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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,833 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Mar 062013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles


Driving along and vehicle seemed to slow way down, in traffic. Tried to give it more gas, but realized that it seemed to be out of gear and then all of a sudden it clunked really hard into gear and sped up. Very dangerous in Florida interstate highway traffic!!!

- Safety Harbor, FL, USA

problem #22

Feb 062013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
My 2005 Ford has been in the dealership service center 3 different timesfor the same problem with the transmission. First time 2006 second 2010 this 2013. I'm told the solenoid pac the od bands are to blame all three times.I'm getting very frustrated with this car and Ford Motor Companies inability to take care of this problem or to atleast except some responsibility for this.with this last failure they have given me to options rebuild again or put in a new transmission. Why would I want to replace a crappy transmission with a new crappy transmission. Is their any help with this?

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #21

Nov 182012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
Transmission continues to go out and an investigation is needed for all 2005 Ford Explorer transmission problems after 120,000 miles.

- Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #20

Mar 152011


  • 53,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate when the transmission was shifted into reverse. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 53,000 and the current mileage was 70,000.

- Newcaney, TX, USA

problem #19

Oct 152009


  • 83,000 miles
Vehicle started skipping and lunging as it changed gears. Took to Ford dealer and said it needed to be replaced. Costs up to 3,000. Ford did all service on vehicle at all the right times. No recall can not believe it. Finally took to transmedic had replaced for $2300. Can't someone get Ford to do anything.

- Wendell, NC, USA

problem #18

Jun 052012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Complete transmission failure at 99K miles and cost to completely rebuild is $2400. Car has been maintained according to Ford recommendations. Transmission repair indicated this is a common issue with these transmissions used in Ford Explorer during these years. Ford should perform a recall as this could cause accidents given the lack of warning before failure occurs.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #17

Apr 132012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles


Transmission failure - driving home and the transmission failed. No drive, no reverse, does not go. I purchased this vehicle brand new and have had all of the recommended services performed by my local authorized Ford dealer. After it failed, I searched the web for complaints, I should have done this before buying it. Not very happy about the fact that Ford is not doing anything for this very common failure!! I will warn all potential buyers of any Ford products.

- Maynard, MA, USA

problem #16

Mar 292010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Brought the car to the dealer for the transmission lurching. My wife was parking her car and when she shifted in reverse to back into her parking spot, it lunged backwards and rammed the exhaust into bumper, literally crumpling the exhaust, into a concrete barricade, with no warning. This was at 75000 miles in March of 2009. Anytime she put it in gear it would just jump, like something would make it hesitate, and then all of the sudden full power almost uncontrollably. Brought to Ford dealer and instead of replacing they had rebuilt it. The case for the transmission was cracked, the first sign it needed a new one. Fast forward January 20th 2012. Now the transmission failed on me, and with no warning with cars coming from behind me, it now has 40000 on the rebuild so now the car has 109000+ miles on it. Now the transmission has aluminum filings inside of it from the parts inside coming loose and shredding the case on the inside. For will not take care of it and it should still have a warranty. It is a dangerous car, if she would have drove to work and it lost power on a busier interstate she would have been in a major wreck. I can't replace a loved one because Ford will not remedy the problem. I am getting rid of it so that my wife and kids are safe.

- Bondurant, IA, USA

problem #15

Nov 202011


  • miles
Drove the vehicle to work and went to leave and I had no reverse. The transmission had been slamming into reverse and then engaging prior to this-but no slipping or anything else. I had the fluid changed and there were no teeth or any metal in the filter or pan-but this did not fix the problem. Spoke with 3 transmission shops in my town and all told me the 05 Explorer had junk transmissions. That the fluid in part of them from the factory was bad and the tranny itself was just a big mistake. This needs to be recalled- $1338 later, I have a rebuilt 'junk' transmission. I have owned Ford in the past and loved them, but my Explorer ended this lover affair. Everywhere you look online there are complaints about this vehicle- and no one is making Ford do anything about it.

