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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,655 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 #12

Feb 272011


  • 70,000 miles


Gas cap light comes on triggering the check engine light.

- Hanover, MA, USA

problem #11

Mar 142008


  • miles
March 08 I was driving my 2005 Ford Explorer when all of a sudden it started knocking and then came to a complete stop. I was never able to start the car again. I call Ford and was told that my warranty had expired and there was nothing they could do to help me. I took the Explorer to the shop and was told that a part in the motor had malfunction which cause damage to the motor. And my only option was to replace the motor. I then call Ford again and was told they could not help me. I was stuck with a car that was not paid for and I still owed for. My only option was to replace the motor. I never had a problem with is truck until this happen.

- Dayton, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 262008


  • 78,000 miles
On several occasions (about 6 times total) and without any warning, my 2005 Ford Explorer has lost all power. All incidents have occurred within the past 6 months with the most recent occurrence on November 26, 2008. Each incident has occurred at speeds below 45 mph and while coasting on a slight downgrade. My concern is that I will lose power in a crucial situation and not be able to steer or stop effectively since these features function most effectively with full power. In all instances I moved the gear to neutral and restarted the engine without any trouble. I did catch it one time before it lost power, again while coasting I noticed the tachometer drop to almost 0. at seeing this I tapped the accelerator, the RPM went back to a normal range and I drove on as normal.

- High Point, NC, USA

problem #9

Aug 182008


  • 40,100 miles


Car had died approx. 4 times before leading up to this event. On each prior occasion we were able to restart the car. When we contacted Ford dealer in ok, they said they couldn't diagnose the problem without it happening while the vehicle was in their possession. We attributed it to bad fuel because dealer said there were no recalls with Ford. Then car died for no reason, could not restart, had to have it towed. Ford repair shop thought it was the throttle body unit which they replaced then they still couldn't get it to start. After further research they discovered that the harmonic balancer had separated and damaged the crank shaft sensor and that was why it wouldn't start to a tune of $1100.0 which was not covered under warranty because it had 40,100 miles and the warranty expired @ 36,000 miles.

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #8

Apr 142008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,113 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While driving between 35-65 mph, the vehicle shut off. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The contact drove another 20 miles before it shut off again. After the second failure, it took the contact several attempts to restart the vehicle. All of the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and is currently being diagnosed. The current and failure mileages were 44,113.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 102008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,747 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While driving 35 mph, the engine stalled and the power steering failed. The low oil pressure warning indicator light illuminated. The gear was shifted into neutral and the vehicle restarted. The dealer was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The current and failure mileages were 35,747.

- Dunkirk , NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 102007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


Following a increasingly loudening 'ticking' noise, the engine ejected a spark plug, destroying other components in the engine bay and rendering the entire engine useless. Shrapnel from the exploded plug entered the cylinder causing extensive damage. Force of plug ejection destroyed threads on cylinder head.

- Barrington, RI, USA

problem #5

Jun 122006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Explorer with multiple problems with the engine and transmission. Customer states the vehicle has been to the dealer on 3 separate occasions for shutting off and passing gears almost causing accidents. There was a knocking noise coming from the engine area. The vehicle jerked into passing gear while the consumer was trying to accelerate. The transmission gasket was replaced. The cruise control would not engage. The left turn signal bulb was replaced.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 222007


  • miles
My wife was driving our 2005 Explorer and the engine died while coasting. Power steering was lost. My wife was able to coast it to the side of the road since it was late at night and there was no other traffic on the road. To this point there has been nothing done about it. The dealer did not feel a error code was probably logged and to this point we have not been able to find what the problem is.

- Marion, IA, USA

problem #3

Oct 312006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
We started to hear knocking from under the hood of our vehicle, so we took it to a garage to have it checked out and the dealership told us that it was the timing chain and that the timing chain on a lot of the new Ford has been going up. Now our 2005 Ford Explorer XLT will not start and is sitting in our driveway.

- Massena, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 222006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I have a 2005 Ford Explorer eddie bauer which looses power steering control and braking ability at random. I have taken this vehicle into service at the dealership for repair but no satisfactory outcome is there. For the first problem of loosing the braking ability, the vehicle when started has no problems but after driving a short distance (few meters to up to a mile) the advance traction loss message is displayed in the message centre and the vehicle looses the ability to stop in the required stop distance. When applying the brakes, the pulsation is felt in the brake paddle and a screeching heard before the vehicle stops. Then once the engine is turned off, and vehicle re-started, the message is reset and vehicle works fine. The second issue is that the vehicle while driving, at random gives the message in the display with an audio signal indicating oil pressure low, service engine soon and other lights in the display and RPM meter showing zero reading with loss of steering ability. There is no power assist to turn the steering whereas the engine is running and also vehicle accelerates if pedal is pushed. I have been into the dealership thrice but the problem is yet to be fixed from last 15 months. The control on the vehicle can be got back once the engine is switched off and restarted. I have resorted to putting the vehicle in neutral and let it roll and turn the engine off and then restart it and get the steering control back. I had left the vehicle at the dealership in Oct 2005 for 10 days to diagnose and rectify but I was advised that problem has been reported to the authorities at Ford but I am yet to hear back from the dealer or the oem.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #1

Jan 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,900 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle stalled intermittently four times. There were no warning indicator lights before the stalling occurred. After each incident the vehicle restarted, drove, and operated normally. The vehicle is currently at the dealership; however, the dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. The dealership personnel recommended the contact to drive the vehicle with a representative present to evaluate it, and the contact declined.

- Enola, PA, USA

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