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:
60,490 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Oct 012009


  • 58,500 miles


2005 Ford Explorer has intermittent problem of engine cutting off and lack of throttle response while driving. Vehicle then has problem starting. Computer is showing numerous fuel related codes. Dealer has repaired numerous parts and problem still exits.

- Commerce, GA, USA

problem #16

Sep 012009


  • 50,500 miles
I have a 2005 Ford Explorer limited. 50500 miles. The fuel gauge reads empty regardless of the amount of gas in the tank. The 'service engine soon' dash light is also on. The dealer quoted me ~$800 to fix the problem (thinks it's likely the 'fuel level sending unit'). $200 for the part and 4hrs labor. I have not done the repair, I researched the issue on line and found that many people have had the same problem. This seems to me to be a known problem and should be a recall issue.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #15

Jun 012008


  • 70,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer fuel gauge malfunction: Started about a year ago. Was intermittent at first, but is now constant. Fuel gauge registers empty until tank is about half full, after which the gauge works properly. Service engine light stays on. A scan of the internet indicates this is a very common problem and Ford has no program in place to fix it. Since the gauge is causing the service engine light to stay on, that light cannot alert me to other potential failures. Cost to repair is approximately $500.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #14

Nov 012008


  • 94,000 miles


I have a 2005 Ford Explorer that when you put gas in it at a gas pump it keeps shutting off and spitting fuel back out of the fuel neck all over the place. I have been seeing others complaining about this very same thing. This is most definitely a safety hazard to be having gasoline spray all over the ground in a crowded gas station. Not to mention have to take 15 - 20 minutes to fill your vehicle up. Thanks, jamie a. jones

- Fairlawn, OH, USA

problem #13

Mar 152009


  • 52,000 miles
When you fill the tank the fuel gauge goes to empty and does not return until you have about half a tank. Ford says this is a common problem and it is a faulty fuel sensor that requires the entire fuel pump to be replaced for a cost of about $1,100. This problem is all over the internet with this particular make and model - why was there no recall?

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #12

Dec 052008


  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Explorer. I have had so much trouble with the check fuel cap light coming on, it has been replaced twice, then the technician reset the warning light. In December 2008 the car just stopped taking fuel, it seemed like it was full. It would take me a half hour to fill the tank. I took it to the Ford dealer, they said they cleaned all the sensors in and around the fuel tank, I paid a bill of $370. The next time I filled it with gas, it did the same exact thing again. I took it back to the dealer, they put a new filler neck on it and charged me $260. It worked for a short time, then in February it started doing it again! I did not want to put any more money in it, after about a month of that, it fixed itself. Now, the check fuel cap light is on again, and also the service engine soon light. This has been, without a doubt, the worst car I have ever purchased in my entire life, I purchased it new and it has been trouble from day one. The service manager said I was having this trouble putting the gas in it because I have put a lot of gas in it....excuse me, you can bet he wouldn't have said that to my husband if he took it in for service!

- Lockwood, NY, USA

problem #11

Sep 102008


  • 76,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. Whenever the contact fills the fuel tank, gasoline sprays out of the tank. The fuel nozzle stops even though the tank is not full. The failure occurs without warning. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection and they stated that the failure was common, and possibly related to the fuel system filler neck. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 76,000 and current mileage was 76,500.

- Collierville, TN, USA

problem #10

Aug 152008


  • 52,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer, gas gauge quit working. Sits below empty, service engine light stays on. For a few days it would go up and down then just went down and has never moved again. This has been for at least 3 months now. Have to use tripometer to know when to fill up. Had it looked at by a mechanic hoping it was a loose connection. He said it was in the fuel tank and to check if others were having the same problem. Amazingly there are alot!

- Milton, WA, USA

problem #9

Nov 192008


  • 42,000 miles
Fuel gauge suddenly drops to empty and service engine soon light comes on. Happened in July '08 and came right back on. Thought it was a "fluke" thing with my fuel float in tank. Happened again last week and this week. Decided to do some "researching" and came to the conclusion that this is common with this year/make/model. Not happy! purchased new and only has 42,000 miles!

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #8

Apr 172007


  • 25,800 miles
Last year the fuel gauge began having intermittent failures, and would not read out the correct amount of fuel in the tank. Notified the dealer, who supposedly reprogrammed the PCM in the vehicle. After the vehicle was out of warranty coverage, the fuel gauge began malfunctioning again. I have spoken with other Explorer owners who have had the same problem, even after the dealer has replaced hundreds of dollars worth of components. I feel this is a serious safety related design flaw, as operating a vehicle without knowing the correct fuel level can be very dangerous. The only way we maintain a safe fuel level in our vehicle is by keeping the tank topped off frequently, and keeping track of the miles on the odometer. A newer vehicle, with modern electronics, should not have this many problems.

