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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
55,400 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace steering rack (9 reports)
  2. replace power steering assembly (7 reports)
  3. not sure (6 reports)
  4. replace steering gear assembly (5 reports)
  5. vehicles requires a new steering assembly (2 reports)
2016 Ford Explorer steering problems

steering problem

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2016 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jun 272023

Explorer Limited 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,776 miles


At 54,776 miles my Ford Explorer Limited lost power assist in steering and almost caused accident and loss of life.

The dash lights came on reading, "Steering Assist Fault Service Required", "Hills Start Assist Not Available" and "Service Advance Trac".

The steering wheel made a grinding, scratching noise just prior to loss of power steering but after 5 minutes went away. At first, turning the car off and on fixed the problem but it came back after couple minutes.

Without power assist the steering wheel is almost impossible to turn when standing still or moving slowly.

At higher speeds it becomes easier to turn. I found an article on internet written Forbes June 12, 2019 stating that "Ford Recalls 1.2 million Explorers for Steering Issues" but I could not find any recall notices.

- Marion B., Palos Hills, IL, US

problem #28

Feb 242023


  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,500 miles

My 2016 Ford Explorer turns fine while sitting at an idle, but when driving it becomes very hard to turn. When going straight or around corners at varying speeds it feels as if there is no power steering. Several months ago I have had the tie rod ends and ball joints replaced. I also had it aligned after putting new tires on it.

- James C., Akron, US

problem #27

Jan 142020

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,479 miles

While driving 70 mph on I81 in VA, the power steering on our 2016 Ford Explorer with less than 70,000 miles died. The only warning was a message on the dash saying "lane keeping syst malfunction" and "steering assist fault." After wrestling the car to a safe site I shut if off. Upon restarting the car the steering returned to normal. While driving to the nearest Ford dealer to have it checked out, if failed again.

The dealership performed pinpoint test B for U3000 code stored in the PSCM. Their recommendation was replacement of the electric power steering gear asy (P/N FB5Z3504W) at a cost of $2,300. I inquired if there were any recalls or safety bulletins issued regarding premature failure of the power steering in which they indicated there wasn't.

This is a safety issue, the car is difficult to control at high speeds and almost impossible to control at slow speeds, especially if you're making a turn. Without strong upper body strength, you can easily have an accident. Based on my experience with this issue, I strongly recommend a safety bulletin and a recall be issued.

- Michael C., West Islip, US

problem #26

Aug 052022

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,472 miles


While traveling the back roads of Connecticut, 3 alarms sounded and warning lights for 'Stability Control' and 'Hill Start Assist' appeared on the dashboard of my 2016 Ford Explorer. I pulled over to research the lights in the Owner's Manual, which indicated an issue with the brakes. It was the steering that didn't feel right, so I drove directly home. When I restarted the car, I had no power steering and a new indicator; "Steering Loss Stop Safely". I had to call a tow truck to take the car to the local Ford dealership. When I called the dealership to find out what was going on with my car, I learned that the Steering Gear Assembly was 'corroded' and needed to be replaced. Since the part is on backorder, they couldn't give me a date I'd have my car back. They indicated 2 - 3 weeks but that was a guess. This is totally unacceptable. My husband and I both started calling around, not trusting what we'd been told by the dealership, and we learned that this part was on back order and Ford Parts was in the process of shipping 250 nationwide but most were already claimed. We located one at a dealership in Upstate NY that's being shipped to us. I'm hopeful this all works out.

Why are so many Explorers experiencing this problem, but it's not listed as a Safety recall? In my own experience, I had just gotten off the Interstate and was on back roads traveling at a reduced speed, so I was VERY FORTUNATE the steering failed when it did. I've had other issues with the car, but I still like the Explorer. It's Ford and often the Ford Dealers that I have a problem with. Why aren't they warning us of the potential safety issue and the probability of failure? I had my car in for service 9 days earlier and they swear they couldn't detect the issue because it wasn't visible until they opened the assembly and saw the corrosion. But they saw that my brake pads were getting thin and told me I needed to replace them which they did that day.

I will share that the Service and Parts Department at our Dealership sat passively waiting for the part to come off of backorder, but if you look, you can find them. They are out there. You need to call around. Shipping isn't a huge expense but finding the part may take time. My issue again is with Ford for knowing they have an issue and not stepping up to Own it.

