Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,056 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.

2005 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #99

Jan 012007


  • 15,000 miles


There are two cracks on the back top lift gate which allows water to get to the electric locks and it opens by itself when wet. The wheels bearings have to be replaced about every 3 months. The passenger front belt tightens and will not loosen.

- Morristown, TN, USA

problem #98

May 242016


  • 103,597 miles
While parked in the driveway, we found that the back window of the hatch was completely broken and the body in the back was lifted off the car. It looks as if the hydraulic arm malfunctioned overnight.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #97

Sep 102015


  • 123,000 miles
Crack in rear hatch plate by Ford emblem

- Fairport, NY, USA

problem #96

Feb 132015


  • 76,000 miles


Crack on back panel from window down around Ford emblem literally just appeared one day. My Explorer was purchased new in 2005 and is in excellent condition except for this mystery crack that I am now noticing on a lot of Explorer around the same age. It is an obvious defect! when is Ford going to take care of this?....updated 11/13/15

- Watertown, CT, USA

problem #95

May 022011


  • 68,000 miles
The rear lift window started cracking multiple times and the open button stopped activating.

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #94

Mar 272015


  • 84,000 miles
Walked out to my garage and noticed a cracked had showed up overnight. It goes from the back eindow, by the right edge of the Ford logo, to the bottom of the lift gate. It is almost perfectly vertical, I have seen a ton of these on xlts. I thought I was lucky, I was wrong.

- Bruin, PA, USA

problem #93

Jan 012010


  • 43,000 miles


My 2005 Ford Explorer has multiple paint problems peeling all over the car, ,the dealer said its any after market paint job I bought the car used from dave smith Ford in 2008 they are trying to say that the car was completely repainted within the first 3 years of the cars life.

- Alden, NY, USA

problem #92

Jun 012013


  • 100,000 miles
I have a cracked tailgate that is a defect. I have seen this same crack on numerous Ford Explorer's 2002-2005. I have contacted Ford and have gotten no where with this problem.there are numerous complaints of this same problem. I thought the door was closed to hard, that is not the case until I kept seeing the same crack on every Ford Explorer 2002-2005 then a light bulb went off there's something wrong with the tailgate, that makes it eventually crack. This has not been fixed on our vehicle, we worry the glass could shatter while continuing to close it as I have read with some owners. Please help us solve this problem.

- Cheraw, SC, USA

problem #91

Apr 072015


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While opening the rear door, the contact noticed a large crack on the rear panel that extended from the rear window vertically all the way down to the end of the panel where the Ford emblem was located. The vehicle was inspected by the insurance adjustor. The vehicle was not diagnosed by an independent mechanic nor the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- Mt Vernon, IN, USA

problem #90

Feb 142015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Typical Ford problem with 2002-2005 Explorer/Mountaineer. Rear tailgate cracked all on it's own because it's cold here, and because it's a defect Ford should have fixed when they knew of the issue. I am not the only one (of many) with this problem.

- Weston, WI, USA

problem #89

Jan 232013


  • 100,000 miles


The rear lift gate trim panel split vertically from the glass to the bottom of the lift gate. The crack runs adjacent to the Ford emblem on the lift gate. I see a lot of this occurring on similar year models and consider that this is a design defect that should be addressed.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #88

Jun 012014


  • 74,000 miles
First noticed what appeared to be a scratch underneath rear window. Grew into a crack which runs from the bottom of the rear window down around the Ford emblem to the bottom of the window hatch. Crack has widened to about 1/8 inch. Vehicle purchased my myself brand new.

- Ada, OK, USA

problem #87

Dec 102014

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Paint in roof channels bubbling, roof rusting.

- Trenton, SC, USA

problem #86

Nov 222014


  • 132,000 miles
I walked outside to enter my vehicle and noticed a crack in the hatch lift on the back door adjacent to the Ford emblem that was not previously there. Since then, I've noticed this same flaw on most Ford Explorer xlts of approximately the same age as mine.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #85

Dec 012009


  • miles
Noticed a crack in the back window panel near the Ford emblem.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #84

Oct 242014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 148,500 miles
Crack appeared to left of Ford emblem on rear hatch door, under glass.

- Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #83

Sep 012014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 88,900 miles
Discovered a crack in the panel below the rear window hatch above and below the Ford emblem.

- East Quogue , NY, USA

problem #82

Sep 052014

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
Rear widow is also a hatch. The hatch has a fracture in the center of where the hatch secures itself to the frame. The hatch will not close properly and needs to be physically manipulated at an angle to be secured.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #81

Aug 252014

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
The plastic bracket that holds up the overhead control console between the drive and passenger and right next to the rear view mirror broke and the entire console fell while the car was off and parked with no one in the car. The console dropped and blocked the rear view mirror. Had I been driving it would have been a shock and caused me not to use my rear view mirror. When I went to remove the bracket to get a replacement I found it was super brittle and falling apart. It broke into a few pieces while just holding it. It clearly was not structurally sound. If this interior and hidden plastic part that was not subject to any passenger interaction or sun exposure is disintegrating what about other parts of the car. I see lots of plastic parts failure complaints for Ford Explorer. Is the plastic they used defective or are car parts like this bracket in Ford products supposed to self destruct?

- Great Falls, VA, USA

problem #80

Jun 072013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2005 Explorer XLT and I also have a large crack down the panel below the back window. Which has led to water seeping into my back wiper motor causing me to replace it frequently. Which replacing this is not cheap.this is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed due to there are many of the exact same complaints. Also the brackets that hold on my back window came off/broke. We were leaving for vacation and the whole window was in my hand when I went to close it. I am a Ford lover through and through and would just like these problems that numerous people are having corrected. Thank you for your time!

- Watertown, NY, USA

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