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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #47

May 022013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 47,627 miles


I was driving when the steering wheel jerked. The steering immediately became very hard to operate and the engine appeared to lose power. Indicator lights came on about the same time the steering jerked. The lights said "service advance trac" and "terrain management system fault". I had to pull of the road and just trying to make to left turns to pull into a parking lot took all the strength I had in both arms. My turn signals would also not work. I even tried turning the 4 wheel drive knob, as I noticed that the lights were not working on that as well and nothing would light up or show up on the dash screen. I turned off the car while I pulled out my owners manual to look up information on these indicators. After letting the car sit for a while, I restarted the car and the indicator lights were still there. I called Ford road side assistance and had the car towed. I also was put in a rental car. Then today the Ford dealer told me that since my car had 47, 627 miles on it that this problem wasn't covered under warranty. They told me only if it happened in first 36,000 miles. They also said I would have to pay $1865 for a new rack and pinion steering or they would clear the code and I could chance it to see if it happens again. They said it was common and most times you just need to let the car cool down and restart it. This is very upsetting- they knew this was a common problem and then I investigated this further online and found many other people reporting the same issues. Some in just the first month of owning the vehicle. This is the same thing that happened to me with this vehicle and the engine fan not working causing the car to overheat in the first 6 months of owning it. Later I got a recall on it. This is very frustrating- I have a car that is 18 months old and I have to put $1865 into it to fix a common problem/defect. This is a serious defect!

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #46

Apr 222013


  • 20,918 miles
My wife was getting on the freeway with left blinker on to merge lanes and the power steering assist light came on the dashboard and then the power steering quit. My wife with a fully loaded car with kids on board was thankfully able to slowly muscle the car on to the shoulder. She then powered the car off and then restarted it which seemed to fix the problem. Luckily this incident did not happen on curvy road or there would have been a major accident. Ford, please fix this problem. Would hate to see someone get hurt and the Explorer name damaged all over again due to another very serious issue.

- Auburn, CA, USA

problem #45

Apr 132013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
I was traveling at 55 mph on route 322 in pa. I was in the left lane, the car just turned off and the power steering fail light came on also the systemtrac error light came on. I had no steering. I had to pull in front of a semi in order to get to the side of the road. I almost got killed. It is currently at sloan Ford in columbia tn. They say it is the rack and pinion steering. The car is 1 year and 6 months old. How does the steering to so soon" they want to charge me 1900. I have looked online and there are many Ford Explorer from 2011 and 2012 with the same issue. This vehicle needs to be recalled. Why hasn't it been done yet"

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #44

Apr 132013


  • 37,000 miles


I was driving the car down a busy highway when it turned off and I received a power steering fault warning. I had to pull of the road and almost got in an accident. After that the power steering would not work on the vehicle. It was impossible to turn. I googled this and noted this is a problem that you are looking at: This is from the huffington post: Federal safety regulators are investigating complaints that the power steering can fail on 2011 and 2012 Ford Explorer SUVS. Fifteen drivers have complained that the popular Explorer can suddenly lose its power steering assist, making it harder to steer the SUVS. It was extremely dangerous. I purchased this car a year and a half ago. Ford refuses to cover it because it has not officially been recalled. I am lucky I didnt get killed.

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #43

Apr 012013


  • 17,412 miles
Lost power steering while driving. Two warning lights came on-terrain management system fault and service advance trac. Power steering returned after shutting engine of and restarting. Took to dealer and they found two warning codes on the computer, but Ford said problem had to be reverified before they could repair it.

- Manteca, CA, USA

problem #42

Jan 112013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the engine was started and both the power steering and power assist warning lights illuminated as steering wheel became hard to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who inspected the vehicle and located the failure at the rack and pinion, which failed due to an electrical shortage. The vehicle was not repaired because the rack and pinion was on back order. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 20,000.... updated 02/27/13 the steering rack and pinion was replaced. Updated 03/04/13

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #41

Sep 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 10,600 miles


While driving uphill on a narrow mountain road I lost all power steering assist with a simultaneous audible warning and a dash visual warning that my power steering assist had failed. With difficulty I was able to exit the road into a private driveway. I turned the vehicle off. In a few moments I started the vehicle again and everything functioned normally. I took the vehicle to my Ford dealer on or about September 10, 2012. They told me I needed a new steering assembly. It has been on back-order since then. No additional faults have occurred. The vehicle now has over 12,000 miles on it.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #40

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

problem #39

Oct 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,888 miles
Ford Motor Company October 18, 2012 while driving my 2012 Ford Explorer, the power steering unit quit working as I was turning into the school parking lot. I almost hit a gate post and had to backup with a ten car line behind me. The steering continued powerless for the entire trip home, about ten miles or 15 minutes. After parking overnight in my drive, I started the SUV to drive to the dealership and the power assist steering worked as normal. This could cause a serious accident if turning a sharp curve and going into the other lane of traffic or traveling around one of the mountainous curves we encountered this summer, with no guardrail and a hundred foot drop into the pacific ocean rocks of the northern California coast. If an accident did occur the Explorer would check out to be mechanically trouble fee and the cause would be listed as operator error. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #38

Sep 072012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,500 miles
Was driving on straight roadway when warning lights came on saying power steering assist failure and advance trac failure. Lost power steering, advance trac, blinkers, etc. Shutting vehicle down and restarting corrected the problem. Second time this happened. First time was approx. Two months prior while in reverse. Problem was corrected the same way and didn't think much of it until the second incident. Dealer said rack and pinion assembly needs to be replaced. Parts are on back order & may not be available until late October 2012. Serious safety issue. Ford needs to issue a recall.

