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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:
77,948 miles
Total Complaints:
213 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should recall based on 2002-2005 complaints (108 reports)
  2. Ford should fix it if reported,being it's a known defect!!! (59 reports)
  3. not sure (27 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 #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

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

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