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:
77,748 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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Mar 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Parked and went into grocery store. Came out going to where I had parked. As I walked up to the back of my vehicle I noticed a vertical crack in the panel under the rear window. At first I thought I was at the wrong vehicle because I knew my 2005 Explorer was not cracked. Upon further examination, I realized this was my vehicle. I have seen another Explorer around town with a vertical crack in the same spot. Seems to me this just might be a design problem. Believe Ford motor should repair at no cost.

- Texarkana, TX, USA

problem #40

Nov 172010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
My car was parked in a small lot at work. When going out to load some items in the cargo area, a friend noted the vertical crack in the lift gate. It is to the left of the Ford emblem and I have since seen numerous identical cracks on other vehicles. There was no collision that cause this, there are no scratches or dents. It is a manufacturer defect.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #39

Jun 062011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Crack at back glass running down the car left of Ford emblem. Glass could fall out.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #38

Mar 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles


Noticed crack from top to bottom of rear body panel applique along side of Ford emblem.

- Concord, NC, USA

problem #37

Jan 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Found a crack on the rear liftgate right around the Ford emblem. After mentioning it to a friend, turns out she had the same problem with her Explorer and a search online shows many others have had the same issue with this model year.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #36

Aug 012011


  • 37,000 miles
Right next to the Ford emblem a crack developed. It's on the rear glass hatch and runs from the top of the fiberglass panel to the bottom. The panel keeps expanding and contracting with the crack going from just a slight line to a 3/16" gap! definitely a manufacturer defect. I've seen many other Explorer with the same issue. The truck was in perfect condition when it appeared and Ford says that it's not their problem. Too bad your warranty has run out! poor design that Ford should fix for the money we have given them for the vehicle.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #35

Nov 252011

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


Rear liftgate panel under window 10 inch crack in middle. Glass loose.

- Laurel, DE, USA

problem #34

Nov 072011


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the exterior plastic trim of the liftgate glass was cracked. The dealer advised the contact that the failure was common. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 87,000 and the current mileage was 89,000.

- Livermore , CA, USA

problem #33

Oct 222011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,081 miles
Cracked rear door panel just below the window, in the middle of the Ford emblem. May cause rear window to fall out unexpectedly. Ford is aware of the defect but refuses to recall and fix it.

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #32

Oct 162011


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed a crack on the rear liftgate near the manufacturing emblem. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer offered any assistance since there were no recalls for the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileages were 56,000.

- Coasta Mesa, CA, USA

problem #31

Sep 282011

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the hatch back panel was cracked. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who advised that the failure was a manufacturing design flaw. As a result, the panel needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 62,000. Updated 12/06/11 updated 12/12/11

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #30

Oct 022011


  • 75,000 miles
Very large crack in the rear lift gate from top to bottom like 1 foot long and 3/16 wide close to the Ford logo.

- Wichita , KS, USA

problem #29

Jul 062011


  • 99,992 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the rear liftgate was cracked underneath the window and extended to the bottom of the gate on the left side of the emblem. The crack had become progressively worse over time. The dealer informed the contact that the failure was a design flaw and if it was repaired, it would probably crack again. The current mileage was 99,992.

- Bell Vernon, PA, USA

problem #28

Jul 182007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Front aluminum hood began paint blistering at about 2 years of ownership. Took back to the dealer for repair. Two years later, paint blisters return. Tsb 6-25-15 issued with painting guidelines but no repair authority. After second occurrence, dealer said no repairs would be made and advised us to pay to replace the hood and paint. This is unacceptable for a $45K car (limited version with all options)

- Monterey, CA, USA

problem #27

Oct 012010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Noticed a crack running from the bottom of my rear window down to the bottom of the upper portion of the rear lift gate to the left of the Ford emblem on my 2005 Explorer. Crack just appeared for no reason. Did not take it in or have it fixed. Ford will not own up to this flaw so I will not pay to have it fixed. I will not buy another Ford since they don't stand by their product. I only have 41000 miles on it and I bought it brand new.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #26

Aug 122011


  • 60,010 miles
On Friday, 8/12/11, at approximately 5:30 pm, I noted an approximately 2" long crack on the rear hatch panel, located just above and beside the Ford emblem. As of this past Monday, 8/15/11, this crack has now extended all the way across the panel. I have had this vehicle for 3 years without any type of body damage or accidents. This is not an area where another vehicle would have hit mine. As far as I know, this just appeared with no reason. I have done extensive research on the internet and noted this is a common problem with this year, make and model of Ford and is apparently based on defective glue. I contacted a local Ford company and was advised that this is not under warranty.

- Hull, GA, USA

problem #25

Jan 012008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The paint on our 2005 eddie bauer Explorer is bubbling and peeling off and has been doing this since 2008, but now is getting worse. When at the Ford dealer while getting the computer changed wich is another problem with fuel efficiency, we asked about the paint and we were told that there isn't any type of recall. We are also having problems with having to change tires every 15000 miles. Thi truck has many defects.

- Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, FL, USA

problem #24

Jan 052011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Crack in the rear hatch panel caused by a defect in the design of the vehicle known by Ford Motor Company but no recall issued.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #23

Feb 262011


  • 70,000 miles
The Ford Explorer from the mid-2000S is starting to show multiple defects. Ford co. Advised owners to report these problems through this complaint form because as of now they are not doing anything to recall the defects. The back panel below the back window cracks vertically right near the Ford emblem. Some cars have multiple cracks. The majority of this type of Ford Explorer body type are showing the crack. It happens around the 5 year mark. I believe it is due to freeze/thaw happening at the back window, which then cracks the body. It is an expensive repair job and owners are advised to not even bother because it will happen again. It appears abruptly and is disconcerting to see this suddenly and for no personal reason happen to your car due to bad design. Newer Explorer have been redesigned so it doesn't happen. The second defect which is happening now to many Explorer owners at the 5 year mark is the failure of the heating system. The damper flap starts clicking non-stop and there is no heat. Again the repair is expensive because the entire dashboard has to be taken off to repair. These defects are widely discussed on the internet and this is the only real formal way to document them. The Ford Explorer has proven to be a real lemon, full of design defects and a real disappointment.

- Alsip, IL, USA

problem #22

Mar 262011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 78,883 miles
My 2005 rear panel underneath window cracked by the emblem.

- Strongsville, OH, USA

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