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 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,480 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #11

Sep 172016


  • 110,000 miles


Vehicle engine while traveling, generally at high rates of speed greater than 40mph, will randomly turn off. There are no warning lights, no indication on the instrument panel. The engine just turns off. The only way of knowing is once the gas pedal is depressed to increase speed and then realized the car had turned off. This is happening more frequently. I had to by a new car. Explorer just sits in the driveway. This happen randomly with no notice and generally while traveling at speeds above 40 mph

- Weatherford, TX, USA

problem #10

May 022016


  • 95,000 miles
Car stalled while driving at highway speeds. Brakes and steering became impaired. Lucky, I was in the rightmost lane and was able to narrowly avoid collision. Incident occurred after a ~3hr drive as I was exiting the highway (I.e. slowing down). Upon restart, engine turned over, but was undriveable due to iterative surge/stall cycles.

- Loudonville, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 152014


  • 150,000 miles
Im not sure if this should be with engine section but I didn't see a transmission part. I was driving my SUV and transmission light in the message center came on and said, over drive on /off kept flashing. Took to a body shop nearby they diagnosed the problem to be the transmission. With further investigation mechanic told me that second / third gear was gone. I ended up spending $4500 for new transmission to be installed. The mechanic informed me that it is a common problem with the 2005 Ford Explorer.

- Brunswick, MD, USA

problem #8

Aug 202014


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when starting the vehicle, the traction control warning light remained illuminated. In addition, the contact mentioned that there was a reduction in engine power. The failure recurred constantly. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #7

Jun 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
My son was driving home at approximately 35 mph at 10:30 pm and the vehicle shut off completely. He was able to re-start it. There were no maintenance lights on. I bought this car for my teenage son in April 2014 and this is the 3rd time it has happened to him. A mechanic checked it out, but could not find anything wrong with the car. Not sure what to do now, and my son is leaving for college in August and driving his vehicle.

- Pfafftown, NC, USA

problem #6

Mar 182011


  • 80,000 miles
Because of the recent GM recall ignition issue, I thought I should let someone know about the serious similar issue I had 3 times before I traded my car in. The car would just shut off while driving. And all 3 times, I pulled to the side of the road and restarted the car and continued on my way. I was lucky to have a place to pull over safely. I took it to my mechanic twice, found nothing wrong. Took it to Ford and they found nothing wrong. I traded the 2005 for a 2011. I also told the dealer that I traded it into about the engine just shutting off for no reason and to check out the problem before they sold it again.

- Truckee, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 102014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 126,341 miles


Car suddenly quit and the engine fail safe light came on. Computer scan showed the throttle actuator/control was stuck closed, and could clear any codes. Vehicle would not move at all.. I had to have it towed back to my home. Engine would not run at more than an idle with the accelerator fully depressed, and there would be no change in the RPM.

- Lynchburg, OH, USA

problem #4

Jan 162014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
Had fueled (full) 2 hours before. Gas gauge dropped to empty. Miles to empty shows dashes. Service engine soon light is on.

- Eatonville, WA, USA

problem #3

Oct 032012


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was leaking coolant. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, where the technician diagnosed that the thermostat housing piece had melted and caused the leak. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 103,000 and the current mileage was 113,000.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #2

Sep 062013


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the engine caught on fire. The fire eventually died without being extinguished. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but was not yet diagnosed. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 94,000.

- West Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 082012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 58,944 miles
The engine had been behaving strange. There was a "tinking" sound, like when you hit metal against metal, and the engine would slip out of gear when under speed control. The vehicle was driven the night before with no problems. The next morning it tried to turn over but couldn't start. The local Ford dealership says the sprocket jack shaft broke, controls cam broke, there were bent valves, lifters were hit with the jack shaft and cams were hit too. The engine hydro-locked, ruining the top of the engine. I called the national Ford complaint center. Ford said it would not offer any financial assistance for putting in a new motor.

- Caribou, ME, USA

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