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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Nov 102010


  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a fracture in the rear panel of the rear window. In addition, the air conditioner blend door was fractured and would not allow air to pass through the ventilation system. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was contacted. The failure mileage was 67,000 and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #20

Feb 012011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The rear liftgate cracked from the bottom up to and around the Ford emblem all the way to the rear window. I called the dealer and was told that this a very common problem and that there was no recall so I would have to pay for the repair.

- Oak Harbor, OH, USA

problem #19

Nov 142010


  • 73,500 miles
Paint is peeling from the roof (over the drivers side and front passenger side) in the grooves of the roof. Also, the paint is peeling from the top of the liftgate.

- Lynn Haven , FL, USA

problem #18

Dec 202010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles


Electrical system, body structure, gas pedal.

- St.Paul, MN, USA

problem #17

Jan 262011


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the structure underneath the tailgate cracked under the window. The contact called the dealer and the manufacturer and was advised that the crack was cosmetic and not considered a safety issue; therefore, there was nothing they could do. The contact stated that if the pieces fall off of the vehicle while driving a crash could occur. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #16

Jan 012007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Crack in panel beneath rear window. Known defect in Explorer 02-05. Safety issue to other drivers should panel section(s) come off. Possible safety issue due to water, dirt getting into any underlying electronic equipment.

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #15

Dec 302010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


After coming back from a vacation to the airport to get my car, I noticed the tailgate of my blue 2005 Explorer XLT was cracked all the way through with a 8" long crack from the bottom of the glass to the bottom of the tailgate. After a brief internet search, it turns out that this is a widespread problem that Ford knows about, which they refuse to do anything about. I even have a Ford full-extended warranty that covers everything and they still refuse to do anything. The repair will be $400-$500, which I am not going to pay for. It's a Ford design flaw, they knew it back in 2002, yet continued to produce Explorer with the same defect for three or more years. The safety issue is that the tailgate piece is broken and can come flying of the vehicle at anytime.

- Lynn Haven , FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 312010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 123,560 miles
I noticed the plastic trim panel below my rear hatch glass cracked in half after getting my truck washed at a touchless car wash!! I've noticed hundreds of complaints across the internet about this, so it doesn't seem this is a random occurrence.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #13

Nov 152010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer has paint peeling along the roof rack. The dealership said this is not covered by Ford. While researching the problem on the internet, I found that this is a common problem for other owners.

- Menasha, WI, USA

problem #12

Dec 142010


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was parked when he noticed that there was a large crack that extended from the window to the lift gate. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 60,000.

- Boynton, FL, USA

problem #11

Nov 262010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Plastic piece under the rear lift-gate window with a large crack across its entire height just to the left of the Ford emblem. Ford dealership indicated it was just poor engineering and they will not cover or assist with the cost of repair or replacement, nor was there any plan to make available a metal version or properly engineered replacement panel.

- Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #10

Oct 242010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Rear tailgate window portion with Ford logo cracked vertically. I am assuming that this is from regular use since nothing hit the car. I only use the upper portion or the tailgate as if you use the larger portion of the tailgate, anything that you have in the rear of the car falls out. I would think that this issue could cause the rear window to be less than secure.

- Rosemont, IL, USA

problem #9

Jul 202010

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Hatch panel between window and latch split (cracked) when I closed window after putting in groceries. Car has 60,000 miles, called dealer in July to see if a recall had been established due to the fact that I know of 7 other 2005 Ford Explorer with the exact same crack, happened the exact same way. Told me no but sounds like a defect. Didn't offer to take care of.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #8

Feb 142010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The rear panel under my back window is cracked on my 2005 Ford Explorer. What happens if it falls off and the person behind me has a crash trying to avoid it" will Ford take responsibility for their poor engineering" doubt it. This particular complaint is rampant on the internet. I want to make sure the guy behind me can be assured he won't have to play Dodge the plastic when it falls off.

- Huntingburg, IN, USA

problem #7

Apr 132007


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the paint is peeling from the roof and the roof is starting to rust. The manufacturer stated that this has not been an issue with other vehicles and it is not covered under any warranty. The contact is worried about the long term affects of the rusting. The VIN was rejected from the system. The failure mileage was 25000 and the current mileage was 58000.

- Lake Lotatcong, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jan 252010


  • miles
Dep crack in the rear hatch

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #5

Dec 302009


  • 38,000 miles
I have a 2005 Ford Explorer and noticed that the rear hatch has a crack in it to the left of the Ford emblem, the vehicle has only 38,000 miles on it and I think this is a defect in workmanship which Ford should cover, but they will not pay for repairs of it at all. Further more I will not buy another Ford vehicle as the company does not stand behind their products at all. Shame on Ford and their cheap construction of materials.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #4

Nov 272009


  • 40,100 miles
The last week in Nov. 2009, I had backed my vehicle into the garage. The next morning, when I came outside, the first thing I can see is the back of my vehicle and a vertical crack on the panel between the top hatchback and the liftgate. The crack was in the center to the left of the Ford emblem. The crack was the full distance vertically of the panel. It has since widened. I took my vehicle to my local Ford dealership to have it looked at within 3 days of the incident. The next day, I received a call that it would cost me $430 to have fixed. My local dealer said Ford would not pay for this incident which was of no fault of my own. I have since researched this problem and found out that hundreds of Explorer owners have had this happen to their vehicle and Ford won't pay for it nor do a recall to fix the problem. It is obvious that there is a manufacturing problem. Since I have experience this problem, I have been very observant of other Explorer and 1 out of 3 Explorer I see, has the same cracked panel in almost the exact same spot. Sometimes I see the crack on the left of the emblem, sometimes the right, but basically its the same vertical crack.

- Blacksburg, SC, USA

problem #3

Jul 152009


  • 40,000 miles
Have a 2005 Ford Explorer that just went out of warranty and the back tailgate area cracked by the Ford applique. Ford will not extend any goodwill repairs and claims it is not a design flaw. I have seen thousands of posts on just one website where others report the same problem and same response from Ford. There was not damage or event to the tailgate to cause the crack. Just occurred one very hot day while parked in the heat. Contacted an auto repair shop to get a quote and they stated that they see this all the time and they can't believe Ford doesn't have a recall on this problem.

- Orem, UT, USA

problem #2

Aug 012009


  • 40,800 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the Ford emblem was cracking on the rear of the vehicle. The crack begins near the rear window and extends all the way down to the Ford emblem. The contact will take her vehicle to the dealer for inspection. There were no recalls for this issue. The failure mileage was 40,800.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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