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:
5 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,348 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

Aug 122015


  • 126,938 miles


The vehicle has a hard time accelerating, when it does, a "cluck" sound can be heard, sometimes acceleration fails all together. O/D light comes on and blinks. Check transmission light comes on.

- Imperial Beach, CA, USA

problem #29

Aug 052013


  • 124,000 miles
The vehicle shuts off while driving causing loss of power steering, power brakes with a complete loss of power. This is an ongoing problem and has happend during highway high speed driving. It happens on cars built 11/24/04 and prior. The codes are P2106 and P2135. It's caused by a faulty throttle position sensor and requires a powertrain control module reset B36.11, B37.2 or higher. This has been an ongoing problem thar Ford readily ackowledges. They have ugraded the throttle position sensor twice without solving the problem.

- Halifax, MA, USA

problem #28

Jun 222015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While driving at 5 mph, the brake pedal was depressed but the vehicle unexpectedly accelerated. As a result, the vehicle crashed into the contact's garage and other vehicle. There were no injuries. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 160,000. Updated 09/10/15

- Pittsburg, PA, USA

problem #27

Jun 222015


  • 86,000 miles


Driving down the road, suddenly the wrench light came on and the fail safe light came up. Vehicle would barely run. Cleaned throttle body and it seemed fine for a while. Then the same thing happened again, driving normal, then bam. This time it shut down and would barely stay running...just ordered a new throttle body. I will not own another Ford.

- Bruin, PA, USA

problem #26

Dec 232013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 69,500 miles
Our 2005 Explorer with V8 engine has developed a serious problem when cruise control is engaged and a hill is crested (for example) and the engine goes to idle it drops below stall speed and dies while driving. Driver must move shifter into N and restart, obviously critically dangerous problem. The car has no problem with normal driving or idling without cruise on. This problem is persistent and easy to reproduce even on flat surfaces when cruise backs off the throttle to slow down. A/C can be on or off.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Apr 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles


When speed control is set, and coast button is pressed for more then a few seconds, engine will stall.

- Oaklyn, NJ, USA

problem #23

Dec 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The gears in the powered brake/gas pedal assembly seem to strip. Then the brake/gas pedal won't change position. That creates a dangerous situation for the driver because the pedals get stuck too far away for some drivers and too close for others. This is a fleet wide issue for all Ford with adjustable pedals.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #22

Oct 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 49,600 miles
My 2005 Ford Explorer engine shuts off while driving when cruise control is on. The engine also has a hum sound while cruise control was on.

- Nipomo, CA, USA

problem #21

Jul 122011


  • 58,084 miles
While driving, when I applied the brakes, the car lurched and made a noise. About 1 minute after that, a warning light that stated "engine fail safe mode" and a little wrench showed up on the left of the instrument panel. I was driving home, and the car started to speed up without my increasing the speed using the gas pedal. The car continued to lurch off and on until I got home. I researched this problem on the internet and it seemed to be the throttle body assembly that had failed. Upon taking it to the mechanic, that is exactly what is was. The car was dangerous to drive, I could have been killed had the car's speed kept increasing. The repair was $1026.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #20

Nov 222006


  • 25,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that on three separate occasions while depressing the brakes, the vehicle abnormally accelerated and the contact was unable to stop the vehicle. On the third instance of the failure, the vehicle accelerated and crashed into a parked vehicle. There were no injuries reported and no police report. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired for the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was approximately 97,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 25,000.

- North Bend, OR, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Dec 202010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
Electrical system, body structure, gas pedal.

