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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,050 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

problem #2

Mar 301990


  • miles


Noticed the back panel of my 05 Explorer was deeply cracked. Did some research to find that this is a defect of many Explorer. I don't have to money to fix it and shouldn't have to since I did nothing wrong.

- Taylorsville, KY, USA

problem #1

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

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