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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:
77,438 miles
Total Complaints:
223 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should recall based on 2002-2005 complaints (110 reports)
  2. Ford should fix it if reported,being it's a known defect!!! (61 reports)
  3. not sure (30 reports)
  4. part needs to be replaced (13 reports)
  5. replace (4 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 12)

problem #223

May 162011

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


I have had my Ford for a long time now and one day I notice a crack near the Ford Emblem. It just appeared out of nowhere and I have noticed it on other Ford vehicles. This is definitely a defect and should be replaced by Ford.

- , Fruitland, NM, USA

problem #222

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Very disappointed in Ford for knowing this would happen while manufacturing but did nothing to fix.

- , McIntosh, NM, USA

problem #221

Aug 012009

Explorer XLT Sport V6 4.Ol Sohc Flex Fuel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

The cracked rear lift gate panel is a real disappointment. One I didn't expect from a quality manufacturer. What's worse, Ford has not recognized its responsibility to fix it given the grand scale of occurrences. It makes me very unlikely to purchase another Ford product.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #220

Jun 012012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

Ford should reimburse. 75% Ford Expl with same problem. Tried going thru Ford. Didn't want to hear about it. Said it wasn't a safety issue.

- , Concord, NC - North Carolina, USA

problem #219

Jun 172008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Every Ford Explorer I have seen here in Florida from 2002-2005 models have this crack. I noticed this and was very meticulous about closing the hatch evenly at all times. One morning I went outside to load the car for a get away and my rear panel was cracked. Ever since then I get noises coming from the back sounding like something is uneven on the window. Ford...you are the trusted brand. Stand behind your design!

- , Ocala, FL, USA

problem #218

Apr 202014

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

As noted by many others, I now have a crack in my tailgate by the Ford blue oval emblem! Ford should repair/replace the tailgate.

- , Rivervale, NJ, USA

problem #217

May 312006

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles


Nothing was supposed to be wrong or any other issues or problems when I purchased my 2005 Ford Explorer.!!!

- , Bowlegs, OK, USA

problem #216

Jun 232014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,742 miles

This was the second time the rear panel had cracked. I sent Ford an e-mail about my 2nd time experience and never received a reply back. Ford should be held responsible for the defect.

- , Pollock Pines, CA, USA

problem #215

Aug 152012

Explorer ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

There was no hard or exaggerated slamming of the back hatch and one time it split open.

- , Ukiah, CA, USA

problem #214

Sep 052014

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Overall this is not a bad vehicle, but for the price I don't feel that I should have problems with:

1. Air Conditioning. - Works when it wants to.

2. Transmission out at 76K - Just when the warranty is out.

(I have a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant, that has over 200,000 miles and the same engine and transmission)

3. Crack on the back panel. Just appeared out of nowhere.

- , Richmond, CA, USA

problem #213

Jun 102007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


Worst car ever, two trannys, rear differential replaced within 5 years, last Ford product I will ever buy new.

- , Stockton Springs, ME, USA

problem #212

Dec 222009

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I see many Explorers with the same cracked panel and Ford does nothing to make it right. Fix your problem Ford ..

- , St Charles, Missouri, USA

problem #211

Jun 112014

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,383 miles

The rear panel cracked spontaneously. Since this happened, I have seen multiple Ford Explorers with cracks on the rear panel, therefore I know this is a defect in workmanship/materials and feel Ford should replace it. I contacted Ford myself and received an email telling me it was not covered, and that I should have it fixed and retain the receipts in the event they decide to cover this in the future. Then I might get my money back. I really like my Explorer and have never had any other problems with it, but this crack is VERY obvious and makes my vehicle look bad.

- , Carthage, MS, USA

problem #210

Jan 012010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Ford should fix this. I take exceptional care of my investment and I should not have to pay for this.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #209

Dec 132011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,405 miles

My sister-in-law has a Ford Exp. and I noticed the crack on the back of her vehicle. When I asked her about it she said it just happened out of nowhere one day for no reason. At the time my Ford Exp. was OK- no crack. Well, that didn't last long. The following year when it started to get cold, out of nowhere the crack appeared. I was really upset and asked the dealership about it when I took my Explorer in for its routine maintenance. They said it was not a factory defect and not covered by the warranty. What a bunch of bull !!!!

Now that it has happened to me I have seen a lot more Ford Explorers around here from certain years that have the same crack in the same place. Now something tells me that if all these vehicles have the same problem that it's a defect and should be covered and fixed by the Ford company. Every time I see a Ford Explorer around the same year as mine I look to see if the back window tailgate has a crack in it, and almost everyone of them do.

- , Anderson, CA, USA

problem #208

Dec 012013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Last year I was looking into trading in my 2005 Explorer for a 2013 Escape. At that time my truck had no damage to the body except on tiny (smaller than a dime) dent in the front passenger door (one of the dangers of shopping at WalMart). Then about a week later, I saw, what I thought was, a scratch just under the corner of the Ford oval. Two days later, that small scratch turned into a gaping crack that extended from bottom of panel, around the side of oval, then all the way up!

I was sure that if I traded it in, I would get less money because of the damage. So, I got online where they sell OEM Ford parts & found out you can buy the panel for $175.00, but it comes unpainted. I'm cheap, so I decided to keep it for a while longer & see if I can find it elsewhere. Between then (last winter) & now, I noticed that when it's cold outside, the crack opens. When it's warm, the crack closes up and looks like a scratch. I also noticed that every time I saw an Explorer that was around same age as mine, they also had cracks in the same location. On top of that, my boyfriend's mom has a 2005 Explorer that has a crack in the same panel, but on the opposite side of the oval. This obviously isn't a problem caused by the vehicle owner.

- , Auburn, IN, USA

problem #207

Aug 082012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

It was bad enough to take time out to get the repair done. BUT THEN I HAD TO PAY FOR IT. It cost me $690.64 to have it fixed. Now, its happened again and I have to go through all that pain again. I shouldn't have to pay for it again.

- , Beaverton, OR, USA

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

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