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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Aug 212012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 12,800 miles


I was slowing down as I was approaching a traffic signal and heard a warning chime. Initially, vehicle did not show any signs of problem, but got a warning message of power steering failure (or something similar) and another one indicating to service the advance track system. The advance track indicator light went out on the dial, too. After a few hundred feet the power steering was completely gone and I had to use significant effort to steer the vehicle into my driveway. Fortunately, I was only 2 miles from home with few turns to get there. Almost couldn't make the turn into my driveway. Started & restarted the vehicle several times and eventually all problems and warning lights disappeared. Drove the vehicle a few miles and all seems ok. Will update with any additional issues after 8/21/12. Vehicle was purchased used on 8/15/12 with 12,700 miles. Called dealer and they said to bring in if problems persist.

- Eagleville, PA, USA

problem #26

Aug 192012


  • 20,038 miles
I was driving home from a movie on pacific coast hwy in huntington beach, ca and all of sudden the power steering assist fault warning came on, I hadn't lost complete function of the steering but it was about a half a mile down the road that it got almost impossible to steer. I called the dealership and they told me to tow it to the dealership as soon as possible. I didn't know that there was a short term fix by turning off and then turning back on again to make the warning light go away. Tomorrow taking in my car to dealer to get it fix.... now before it ends in crash or someone killed.!!!!!! I have the ecoboost I4 cylinder engine.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #25

Jul 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
I had a customer whose 2012 Explorer had power steering failure (July 15, 2012). The vehicle was still running but he could not turn the steering wheel. I contacted Ford mtr co and ask if they were having issues like this. They said no. I told them they may want to see all the complaints about the problem on line and they said again they did not have a problem. I called other dealers and found that all of them had been having the problems and was told how to correct it. I contacted Ford again and received authorization to make the repairs, ordered the parts and found out they were on national back order. After waiting 31 days I called Ford again and was told my parts order had expired (I personally followed up on the order everyday) and I would have to reorder. I can't understand why Ford did not advise me of the problem when I first ask....can you spell cover up? I have supplied my customer a vehicle and Ford has authorized up to $2000 for rental. From looking at the back order status, I would guess it will be another 30 days before we receive the parts. I would suggest that Ford issue a recall as it is extremely dangerous (it happened twice to my customer) and some one is going to get killed. Good luck finding the parts. Park your vehicle and have Ford tow it in. Initially my customer thought that his vehicle had gone dead but that is not the case he just could not steer it. If it happens to you...park the vehicle....learn about your state's lemon law. My customer will be with out their vehicle for over 2 months but since it did not fail during the first warranty year, he is not covered by the lemon law in our state.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #24

Aug 012012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,060 miles


As I was backing my vehicle up there was a chime and an error message displayed on my left screen instrument panel telling me that there was a power steering assist fault. I restarted the vehicle and the fault did not return. Two or three days later as I was driving, it happened again. I was going 15mph and out of nowhere, the error popped up on the instrument panel and I couldn't make a turn. I restarted the vehicle in the middle of the road and the fault cleared. 8 Aug 2012 I was driving down the road and it happened again. Again I was doing 15mph. I attempted to restart the vehicle but this time the fault did not go away. I then drove the vehicle back home and since then I haven't been able to clear the fault long enough to drive it to the dealership. Luckily for me, all of these occurrences happened in my neighborhood. Had I been on the interstate or driving fast, I wouldn't have been able to make a turn and could've hurt myself or someone else. I contacted the dealership and they will be looking at the vehicle tomorrow. The only problem that I have now, "other than the fact that I have a brand new $46,000 paper weight" is figuring out how I will get the vehicle to the dealership.

- Fort Knox, KY, USA

problem #23

Aug 012012


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that, the power steering seized and he was unable to turn the steering wheel in any direction. The contact was able to temporarily remedy the problem by shutting off and restarting the vehicle. The failure recurred without any warning. The vehicle was not taken to dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The current and failure mileage was 11,000.