- Google U., Pawcatuck, CT, US

problem #25

Jun 162020

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles

While starting to turn left from an intersection, "Power Steering Failure: Service Immediately" came on. This was followed by an Avtrac failure orange error and two other orange warning lights illuminated on the dash. I had just begun to execute the turn and the steering wheel locked and would only go straight. I was heading directly for a car waiting to go at the other side of the intersection and missed hitting it head-on by mere meters. With all my might, I was able to direct the car to turn to the right a little so I could get into a convenience store parking lot where I lost all ability to move the wheel in either direction.

When I turned the vehicle off and back on, the power steering worked perfectly and there were no error warnings. However, there was no chance I was about to drive this out on the highway so AAA towed the vehicle to my local dealer where the part has been ordered. Had this happened at a higher rate of speed, it would have been catastrophic. Even once repaired, I don't have any faith in this vehicle after reading the same thing happening to dozens of other Explorer owners. I've had Fords my entire life and always had major issues with each of them. I am done with the brand.

- Sarah W., Littlestown, PA, US

problem #24

Feb 112020

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have been having intermittent steering problems for a month. I will be turning the vehicle and there is a pop sensation underneath. It's not so much a noise and a sensation, and a slight grinding feeling on the underside of the vehicle. The power steering becomes really tough and hard to steer. I took it to my mechanic and they will have to replace the power steering rack. I have since done my research and this is a known problem with 2016 Ford Explorers, and Ford has yet to recall it or even acknowledge it. Please recall this dangerous defect!

- Jenny S., San Marcos, CA, US

problem #23

Jul 152021

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles


Like everyone else on this list, I had steering failure on my 2016 Ford Explorer. I was on the freeway and multiple failure warnings went off on the dash. Steering became difficult and eventually almost locked up. I was angry after a 10 second search to find that the Explorer has a history of this failure. Someone, if they haven't already, is going to die from this issue.

- E M B., Marysville, OH, US

problem #22

Aug 222020

Explorer LImited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,987 miles

Power Steering assist failed. Seems to be a consistent Ford Explorer problem. Although mileage is 100K +, car has been well cared for. Nice Limited version. Love the car. But once I started researching online, it was obvious to me that this should be a recall.

The power steering went out on I-26 through the NC mountains. This could have been a disaster. We were very fortunate to have been near an exit and we were able to get off the interstate. As soon as we pulled over the power steering completely seized up. If that had happened on the interstate, no telling what could have happened.

- bwhitaker1963, Villa Hills, US

problem #21

Mar 302020

Explorer Platinum 3.5L EcoBoost

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

2016 Explorer with 35,200 miles

Backing into garage when "Lane Keeping Assist" malfunction illuminated on the left side of my gauge cluster. The steering locked up and I nearly hit the side of the house. I was unable to turn the steering wheel in any direction as if it had completely seized. After turning the car off and restarting it was I able to drive it.

Drove the truck to Ford (3 miles away) and they had the truck all day when they called to tell me they were unable to retrieve any error codes, but would like to keep it over night to do a little more to see if they would be able to find out the cause of my problem.

Late the following morning I got a call saying they found the problem, failed "Power Steering Rack". Fortunately I purchased a extended warranty, with a "$0.00 deductible or as the service adviser said, it would be about a $2,000.00 out of my pocket repair.

This Explorer has been in and out of the Ford service department at least 10 times. The most has been for transmission problems. 1)Broken snap ring, 2) Part from snap ring repair put in backwards thus causing metal shavings and other parts to fail 3) Transmission housing gasket damaged thus causing fluid leak 4) All four tires (original equipment) 2 replaced with same as original equipment at 12,500 miles and the other 2 needing replacement at 28,350 miles. Needless to say I replaced all four with Michelin's because the 2 tires I replaced at 12,500 miles were showing significant wear.

This was my 2nd and last time I buy Ford.