- Sayre, PA, USA

problem #37

Sep 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 18,000 miles


Driving on rt 495 when the warning lights activated and a warning came on in the message center saying "service advance track." I started to pull over to the side of the road and discovered my power steering wasn't working. After I pulled over I stopped the car I looked in the message center I saw that the advance track wasn't selected. I tried to select it but wasn't able to. I turned the car off and back on a couple times and the problem cleared. Called Ford dealership and they didn't seem to want to help because "turning the car off and back on fixed the problem." I pushed them to get an appointment, they called me saying that the power steering module was bad and needed to be replaced.

- Charlotte Hall, MD, USA

problem #36

Jul 092012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
Power steering assist was lost, suddenly and drastically increasing the strength needed to turn the steering wheel.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #35

Aug 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
Power steering has failed on a number of occasions resulting in driver having to manually steer. Steering fails when auto in motion. Occurrence when speeds anywhere from 10-60mph. Very dangerous. One has to pull over (if possible) and turn off auto and then re-start. Issue has occurred four times in last month. Only 10,000 miles on auto now.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #34

Jul 182012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 21,000 miles
I bought a certified preowned Ford Explorer with 19,900 miles in last week of June 2012. Within one month, I had multiple incidence ( roughly ten times)of the vehicle power steering assist failing while driving. It would fail both at complete stops, slow speeds and once while exiting a highway offramp at approximately 25mph. Once the vehicle was restarted the system would reboot and the problem would be temporarily corrected. The local Ford dealer has had the vehicle since first week of August and is now telling me it may take until November to correct this issue. They have been telling me the needed part is on "back order".that is all I have heard.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #33

Sep 052012


  • 3,595 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the power steering failed and the power assist default warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact restarted the vehicle which functioned properly. The dealer was contacted who stated that the vehicle was not included on any recalls and advised the contact to bring in the vehicle in order to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,595.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #32

Aug 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Car's power steering went out making it very difficult to drive. My wife was able to pull over into a lot and called me. The car was a few miles from a Ford dealership (northgate Ford near cincinnati, Ohio). After starting it back up, I was able to drive the car to the dealership. The dealer called me back that night (Aug 6th) and stated they confirmed the problem and the car can't be driven until this is fixed. The car has now been in the shop for more then 30 days with no fix and the date to get parts keeps slipping. The last I heard the earliest they will have parts is Nov 2012. That will means the car will be in the shop for 90 to 120 days waiting on parts. I see articles about a 2011 Ford Explorer power steering issue that seems to fit what we are seeing on our 2012. I have contacted the BBB and I'm looking into Ohio's lemon law.

- Harrison, OH, USA

problem #31

Aug 172012


  • 10,317 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while traveling 45 mph, the power steering failed and the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who confirmed that the power steering rack failed and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10,317 and the current mileage was 10,322.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #30

Aug 102012


  • 11,000 miles
I was driving down the freeway with my son in the car and preparing to exit when the steering failed. I was unable to move the steering wheel more than an inch in either direction. With my hazard lights on I was able to pull over. There were several failure messages, the two most prominent being power steering assist and advance trac error. This could have been very dangerous. The car has now been at the dealership for three weeks. They are unable to get the part and have no timeline on when it will be available.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #29

Aug 242012


  • 10,450 miles
While the vehicle is moving, the power steering assist failed and the steering wheel becomes extremely difficult to turn. It is virtually impossible to turn the steering wheel, only with extreme difficulty and approximately a tenth of a mile of straight roadway was I able to steer the car to the shoulder. Turning the car off will temporarily re-engage the power steering. However, the problem continually re-occurs without any warning. The vehicle is not controllable at highway speeds or on curvy roads.

- Syosset, NY, USA

problem #28

Jul 272012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
On July 27th, while driving on the highway, at approx. 60 mph, I received error messages regarding the trac assist and power steering assist. At that time, I noticed that the steering had completely locked up on me. Luckily I was on straight-A-way, and there was no one in the lane next to me, so I was able to ease on over to the shoulder. I called the closest dealership, who advised me to turn the car off and on, and bring it in. In the meantime, my husband had sent me the arfc.org link showing several others who had the same issue. The tech at the dealership basically blew me off and said "well, you can post anything on the internet." The next day, I was told that the entire steering mechanism would have to be replaced, and it took five days to get the parts in and the vehicle repaired and back on the road. It appears this is a known issue, but Ford is failing to do anything about it, as far as recalls, etc.

- Lutz, FL, USA

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