- Fort Knox, KY, USA

problem #22

Jun 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
I was driving my Ford Explorer on a road when a "service advance trak" warning appeared on the left hand dash. My steering wheel locked, and I had to forcibly muscle the car to the side of the road. I turned the car ignition off, then back on, and the error went away. Clearly, this was dangerous, as I could have crashed into another car. A few weeks went by, this happened again sporadically during this time, usually after my car was in "park." Yesterday I turned my car on, and "power steering issue" popped up as a warning, and again the car was not able to be steered as the steering wheel locked. Despite turning the ignition off and on, the warning and steering lock did not turn back on. I had the car towed back to the dealer.

- Blue Bell, PA, USA

problem #21

Aug 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


Power steering fault while returning from short supermarket trip, lost all power steering, dash board lit up, then terrain sensor fault, causing a feeling of reduced gear, turn signals failed as well. Very difficult to drive, and unable to reset by shutting vehicle off. Dealership stated a fault in power steering rack, requiring replacement, they also stated it is a different part number then original part meaning it may have been remodeled due to "issues". very dangerous situation!!!!

- Huntingdon Valley, PA, USA

problem #20

Jul 312012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 16,100 miles
Three times in the same day my power steering went out. Once when I started the car first thing in the morning and was backing our of my garage. Twice when I started driving forward after idling in a drive through line it went out. All three times I received warnings immediately after the power steering was lost that the power steering assist was out. Each time I had to turn the engine off and restart it to regain the power steering.

- Saline, MI, USA

problem #19

Jul 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 5,487 miles
My 2012 Ford Explorer limited has lost power steering while in motion on four occasions, in less than one week time period. It loses all ability to steer and will only work again once it has been restarted.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #18

Jan 242012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
Complete loss of power steering. Happened multiple times. It showed power steering assist fault in the instrument cluster. Very dangerous. When will it happen again at highway speeds on a corner? hopefully someone can help because I really don't feel like driving this vehicle with my wife and 2 small children. Please note I live in toronto, Ontario, Canada, M8W2H8.

- Toronto, Ontario Canada, 00, USA

problem #17

Jul 262012


  • 5,000 miles


Driving down the Massachusetts turnpike the power steering assist failed and I almost hit another car because the vehicle was extremely difficult to steer.

- Wellesley, MA, USA

problem #16

Mar 012012

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
I have had 4 different instances where I received a "power steering assist failure" while driving the vehicle straight or entering a turn. This has occurred at speeds ranging from 10 mph and up to 40 mph. When I can finally pull over and turn the car on and off the warning goes away, and the power steering starts working again.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #15

Jul 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 10,905 miles
From a stop-zero mph, conducted a right turn from surface street to freeway on-ramp. Mid-turn, power steering assist failed, resulting in near accident/running off-roadway surface. Additionally, elec stability control (Ford 'advancetrac') warning light indicators illuminated indicating service required immediately.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,800 miles
I live in ecuador (South America) and bought a 2012 Explorer base model, on October 2011. A few days ago, after a long trip, I got the "advance trac" error message, and 3 days ago, I got the power steering failure, and the steering wheel got locked, traveling at around 20 mph, the two messages were on the screen, advance track and power steering. I turned the car off and then back on, and everything was normal. Yesterday I turned on the car and had no power steering, I had to turn it off and on again, to have it back.

- Guayaquil, Ecuador, FL, USA

problem #13

Jul 192012


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Ford explored. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle then independently came to a complete stop. He was able to reset the vehicle and the vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer stated they needed to replace the power steering pump and the power steering rack. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and the current mileage was 13,000. The VIN was not available.

