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:
60,059 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 1 of 2)

problem #25

Nov 052014


  • 167,000 miles


Took my SUV to bodyshop yesterday I noticed the roof top exterior was peeling paint and rusting. It will lead to leaking problems if not repaired but owner of shop says that there is no way of them being able to seal it permanantly it is a matter of how long new paint will last. To have it repaired is very costly but if not will do further damage.

- Brunswick, MD, USA

problem #24

Jul 142005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,752 miles
2005 Ford Explorer. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle rear axle leaking. The consumer stated the rear axles were replaced at 59,752. A year later after listening to the noise in the rear end for quite some time, the problem returned. Six months later, they were replaced again. Also, the rear panel beneath the window was rusted and the throttle needs to be replaced, as it is causing vehicle hesitation.

- Edgewood, WA, USA

problem #23

Jul 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Ford Explorer eddie bauer - garage kept, low miles due to working from home. Discovered a crack in the back hatch upper panel. When reported to insurance company (progressive) the agent indicated that this is a known defect and all Ford dealers are aware of it. I discovered other Ford Explorer and Expedition around the county with the same crack. Crack is caused by lack of stabilization behind the panel and the crack appears due to regular closing of the back hatch. Starts with a single crack (can lead to multiple cracks). The crack allows water to enter the back hatch area causing rust and disabling or limiting the back window wiper. I wrote a letter to Ford and emailed them regarding this manufacturing defect and was told that this is not something they take care of. Cost to repair can run anywhere from $275 to $1,000, depending upon the severity. We have started a facebook page for those of us around the country that have experienced the same problem and our number is growing every day. Problem seems to be 2002 thru 2006 Ford Explorer and Expedition. Ford has changed the manufacturing for the years following.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #22

Oct 302013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 94,912 miles


There is a vertical crack on the rear of the vehicle starting underneath the window. Length of about 2 to 3 inches. Just seemed to appear. Was not there one day then there the next.

- Buhl, ID, USA

problem #21

Jan 202010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Large cracks developed on tne tailgate on both sides of the Ford sign in the panel below the rear window. The cracks continue to get larger and I am concerned that a piece of the panel could come loose and cause a following motorist to have an accident. I am aware that Ford has received thousands of complaints regarding this issue which is obviously a design flaw and should be held accountable for the repair.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #20

Nov 232011


  • 66,500 miles
Despite my maintaining the vehicle in perfect condition, like many other Ford Explorer, mine developed a crack along the Ford logo on the rear lift gate, running from the window to the bottom of the lift gate. Temperatures have not been extreme in our area, yet the crack appeared within a time frame of 5 hours. Ford Motor Company should be held responsible for this obvious defect in the Explorer.

- Coalton, WV, USA

problem #19

Mar 012011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles


My 2005 Ford Explorer has a large vertical crack in the rear panel. I have seen this in dozens of vehicles with similar body styles, for refuses to fix the problem and gave me a quote of $472.

- Norristown, PA, USA

problem #18

Mar 072011


  • 108,750 miles
While driving my 2005 Ford Explorer, I pulled out from an intersection and had not reached the speed limit yet when the rear window exploded then causing both struts to the hatch to extend and therefore break the entire framework of the rear hatch. This window was in good condition with no prior cracks in it and there were no other vehicles any around me when this happened. Ford has taken no responsibility to this and I am forced to pay out of pocket for this expense.

- Tionesta, PA, USA

problem #17

Dec 052010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
This problem is very stressful on a senior citizen with a heart condition who's heart is functioning at 60% and on medication everyday. Upper back hatch has factory defect crack next to the lock, in the last couple of months it has been unlocking itself at random, while sitting still or driving. No injuries, muggings, theft, kidnapping of grandchildren and/ or escape or theft of four children yet!!!. I do not have the extra monies to is Ford factory defect that I see on Explorer everywhere. I have contacted them, and they still claim no safety issue.

- Maidens, VA, USA

problem #16

Dec 222010


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer limited. The contact stated that the vehilce's rear hatch plastic molding was cracked. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer collision center for inspection, and they advised that there was not a safety recall related to the defect. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000.

- Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #15

Dec 142010


  • 58,000 miles


Came outside and noticed a crack in my rear hatch going all the way down. Ford dealer says they will not cover it, even with a extended warranty.

- Weston, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 042010


  • 77,300 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when she heard an abnormal noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. After inspecting the vehicle, she noticed a fracture where the emblem and the windshield connected. The vehicle was not inspected for the failure or repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 77,300.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #13

Oct 042010


  • miles
I have a 2005 Ford Explorer that has bubbling of paint and rust in the groves on top of my roof. I have contacted Ford direct I have also contacted my local dealer who has also advised this is a paint defect and contacted Ford direct themselves to have this defect repaired and Ford states the only way to repair it would be if the roof has rust holes thru the top or if I was the 1st owner of the vehicle. This is very apparent that it is a paint defect and nothing more. I have done an internet search and found this problem is a very regular problem for most vehicles between 200-2005.

- Washington, IN, USA

problem #12

Sep 022010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Rear window trim cracked. I am now worried that the pieces will fall off and cause problems on the road to other drivers, but Ford says this in not a safety issue and will do nothing to fix problem.

- Umatilla, FL, USA

problem #11

May 272010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Paint is delaminating on the roof of my 2005 Explorer. Vehicle has 53,000 miles on it. Since I am out of warranty, Ford will not fix it. From the research I have done on the internet, this is a common problem with this generation Explorer (2002-2005). I owned a 1998 Explorer for 10 years without any paint related problems.

- Coralville, IA, USA

problem #10

May 012008


  • 75,000 miles
Approximately 2 years ago the paint on the top of my 2005 Ford Explorer began to chip off. I was told Ford would not fix it unless it was rusted, however now what began as a chip has grown to approximately an 18in circle in the middle of my vehicle. Ford has indicated there is a technical service bulletin about the defect however no recall has been issued.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #9

Apr 052009


  • 50,000 miles
I have a crack on the tailgate of my 2005 for Explorer. I saw on our local news that many others are having the same problem.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #8

Feb 062010


  • 94,000 miles
Panel below tailgate glass has vertical crack. Purchased 2005 Explorer 2 weeks ago and it was in perfect condition (had an 02 Explorer with same crack issue so I knew what to look for). Crack literally happened overnight. If Toyota can have a massive recall then so can Ford.

- Florence, AL, USA

problem #7

Aug 222009


  • miles
The paint on my 2005 Ford Explorer is peeling off big chunks in numerous spots on the roof. I contacted Ford and they told me that since it was past my 3 year 36,000 mile warranty that it was up to me to get fixed.I want Ford to have this problem fixed. I shouldn't be having to pay for defective paint that Ford is well aware of. A recall needs to be done on Ford vehicle paint.

- Atco, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jan 122009


  • 32,000 miles
I noticed one day that the panel below my rear window was cracked. It's like it just magically appeared overnight! the thing is a terrible eyesore, and I'm so tired of Ford refusing to repair what is clearly a defect.

- Middle Village, NY, USA

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