- Chuck O., Chicago, IL, US

problem #20

Jan 062020

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,644 miles

There is NO WAY that the power steering should be GONE in a 2016 vehicle and it's just now the 1st week of 2020. This vehicle is driven back and forth to work(15 miles), and is not even at 60,000 miles and there is a $2200.00 price tag on the repair. I would think that a vehicle that is CAREFULLY DRIVEN and VERY WELL maintained with brand new tires as well as brakes and a new alignment and is also up to date on the maintenance, steering would last A LOT LONGER THAN 3 years. The price tag on these vehicles are NOT CHEAP, therefore, one would THINK that their investment would go a long way and last A LOT LONGER!!!!! The warranties on these vehicles are CRAP and to charge another arm and leg for the extended warranty is LUDICROUS! I used to be a ford fan but after this problem, I may rethink the "FORD TOUGH" slogan and go with a MORE WARRANTED AND RELIABLE VEHICLE. This is INDEED my LAST TIME purchasing a vehicle that is FULL of ELECTRICAL EVERYTHING, INCLUDING the POWER STEERING!!!

- Tanya P., Ypsilanti, MI, US

problem #19

Aug 022020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles


Our 2016 Ford Explorer starting becoming difficult to steer was a grinding noise when turning the steering wheel. Took it to a Ford dealer and was told the rack and pinion need to be replaced for $2,560!!! I asked if Ford had plans to cover this problem and of course, no. I will never purchase another Ford. Poor customer service as well when I tried to call Ford about this.

- Alyssa V., Saint Louis, MO, US

problem #18

Jul 262019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,326 miles

My 2016 Explorer has been the biggest POS I've ever owned. I started having steering problems at 16k miles. It has been in & out of my local ford service center 6 times for steering issues. Each time I'm told if it's not giving a code at the time i bring it, there's nothing that can be done. On July 27, 2019 at 46363 miles my steering decided to finally stop working all together. I had it towed to the dealership & was told it needs a new steering gear. Would have been nice if they figured it out while still under bumper to bumper warranty.

- Emily B., Fulton, US

problem #17

Jul 092019

Explorer Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

The steering failure light came on about 2 weeks ago. I brought the car to dealer and they said it was the battery, not putting out the right voltage. I paid for the battery. Today, I actually lost steering and almost crashed into sidewalk. The lights also came on saying terrain assist and hill assist disabled (was not using) I am really shaken up. My son just started driving too, and this is the car available to him. Don't know if he would have had enough experience to handle loss of steering. I see a lot of recalls for earlier years but none for 2016. I am thankful no one was hurt, but not really too comfortable with the dealer saying its a voltage issue. I think this should be a recall. Waiting to hear what the dealer says now.

- Karen F., W Hempstead, US

problem #16

Apr 272019

Explorer Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,706 miles

Warning light came on "Service Advance Trac" "Steering Loss" and the steering wheel locked up. Towed in. At 37,706 miles had to replace rack and pinion gear assembly. Ford does not acknowledge this is a major and common safety failure. Urge all who have experienced this to file a complaint with NTSB.....potential fatal failure.... and according to the dealer this is a known, common problem.

- Tom M., Liberty, MO, US

problem #15

Jan 212019

Explorer XLT 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

2016 Ford Explorer, around 40,000 miles my complained about a noise coming from the steering and I never heard. now at 81,000 miles driving to work on the hwy the power steering failure light came on along with several other lights informing me to pull over and stop safely. I had the truck towed to Quirk Ford in Quincy Ma. which is the dealer I purchased it from and have all my services done and they informed that there is no recall for this. After reading all the other complaints I can't believe no one hasn't been seriously injured. If my wife or daughter had been driving the truck, they wouldn't have been able to steer the truck over to the breakdown lane. I was handed a bill of $2.750 for a new rack install. I have filed a complaint with Ford Customer Care and hoping they cover some of the cost.

- Richard W., Bridgewater, US

problem #14

Nov 142018

Explorer XLT 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,100 miles

We put this in the dealer for service on Jan. 2nd and are still in a rental on Jan. 19th. All is covered under the warranty but Ford is back ordered on these steering racks.The service mgr. said he would not let us drive it anymore after I offered to pick it up and wait on the rack to get here. He said it was in a bad bind. Apparently this is a problem because parts are not available. I have more miles on it than most on here. Not so good for Ford to have this reputation on a vehicle upwards of $46k. It also needs a seat heater and blend door actuator for passenger side. Extended warranty is the only way to go buying a newer vehicle these days. We love it so far but glad we bought it 2yrs old and almost half the price with 48k mi.on it. We will see what else happens but so glad we spent 3k on a bumper to bumper warranty for 7yrs or 70k mi from date of our purchase. So good till 120k mi. Good luck to you people looking at this. Cold weather really makes it act up. Popping noise is what gave it away. I have mechanical experience and thought it was an axle. Also only did it on right hand turns.

