair would cost if it weren't under warranty. I was told a couple of thousand dollars. If he is correct, that is ridiculous on a 18 month vehicle. I didn't buy this to be a money pit.

- Jacksonville , FL, USA

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