- Sparta, TN, USA

problem #14

Dec 182011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Just bought this car. Transmission was having trouble shifting gears and is now slipping. This should be a recall, as I have found too many complaints about this transmission falling apart. Ford should fix this issue and replace with a different transmission. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a transmission that is bound to fail again. This is a blatant missed recall. The trans is model 5R55S. Please recall this.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #13

Nov 202011


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was stopped and the gear shifter was shifted into park when it rolled forward until crashing into another vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and the contact was awaiting a response. The failure and the current mileages were 90,000.

- Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #12

Jul 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
We bought our Explorer new July 4th 2005, have had several problems but this is the worst. I have had the transmission checks done on time at 40,000 and 60,000 miles. I told them twice before the transmission was not right it was slipping. Now that I finally paid them $200 for their test it shows the bands are about to break and it will be $3900 for a rebulit one. I have checked out the list of problems with there transmissions, so where is the recall, come on we can't all be wrong. Looking for help in these hard times, being disabled and wife about to retire this price is absurd, because of all the other complaints. Bought last two cars from Ford, don't think it will happen again. Thanks for letting me vent.

- Wendell, NC, USA

problem #11

Oct 182011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Took our 2005 Ford Explorer to service dept. Before warranty expired-previously alexander Ford, now Ford of murfreesboro. The transmission had been slipping periodically at the time. They drove it & said nothing was noticeable. I indicated to them that it slipped maybe once or twice every month or so. Now vehicle is out of warranty. I was driving in traffic and the transmission slipped on me. I had a car in front of me & when it finally let up, I almost hit the vehicle in front of me-with a baby in a car seat in the back seat. When I slammed on my breaks after the transmission kicked in, I suffered whiplash. It scared me to death. There appear to be so many transmission problems with the 2005 Explorer. This is dangerous and someone should do something about it for a recall. They should have checked my vehicle out more extensively rather than barely drive it for a few minutes when it was under warranty. I could have injured a child & I did injure myself.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #10

Oct 222011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the gear shift was able to be moved from park to reverse and drive without the keys in the ignition or the vehicle being on. The contact stated that a child was able to move the gear shift while it was turned off and the vehicle rolled backwards. The contact was able to be stop the vehicle, get into it and apply the brake pedal. The manufacturer was notified of the defect and advised the contact the vehicle would not be inspected because there was no correction to be made or recall related to the VIN. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 100,000.

- Byron, GA, USA

problem #9

Aug 262011

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
While shifting into reverse sometimes there is a 3-4 second delay. It is also slamming into reverse at times. More frequent as time goes on. This is a know issue from tsb 05-15-4 causing by the Ford factory failing to put an additive in the transmission fluid. This should be covered by Ford. I'm now looking at a costly repair.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #8

Aug 022011


  • 80,000 miles

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 172007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Rear differential whine is very bad/loud ! this is a known issue by Ford Motor Company. This is a very bad defect.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #6

May 202011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer XLT. The contact stated that the gear shifter would sporadically move into neutral from park or drive without the key being in the ignition. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised him that there were no recalls for the particular failure. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Madisonville, KY, USA

problem #5

Feb 242011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
Today, I started our 2005 Ford Explorer to drive my two children to the bus stop. The electronic throttle control light on the instrument cluster went on out of the blue. I've had many cars but this is the first Ford and since August we've put in an alternator, new engine and now the electronic throttle control light. Our prior SUV was a 1999 Dodge durango and we didn't have to put any of these repairs into it.

- Apple Valley, MN, USA

problem #4

Oct 222010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
This incident refers to a 2005 Ford Explorer eddie bauer VIN # [xxx]. after making an investment to purchase a vehicle, one should not have to worry about the safety of himself or family because the gear shifter broke off of the steering column. This is what has happened to me, then going to the Ford dealer for a part and being told it cost $1300 dollars to replace the entire steering column. When the cheap white metal that held it together just sheared off. Does a death need to occur to do something about this? information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- York, PA, USA

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