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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2005 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,588 miles
Total Complaints:
206 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should recall based on 2002-2005 complaints (107 reports)
  2. Ford should fix it if reported,being it's a known defect!!! (56 reports)
  3. not sure (25 reports)
  4. part needs to be replaced (11 reports)
  5. replace (3 reports)
  6. re-initiate the charity repair solution (2 reports)
2005 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 11)

problem #206

Jan 232014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles


Typical cracked panel. I will not be buying a Ford again for a long time.

- , Woodbury, CT - Connecticut, USA

problem #205

Mar 032014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,220 miles

I have noticed more Ford Explorers on the road with this damaged Panel....It's unacceptable and Ford should replace at Ford's cost not the consumers. Shame on Ford especially when I believe to buy American, this type of poor quality makes me rethink buying an import!

- , South San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #204

Jan 152014

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I love my Explorer, I have taken great care of it and have owned it since 2005. I cannot believe this crack. Very annoying. When driving down the road I notice almost every Explorer has the exact same crack. This is obviously an issue! Ford should fix.

- , Pembroke, VA, USA

problem #203

Aug 012014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


Factory defect that Ford should fix. They should have never made the panel out of the plastic material, rather they should have used metal.

- , Allendale, NJ, USA

problem #202

Mar 032014

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 169,000 miles

When purchased two years ago, there was no visible signs of defect. I began to notice a small crack on panel in winter of 2013, which got progressively worse as the season wore on. The crack became a full fissure, migrating from the top to bottom edge on the right side of the Ford emblem.

- , Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #201

May 022014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Efi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,000 miles

The crack just appeared one day on the back door. I take pride on my car and keep it nice & shiny! Now I have this dam crack and Ford should fix since it's a defect. I am also noticing other 2005 explorer's with the same crack. Due to this and the fuel gauge not working all the time is a good enough reason I have decided not to buy any more Ford products, as I have been a dedicated customer for over 20 years....moving on to a nice Dodge Ram!! Let's not mention rotors being a piece of crap from the day I drove it off the car lot brand spanking new.

- , Stem, NC, USA

problem #200

Jan 082014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


I had this crack mysteriously appear a few of months ago so add me to the list. I am going to purchase the piece myself and repair it for about $100. It's not a matter of just letting it go as water gets into the crack. I am very dissappointed that Ford won't even recognize the fact that there is a problem.

- , Rome, GA, USA

problem #199

May 052014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

When I bought this vehicle it was a very nice looking car. There were no dents, or any other problems with the exterior. I opened the back top hatch to put groceries in and shut the hatch, that's when I noticed the crack. At first I thought it should not have cracked like that. As I see more and more of these same vehicles with the same crack I am certain that it was something that Ford should have made better or at least fix now.

- , Hickory, North Carolina, USA

problem #198

Apr 222014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,835 miles

We were aware of this problem from other acquaintances with Explorers which ALL had the cracked panel, so we were always extra careful not to slam the door. We were successful avoiding the crack until we had some other body work done at the dealership and when we got it back from the shop, THEY had cracked it! This is absolutely ridiculous that Ford has not issued a recall on this.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #197

Mar 082014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I was unaware that the liftgate crack was a common problem until I was researching how to fix it. I love my truck and am surprised and frustrated that Ford has not taken care of the problem.

- , westerville, OH, USA

problem #196

Jan 082014

Explorer Eddie Bauer Flex Fuel V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


Another cosmetic flaw Ford knows about and won't fix or even partially reimburse for. Been apart of the Ford family for generations. Guess that doesn't mean much anymore.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #195

Sep 082013

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I would like to see ford repair this problem, since it is a common problem with this vehicle

- , north prairie, WI, USA

problem #194

Feb 112014

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

Went to shut my tailgate one very cold day and it just cracked. It looks bad, I had no idea this was an issue for this model. Ford knew about this and should definitely fix it at no cost.

- , Milford, OH, USA

problem #193

Feb 172014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I am embarrassed to drive my vehicle with this major crack. I use my car with advertising for my business just above this crack. If Ford doesn't fix this, I think I may have to advertise their negligence on my back window too!! There are so many things that constantly break on these vehicles. Its no wonder why people buy foreign cars!!


problem #192

Aug 152013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

When I purchased my 2005 Eddie Bauer in 2008, I was aware that many had cracked panels and thought I was pretty lucky to have found one that wasn't. Well, this past summer, mine cracked too. Nothing I did, just came out one morning and it was cracked.

- , Ridge, NY, USA

problem #191

Oct 292011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

it's an eyesore and annoying since it was NOT due to any rough handling ... it has also caused a cople of pinched fingers if hand is near crack when closing hatch or window. just aggravating since problem seems to be common yet NEVER addressed by FORD!

- , Ashland, KS, USA

problem #190

Jul 012013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

My 2005 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer is garage kept and low mileage, as I work from my home office. I literally drive it very little. In 2013, a crack appeared on the panel below the back hatch window. I was horrified. When I called my insurance company they indicated that this is a known problem by Ford, common on many SUV's they produced for a large period of time. They also told me that all of the Ford Dealers know about it (and laugh when we bring them in to be fixed). I contacted Ford in Aug. 2013 with a letter and email and in both cases I was told that it is nothing that they are responsible for. I see other Ford SUV's on the road with a similar crack. When I contacted other Ford owners that share the same problem, they have let me know that the crack starts out as 1 crack and can quickly expand to more. The 'crack' appears because there isn't anything to support the panel and the simple closing of the hatch door causes the damage. The crack also causes water to leak into the interior workings of the door, causing rust as well as damaging the back window wiper. In some cases, the motor stops working completely, in others, it is reduced to 1 of the 2 operating speeds. Ford is not accepting this as a manufacturing defect, even though they changed the design in later models.

- , Venice, FL, USA

problem #189

Dec 202013

Explorer LTD 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,085 miles

This is an embarrassing problem & Ford should have a recall on this if they value their customers. After all, where would they be without us. When you buy a car you don"t expect to have problems like this. Bail us out Ford before water gets in & ruins the car. Could damage wiring, lights, etc.

- , Belton, SC, USA

problem #188

Sep 012013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Wife closed the trunk/tailgate door after removing groceries and noticed a funny (not so funny) little crack in the big plastic panel under the rear window. As time went on, so did the crack. It now runs from the top to the bottom of the panel. It more than likely lets water into the innards of the tailgate ... where the electric latches are.

It may be possible that, sooner or later, the latches will short-out and cause a fire or just quit working altogether. I sure wouldn't want to be Ford if anyone is injured in the process i.e. kids, dog etc get burned, trapped or fall out of the vehicle.

- , Charleston, SC, USA

problem #187

Nov 022013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I had this fixed in July 2012 and it happened again. So the part they replaced was also defective. This is bs and should be fixed by Ford.. I have been a Ford customer for years but after this , I will look at other models. This is crazy that they would continue to sell this knowing it was defective.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

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