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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
3,156 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 082007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2005 Ford Explorer, rear liftgate glass will open by itself while I am driving down the road. It has happened multiple times since we have purchased the vehicle. I can be going 30 mph or 60 mph, doesn't matter. Does not appear to be any pattern as to when it happens, so is unpredictable. This creates a very dangerous situation if it happens when I am on a 6 lane exchange. Also, if I have my dogs in the back or anyone sitting in the 3rd row, another dangerous situation is created. There is no way to "bungee" the glass portion to secure it. You can only bungee the lower portion of the hatch- not the glass portion. Living where we can have a high wind gust at any moment creates yet another problem should it pop open and I cant get pulled over fast enough. The vehicle is now at the dealer for the 3rd time for this problem. I have even called the Ford company itself, and they have opened a file. (for what good that has done me) they can not identify a problem, so they tell me there is nothing for them to fix. Will the vehicle continue to be returned to me "unfixed" until my warranty period is up, and then it truly becomes "my" financial problem" these vehicles are too expensive to have this type of problem continue. Will it take a disaster and someone being injured because of this failure, for corrective action to be taken"

- Falls City, NE, USA

problem #3

Jun 142006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,924 miles
: the contact stated the rear hatch liftgate glass opened without warning while driving various speeds. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who determined the latch lock on the liftgate hatch door glass needed replaced. The problem persisted and the vehicle was returned to the dealer. The dealer replaced the latch switch for the rear hatch glass which corrected the problem.

- Hartford, KY, USA

problem #2

Sep 132005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Both the rear lift-gate and back door has opened on me, while driving on the expressway and residential roads, 6 times on my 2005 eddie bauer Explorer. The vehicle has only 6,500 miles on it and I'm very concerned that one day I'll be transporting something and the back door will fly open and cause an accident because my personal belongings have flown out the back into traffic. There is no pattern to when this occurs - it's very sporadic. The message center does warn me the liftgate is ajar (too bad I'm already driving and it's too late), and then the back hatch or back door will open up. I have taken the SUV to the dealership to have it repaired, but they refuse to do anything about it and claim that they cannot identify a problem - therefore are unable to do anything about it.

- Trenton, MI, USA

problem #1

Jul 202005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,700 miles
Rear liftgate (glass door section) opens by itself when the car is being driven. First a warning sensor lights "liftgage ajar" then the door opens. This has happened multiple times. The vehicle which is a 2005 with 3,500 miles has been to the dealer 3 times & they cannot identify the problem or fix it.

- Randolph, NJ, USA

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