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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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
96,586 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rebuild transmission (18 reports)
  2. new transmission (17 reports)
  3. not sure (3 reports)
2005 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Mar 112013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


Was driving on the highway when my transmission light came on. Suddenly, the vehicle started losing power, and the engine would "scream" when I tried to accelerate. I was able to pull onto the shoulder. The vehicle would not run, and I had to have it towed! The transmission was rebuilt at a cost of $3,000!

- , Rivervale, NJ, USA

problem #37

Aug 082014

Explorer LXT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,080 miles

Vehicle Transmission would not go into gear (forward or reverse) immediately. Had to wait several seconds for transmission to engage. Transmission would shift hard, sort of slap shift very rough, sometimes making a banging sound and feel. Transmission would slip between gears when shifting and sometimes made clunking and grinding noises. Transmission made a loud clunk when downshifting to come to a stop and sometimes made a grinding noise and vibration when slowing down to come to a stop.

Brought the vehicle to two transmission shops to be checked. The first shop (AAMCO) said the transmission is shot and would have to be replaced with a new transmission, at a cost of $4200.00. With a 3 year warranty. The second transmission shop (Gibraltar Transmissions) said they could rebuild the transmission and fix everything with it for $3400.00. With a 50,000 mile 4 year warranty. I chose to have it rebuilt to try and save money. The vehicle transmission was rebuilt at a cost of $3400.00 and it seams to operate very well. The transmission shop that did the work said that the transmission they rebuilt will most likely outlast the rest of the vehicle. I love my Explorer and have no other complaints about it.

- , Sayreville, New Jersey, USA

problem #36

Oct 062005

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

I repeatedly took my car and have documents of multiple times asking Town and Country Ford to fix my transmission and all they would say is can't duplicate customer's concern. Each time they said it never does this problem with us! They continued this pattern until my warranty was out then they could find it when I could pay for it!!

I drove the vehicle with transmission lunging like I would hit a tree in reverse on many occasions. And multiple roaring hubs replaced!!! Now the rear end still roars and was told that has been needing replacement for years! Ford should have a class action on transmissions!!!

- , Henderson, KY, USA

problem #35

Aug 012014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


click to see larger images

transmission failure

Transmission should not fail before 100k miles. Ford has mad horrible transmissions and they should be recalled.

- , Allendale, NJ, USA

problem #34

Jul 242013

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

Had to have transmission rebuilt at 170,000. Noticed intermittent instances of not being able to shift to reverse when on a slight incline.

- , Milford, OH, USA

problem #33

Nov 032013

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

We went to the mountains of NC on Friday 11/1, going up there the transmission started slipping. Coming home the transmission started slipping and then it started smoking. We made it to the Ford place, about 2 1/2 hours from home. Cost me $4175 to get it fixed. The issue here is why would a transmission go out at 140,000 miles. I have a Mercury Grand Marquis with 245,000 miles never had a new motor or transmission. Leads me to believe Ford intentionally puts crappy stuff on a vehicle to make money off of you. I will never buy another Ford product as long as I live, I am done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Zebulon, NC, USA

problem #32

May 232012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


So I've only had my Explorer for 3 months. And yes, I understand used vehicles have glitches, but this is no glitch. 2 weeks after I bought my Explorer the transmission went out. I called the dealership I got it from and they fixed it for free, no problem no complaints. I figured I was good to go for a few years.

WRONG, yesterday my transmission went out again and it's the same problem, they solenoid, or how ever you spell it. So needless to say I'm pretty pissed and will never own another Ford again. Since the transmission was fixed last time it only had 3- 4,000 miles on it. It shouldn't have broke again this soon. Ford needs to recall these transmissions.

I'm so angry b/c now I'm stuck with a car payment and I can't even drive my truck b/c every time I turn around it's in the shop. Ford YOU S***.

- , Pace, FL, USA

problem #31

Nov 302011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

This vehicle started to downshift with a THUNK!. The thunk got so severe that you felt it could knock dentures out of your mouth! Took it to two transmission shops. They tried replacing a sensor but that didn't work. Had to have the transmission completely redone. It's now 18 months later and we're starting to get an occasional thunk when it downshifts. Also, it has started to flash the O/D Off warning light and message "Check Transmission." The transmission shop has been unable to determine what the problem is because those lights don't stay on for longer than 5 minutes.

- , Caldwell, ID, USA

problem #30

Feb 102013

Explorer ES C8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I can not believe I needed a new transmission at less than 89000 miles. This should be covered under warranty when you make a substandard product.

- , Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

problem #29

Feb 072013

Explorer Xlt 4x4 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,400 miles


- , Lemon Grove, CA, USA

problem #28

Mar 192013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,500 miles


Ford is a POS company that has again lost another customer. transmissions should not go out at 100k. they know their stuff is junk and do nothing to fix it. luckily i was able to replace it myself and picked up a rebuild for 1100. but i shouldn't of even had to do that.

- , Vandalia, OH, USA

problem #27

Mar 152011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

This generation is notorious for tranny issues. This is precisely why I purchased an extended service contract at time of purchase.

