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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
60,201 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #10

Apr 012013


  • 90,000 miles


Takata air bags didn't deploy after a head on collision on a highway

- Sterling, AK, USA

problem #9

Dec 222015


  • 30 miles
Takata recall. Driving in the city my 2005 Ford Explorer have a crash and air bags do not open.

- Alamo, TX, USA

problem #8

Mar 252015


  • 113,570 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while exiting the vehicle, the front and rear curtain air bags deployed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 113,570.

- Wellington, CO, USA

problem #7

Nov 022012


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the frontal air bags deployed erroneously as the engine was started. The contact received injuries to the arm as a result. The vehicle was later taken to the dealer for diagnosis where the contact was advised that there was a shortage in the wiring harness that needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and advised her that the part needed to complete the repair was no longer available and that they were unable to assist her any further. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were approximately 150,000.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #6

Jul 072011


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owned a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the driver was driving approximately 55 mph, when she crashed into a truck and the air bags did not deploy. The driver was taken to the hospital, by ambulance for serious injuries. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a towing yard. The failure was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure and current mileage was 118,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Mentor, OH, USA

problem #5

Feb 172010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While driving at speeds of 30 mph in slightly icy road conditions, the vehicle slid over black ice and crashed into a nearby wall. The air bags did not deploy upon impact. The contact sustained injuries to her arm, shoulders and neck. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop. The dealer advised contacting the manufacturer for further assistance. The manufacturer was contacted and the contact was awaiting a return call. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage were 62,000. Updated 07/13/2010.

- East Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 142008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,113 miles


2005 Ford Explorer, driving on a twisty coastal highway, about 35 mph, turned wheel to follow right hand turn in the road, there was no power to the steering wheel, or to the brakes. I had to wrench the wheel really hard to the right to keep from driving off of the road. I finally pulled to the side, turned on hazard lights, removed key from ignition. I reinserted key, car started and ran as if nothing ever happened. I drove for another 20 miles, about 40 minutes, without incident. Then the engine cut out again-no warning, just all of a sudden I was unable to accelerate. Service engine light came on, small wrench icon lit up, and digital display message "engine failsafe mode" appeared. There is nothing in the owner's manual about this warning message. I have taken the car to Ford dealer service where it was purchased. They have told me a sensor on a belt was damaged when the belt slipped off its pulley, and that sensor was therefore unable to sense the crankshaft, and therefore the engine shut down. There was no indication of why this occurred in the first place, or what measures could be done to assure that it does not happen again. This engine shutoff had occurred twice before, but both times the road was uncrowded, and straight, and the car ran fine after starting back up, so I didn't really think about it. But the idea that I could have very easily driven off the road, off a cliff (!) and died, or had my family in the car and this same thing could have happened, this to me is terrifying, and unacceptable. I realize there is inherent risk in driving a car, but potentially lethal malfunction of the vehicle should not be among those risks.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 252006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, both passenger and driver side air bags deployed, without vehicle being involved in a collision or roll over. Ford has refused to honor warranty, due to scratches on the underside-car frame, near box. Have placed claim with insurance company.

- Apple River , IL, USA

problem #2

Feb 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,300 miles
I was involved in an accident on fl state road 85 at the okalossa regional airport on Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at approximately 6:30 P.M. while traveling North on highway 85 another vehicle ran the stop sign exiting the airport to travel South on highway 85. My 2005 Ford Explorer was traveling at 55 mph and T-boned a 2003 Ford minivan. None of my airbags deployed!

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #1

Apr 042005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
Both the passenger's side and driver's side air bags deployed without the vehicle being involved in a collision or rolling over. Both driver's and passenger's ears were still ringing from the impact. Vehicle was towed to the dealer.

- Union Pier, MI, USA

Not what you are looking for?