- Roger B., Bedford, US

problem #13

Jan 042019

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Read about others having similar issue with their steering and wanted to add mine to the story. Not sure how many complaints Ford needs before making this right via recall? Or perhaps it will take a devastating accident to get their attention.

Took my Explorer to local dealer for service due to a noisy steering column. The dealer called me later that day and informed me that the entire steering rack must be replaced and will cost $1750.00.

I have been a loyal Ford guy and this is my second Explorer. I am very disappointed as my first Explorer had over 150,000 miles when I traded it and never had a major mechanical issue.

- Rod K., Clinton, IL, US

problem #12

Nov 142018

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,420 miles

Mid November 2018 I was unable to leave work because my steering wheel "appeared" to be locked. My tire pressure was 10lbs light due to the changes in temperature and it was around 10 deg. Eventually I was able to drive it as it warmed up. Two weeks later it happened again in my driveway, unable to turn the wheel at all. Tire pressure fine and temps up to 35 deg. I called the dealership and long story short they told me there is nothing they can do until it happens again. I said, let me get this straight I need to be broke down somewhere, in the winter, with the chance of my toddler being with me, for you to address this issue. They said unfortunately, yes.

3 weeks after I reported this happenings, I was driving in rush hour traffic, on a one lane road and lost all power steering. The "advance trac" light came on and hill assist and traction control. I was able to pull off on to a side road, barely and throwing my back out in the process. Slush covered roads, driving and manually needing to turn my vehicle was almost impossible. I am lucky to have gotten off the road.

I am out of warranty and the dealership has not called me back. I have found 71 reported issues of this from the 2014-2016. How can this not be a recall, how is this something owners who buy a luxury SUV should be required to pay out of pocket. This is absolutely insane and I plan on fighting it. I will update this thread as the process goes on.

Update from Dec 14, 2018: My vehicle was towed to the dealership I purchased it from the night I lost steering 12/7. I attempted to work with Ford directly to assist in this repair, as it was not covered under warranty, this happened at 40k miles. They refused to do anything. The dealership went to Ford for assistance opened up a case. My frustration is my input was not requested for this. I told the dealership there are over 100 filed cases with this issue and Ford needs to look into a recall. Total cost of the repair $1700. The dealership got Ford to reduce the cost of the part from 1300 to 1000 and Ford agreed to $400 of assistance. Bringing my out of pocket to roughly $1k. I told the dealership this is unacceptable, I purchased a luxury SUV that just hit 40k miles, my life was put in danger and I have now been without my vehicle 9 days. They went back to Ford and Ford said this is final, we are doing no more. (things to consider before ever buying a Ford again). The dealership is now escalating to find out what more they can do.

- Shelbie C., Carthage, US

problem #11

Aug 222018

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

We purchased the USED 2016 Explorer from Sheehy Ford for our 16 year old son. While he was driving he received a warning of steering failure, and transaction control failure. He tried to drive however, the steering became hard to steer. He pulled to the side of the road. He shut off the vehicle and when he restarted it the message was gone. He was able to make it home. The next day he started the vehicle again and received the same message. There were no steering other than manual which was quite difficult to steer.

The vehicle had to be towed to the local Ford dealership. Not the original dealership that we purchased the vehicle from. The dealership said it was a "internal electronic failure in the steering rack". A computer module that needed to be replaced at $2,150. The Explorer only has 44,173 miles and is only 2 years old. We purchased the Explorer figuring it would be a good, safe, reliable vehicle. Considering he could have been hurt while driving and the steering went out has me thinking to get rid of it ASAP.

- Annette S., Falmouth, US

problem #10

Jul 252018

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

Dealer couldn't find the problem. Also the navigation went out twice, still not working. Now something is draining the battery and outside mirrors don't work right. With 24k miles shouldn't be having these issues on a $50,000 auto.

- pete/dublin ca, Dublin, US

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