- , Groveport, OH, USA

problem #26

Apr 262013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

On my way to work today,"CHECK TRANSMISSION" pops up on the digital display. Lucky for me I was less than a mile from a ford dealership. I checked into service and waited for what I hoped would be good news. NOT THE CASE!!! The service tech takes a seat next to me on a recliner and says "Its gone from bad to worse." At least she was comfortable. To make a long story short I am now looking at a $3000.00+ job. The more I read complaint after complaint I had to write one of my own. THE TRANSMISSIONS IN YOUR EXPLORERS ARE CRAP!!!! I have never bought into the whole "Found On Road Dead" comments,or the "Fix Or Repair Daily"s. I just expect a safe,reliable vehicle. I am now in the position of paying the overpriced estimate so I don't lose my job or riding public transit the 2hr route it takes to get me to my shop. The people are not made of money. When manufactures knowingly allow garbage to hit the streets it puts our pocketbooks,livelihoods and even our safety at risk. ACCOUNTABILITY!!!!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #25

Feb 062013

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

my 2005 ford explorer for the most part has been a good car except for the transmission. The transmissions in the explorer are terrible. Ford motor company knows this but refuses to address the issues. the dealership has given me two options rebuild or replace. Why would i want to swap one crappy transmission for another crappy transmission and at the 3,400 price tag. The thanks we get for bailing them out.

- , El Paso, TX, USA

problem #24

Nov 272012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

Our Ford broke down on the way to work. My wife and I take very good care of this vehicle in maintenance as it is our only vehicle at the time. The transmission slipped and a message appeared telling me to check transmission. I assumed that, as with past vehicles, I would pull up to a gas station and check the level and fill the fluid. We have our fluids checked regularly when we get the oil changed, so I was a little surprised at the level being low. I look under the hood, No dipstick, no access to tranny. I looked it up on my phone. A special syringe and adapter is needed to squirt fluid into the case from the bottom. Brilliant design! so we tow it into a shop down the road and I start researching 05' Ford Explorers and transmissions. Now I am here, with the rest of you. Informed of the apparent flaw after the fact with a $3,000 repair bill. It seems I am preaching to the choir. It's like telling a room full of patients with terminal cancer not to smoke. I will say this. I've never heard of a transmission going out like a switch unless the design itself is flawed. After this repair, and the warranty on it of 3 years expires, it's gone. And Ford has lost a customer for good. I agree this should be class action material!

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #23

Oct 112012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,389 miles

Buy the explorer new on 2005 at the guatemala ford dealer, without warning the transmission failed. No reverse, and no shifting over 40 km per h. All services were done by the dealer, always said how in good shape the car was, and out of the blue, I got stranded on the road. Now they tell me that is there are some sensors that need to be changed and new transmission. crap.!!! this was my third explorer and I think I will never buy ford again. i still need to repair this.

- , Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala

problem #22

Oct 172012

Explorer EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I cant explain the anger that this problem caused, the inconvenience of not having a car i depend on to get to work. the truck had only 80,000 miles i never expected a transmission problem with this mileage. i feel that all owners of these vehicles should file a class action lawsuit against The ford Motor Corporation. We bailed them out when they were going under and this is how they treat us. I had to pay 5,000 to fix this problem and i will never buy a Ford again. Trading this Junk in to years for a foreign made truck!

- , Onkers, New York, USA

problem #21

Jul 102012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

This is the third time there is a new transmission in my 2005 Ford Explorer. There never was a warning it just lost power on the road. Didn't have time to pull over. Talked to Ford Corporation today and they will not do anything about helping with the repairs. Ford Corporation does not stand behind their vehicles.

- , Lathrop, CA, USA

problem #20

Dec 152011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

bought the truck in 06. Transmission failed with all the common complaints in this section. Bought a rebuilt Jasper tranny with a 100K warranty and all is well. Ford... get er done and get a good transmission for these trucks. This is my third explorer and the most expensive to repair.

- , Pascagoula, MS, USA

problem #19

Jan 012012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

after reading all of the numerous transmission complaints, I guess I don't feel that bad.

mine failed @ 138,000 miles. 2005 ford explorer xlt V6, bought it used in 2007 w/ around 40,000 on it. great truck/car, whatever. leather seats, BFG tires, nice smooth ride. In the last few months it started skipping a bit, not too much, but enough to notice.

a few times the truck lurched when in reverse, and I slammed on the brake. I found this site after some internet searching and became aware that I had purchased a ford exploder. 3000 bucks later I have a rebuilt trans. these American cars and trucks are designed to blow @ 100,000 miles. that's when they, the big auto industry, want you to buy another one. this logic has served them well. to the people that had these and other problems w/ a lot less mileage, I hear ya. a buddy told me, that once detroit started "puttin those dang computers in the cars" everything went south. ever seen a 70's muscle car restored to its original glory, ahhhhh. now thats a car. no computer on board there. too bad big oil has dominated and controlled us for so long. getting back to the exploder. solenoid block becomes stuck and fails , Ive heard because of the quality of the oil used in the sealed transmission. another great idea. torque converter, bands, planetary gear, and all sorts of other stuff that I dont know anything about. basically this vehicle between 2002 and 2006 is really a problem, but a great money maker for ford. they sold a record number of these and have a record number of complaints and repairs. I have owned mazda trucks w/ less problems, but now they are just about the same as the ranger. So,I will have to continue driving it and hope I can get some more miles, as well as some enjoyment, just as soon as my credit card bill gets paid off. I figure 2015.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

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