- Kensington , MD, USA

problem #12

Jul 032012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 4,080 miles
We had just driven 1 1/2 hours (about 100 miles) from home to a campground, pulling our fleetwood pop-up camper. Drove highway speeds, with air conditioning on (as it was hot outside), sometimes using the "tow" mode other times not. Vehicle acted fine during our trip. Pulled into the parking lot to register at the office and shut off the motor for about 15 min. Started it again to pull into our site and there was no power steering. Got a warning on the dash that said "power steering assist fault". note: This had happened a couple weeks prior to this under similar circumstances, but after shutting off the ignition and restarting, problem cleared itself. Not so lucky this time. Power steering did not come back. It was 4:30 pm the day before a national holiday (July 4th) and I knew it was not going to get looked at until at least 2 days later. Ford roadside assistance could only offer to have it towed to the nearest dealer 21 miles away. I decided to have it towed on July 5th. On July 4th, after letting it sit all night and completely cool down, I started it up. Same problem plus two additional warning messages: "service advancetrack" and "terrain management system fault". vehicle was towed to dealer and diagnosed as needing the steering gear (part of the electronic rack and pinion steering). Part #bb5Z-3504-he. I was told there were over 500 on back order and no estimated date as to when they will be in stock. Had I known there was this known problem with the Explorer I certainly wouldn't have bought one. Why wasn't there a recall? there are now almost 600 of these parts on back order which tells me there are a lot of consumers affected and potentially many more to come. The service manager told me the design of the part was changed after my Ford was built.

- Bedford, NH, USA

problem #11

Jul 172012


  • 12,352 miles
Greetings, I saw information on the web that stated the NHTSA is investigating issues with 2011 Ford Explorer power steering fault as to a possible safety recall. The information I saw was specific to the 2011 model year. However, I have a 2012 with the same issue. For no apparent reason, a "power steering assist fault" message is displayed followed by "service advance track". this can happen at anytime, without warning, regardless of your speed. This is very dangerous !!! my wife almost hit the railing on a curved bridge when the power steering decided to quit. And luckily, there was no oncoming traffic at the time. The vehicle was just purchased last November (2011) and has approximately 10K miles. This is definitely a dangerous safety issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible !!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Ridgely, MD, USA

problem #10

Jul 122012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 9,800 miles
As I was driving through two consecutive 90 degree turns at approximately 15 mph, the power steering failed causing the vehicle to be extremely difficult to turn. Due to the loss of power, the vehicle nearly left the road into an adjacent ditch. The vehicle warning lights on the dash did light up indicating a failure. Once regaining control of the vehicle, I turned the vehicle off. Upon restarting the vehicle, the failure lights were still lit. After reading the owner's manual, I determined it would not harm the vehicle to continue driving it without power steering. Approximately 0.2 miles later the power to the power steering system was restored.

- Silvis, IL, USA

problem #9

Jun 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,255 miles
I imported this 2012 Ford Explorer to bolivia, bought in miami, fl. I was driving on a straight road, relatively slow (30mph). Suddenly the steering got stiff, making it extremely hard to turn. I slowly parked on the side of the road. The dashboard showed a sign that read: Steering fault assist. I turned the vehicle off, then back on again. The problem went away. I am lucky that I was not going any faster, on a highway, or on a curve. A friend who bought a 2012 Explorer here in bolivia, from an newly (2012) authorized dealer, had the exact same problem. He was on a highway, going at approx 60mph. Fortunately for him, he was going straight, and was able to park on the side.

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #8

Jun 262012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 6,100 miles
While driving approx 45mph the system track warning light came on & beeped, immediately followed by the power steering failure light. I was in an area with heavy construction & could not pull off the road immediately & steering became less & less responsive & in less than a minute as I found a place to pull off, the steering locked up totally. I called for tow service after turning off & back on with the same warnings & unable to turn it at all. While waiting on tow, I turned it off a couple of more times & the steering was back but the system track control light remained on. Once the car made it to the dealership, they were unable to duplicate the problem after checking, driving & rechecking for four days. I was told to drive it & return if it happened again. I am scared to death to drive this car for fear of it happening on the freeway at much higher speeds or my normal route to work which involves numerous curves & curves on bridges with no place to get off the road even if I could manage to get it off the road. My husband also fears for my safety in this vehicle. How many chances do I get before I crash & hurt or kill myself and/or someone else. I for sure do not want to carry any passengers in a vehicle that is capable of carrying seven.

- Lizella, GA, USA

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