- St.Paul, MN, USA

problem #17

Jul 252010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I have a problem with the cruise control on my 2005 Ford Explorer. My son first discovered it back in July-August 2010. While he was adjusting his speed for the cruise control while on the highway, the car completely stalled out and he lost all power steering and brakes. Thank goodness, he had the peace of mind to put the car in neutral and turn the key to start it again. I would not have thought to do that while traveling at a high speed trying to control the vehicle without power brakes or steering. Since that initial episode, both my son and my husband have tested it at slower speeds and have had the same results. So we brought it to a Ford dealer in our area to have it checked out. They eventually determined that it was a problem with the electronic throttle box and that it would cost in the range of $800-850 to fix. I asked the dealer if there was a recall regarding this problem and he said there wasn't. I questioned why there wasn't since this was clearly a safety issue, stalling at high speeds. I realize it is only when I use the cruise control but that still doesn't take away the safety concern. He assured me that it would not happen if the cruise control was not used. So I opted to contact their customer service center to see what they could do. $800-850 is a lot of money. I got feedback on the issue a couple of days later that basically said there was no recall so they couldn't help me. Then I was asked to fill out a customer service survey where I reiterated that my concerns about the safety issue were not answered. I have not gotten a response from them and that was back on 8-10-10. So I am now writing to you. Just how does a safety recall get started" are there other people out there that have had the same problem"

- Hudson Falls, NY, USA

problem #16

Apr 292010


  • 47,000 miles
I was driving on 77 North in fancy gap, va, when suddenly I lost power steering and acceleration. I noticed smoke coming from car and in fact the car in front of me said he noticed black smoke and flames underneath the car. I pulled over to the shoulder and the car was immediately in flames. I exited through driver side door. My passenger had to exit through driver door as well because flames were spreading across the passenger side of the car. We distanced ourselves from the vehicle as the entire thing became engulfed in flames. Carroll county fire department and va state police arrived. It took over 45 minutes for the fire to be extinguished; the car kept re-igniting, even after several applications of water and anti-flame chemicals. The entire vehicle melted, including tires. Nothing was salvageable. The vehicle was a 2005 Ford Explorer with only 47,000 miles. It was meticulously maintained and recently serviced.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #15

Jul 212007


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. When attempting to start the vehicle, the engine began to sputter. She restarted the vehicle to resume normal vehicle operation. On another occasion while driving, the power steering and brakes failed without warning, which caused her to crash into a fence. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection on two separate occasions. The failure was contributed to the fuel sensor and throttle position sensor. The throttle position sensor was replaced. The repair did not remedy the failure. The failure mileage was 45,000. The current mileage was 80,000. The vehicle identification number was unavailable.

- Jonesboro, AR, USA

problem #14

Oct 122009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,287 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer XLT. While driving in reverse out of a parking space she lightly placed her feet on the accelerator pedal and suddenly the vehicle accelerated and crashed into a parked vehicle. The parked vehicle was pushed into two other parked vehicles. She stated that her vehicle does not have floor mats. There were no injuries. The insurance company will investigate the failure. The vehicle's body was repaired. The police report number is 09-19790. The current and the failure mileages were 52,287. Updated 11/18/09.lj updated 11/19/09

- Morrison, IL, USA

problem #13

Oct 202009


  • 62,300 miles
Vehicle: 2005 Ford Explorer; mileage 62,300; system malfunction indicating service was needed; diagnostic codes indicate the brake pressure switch for deactivation of speed control needs replaced. Current NHTSA/Ford recall does not apply to 2005 model year vehicles. Call to Ford customer service center indicates lack of interest in problem.

- Bandera, TX, USA

problem #12

Aug 292009


  • 90,000 miles
This morning, as I was in motion of (64mph). My cruise control was on and I pressed the off button on wheel to disengage. My truck completely shut down, the gas pedal felt like the truck was not on- it did nothing, the steering wheel was almost impossible to turn, the brake pedal very hard to push and would not bring the truck to a stop, the dash lights dimmed very low. After wrestling with these obstacles, I put the truck in park and turned eng. Off, then back on and I haven't tried the cruise since.

- Middletown, DE, USA

problem #11

Jun 272009


  • 65,000 miles
Car was parked and off out in front of garage, all doors locked. Approximately one hour we noticed the car was on fire outside. Fire was coming from inside engine hood. Fire department showed up, put out fire and kicked in the windows. Damage was severe and life-threatening; large fire almost caught the entire apartment building on fire. The fireman said that this seemed due to an electrical problem and not arson due to the way the fire came from the engine, all doors and windows of the car were closed with no evidence of break-in. This problem seems to be similar to the recall for scds the cruise control deactivation Ford made on SUVS and pickups 1998-2002 but this occurred on a 2005 Ford Explorer. Please help! people almost died due to this terrible hazard Ford has not fixed.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

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