- Felton, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 012008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 27,000 miles


2005 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 28,000 miles purchased new on July 7, 2005 we started having problems with the fuel system in the end of June 2008 (intermittent loss of fuel gauge and service engine soon dash light) called the Ford dealer on or about July 1, 2008. We were driving and the truck engine died, no warning no steering no brakes, (the wrench light and engine failed test mode light came on) she managed to get it to the side of the road where it started up as if everything was ok, moments later it happened again, this time she put it in neutral and it started again while moving. She drove it to my house and took my car home.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #6

Apr 262008


  • 48,000 miles
My vehicle started to have the fuel gauge act erratic. It would go up and down, then it would go to below empty. In late may the fuel gauge quit completely and the check engine light has been on the entire time. I have no warranty and now the fuel pump looses pressure after sitting over night. Today it started to stumble while I was driving it. I am disabled and I cant afford 770 $. the vehicle only has 52000 miles on it. I am told by Ford dealer that the pump/fuel sender/ gas cap sender unit needs to be replaced. I believe that this should be a recall situation, because a vehicle this new should not be having this problem.

- Attica, IN, USA

problem #5

May 052008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer gas gauge failure. 2nd time it has happened in two years. The first time it happened I took it back to the dealer and they had it fixed. Now it has occurred again. The gas gauge all of a sudden drops to empty and the 'service engine' light comes on. I am driving with my kids in the car and don't know how much gas I have left in the tank.

- Montebello, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 302008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 57,500 miles
Continuous and repetitive malfunction of gas gauge. It occurs very often and is a well known problem in Ford Explorer. Additive has been added to no avail, I think Ford just wants owners to have to pay for this and purposely continues to design vehicles like this. It is a major safety concern...what if I run out of gas in the freezing cold with two babies?

- Cabot, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 302008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I recently purchased a near new 2005 Ford Explorer. The vehicle is in pristine condition and has very low mileage to the point where it is below the industrial average. Since I purchased the vehicle, I have fueled it several times, always filling the tank to the top. Every time I have filled the vehicle up, the fuel gauge has dropped to empty and the mileage till empty indicator shows just dashes. In addition to the gauge dropping to empty my "service engine light" comes on immediately following the fuel gauge dropping. At first I thought it was possibly just a problem with my vehicle so I figured I'd have it fixed. Then out of curiosity I decided to check online and with other fellow owners of the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer model to see if they were having this problem as well. And to my surprise I found that it was a very common problem. This issue disturbs me mainly because it is a safety issue. God forbid my wife is traveling down the road with my 14-month-old son and runs out of fuel due to a faulty fuel gauge on a deserted dark highway. Since this was such a common problem I thought I would be able to come online and find out that there was a recall. But I did not find that. All I found was a bunch of people complaining about the same exact thing. Now my question is, why hasnt there been a recall yet with an updated part for replacement? if someone could contact me and assist me with this matter I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you

- Little Egg Harbor, NJ, USA

problem #2

Apr 152006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
Gas guage failure.on the way home from buying the SUV, the gas hand would not work.returned car to dealer.the dealer furnished me a new car until the car was fixed. Two weeks later the same thing happened.went to a different dealer and the mechanic had a bulletion that Ford had issued saying there was a problem with the gas guage because sulfur in the gas was causing the problem. Ford recommends using chevron additive in the gas to solve the problem.the mechanic said the vehicle had 13000 miles on it the frist time the gas hand quit working. The car had 17000 miles when the hand quit working for the second time. The mechanic installed a new guage inside the fuel tank. This will only help for a period of time.if this happened on the freeway and you were out of gas it could be serious.

- Pikeville, TN, USA

problem #1

Jul 142005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,200 miles
My gas gauge all of a sudden read E and my service engine soon came on, on a three month old 2005 Ford Explorer with 2200 miles. I have to guesstimate how much gas I have and if something does go wrong with the engine I will not know as the light is perpetually on. The dealer states the fuel sending unit is bad and the part is backordered, I 've been waiting 3 weeks already. The dealer states they are waiting on 20 of them for this same problem. I've contacted the manufacturer and they claim to have no knowledge of the problem, that my situation is the first they've heard of it. This can't be true as the dealer I took my car to is waiting on the part to fix 20 Explorer with this same problem. I've also found this problem posted in numerous forums online. I don't think it's safe to drive around not knowing for sure how much gas you have or whether or not your engine is also malfunctioning. Ford should issue a recall and expedite the manufacture of this backordered part.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

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