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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,782 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 transmission problems

transmission 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 (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Feb 072010


  • 1,000 miles


I purchased my 2005 Ford Explorer new, I started having problems with the SUV delaying or no shift from park to reverse or drive. It jerks into reverse or drive. It was doing it once twice a month, but it seems to be more frequently now. Also my SUV jumps into gear while my foot is on the brake and I believe this is causing the front tire to burn rubber and wear my tire out quickly. I have taking my car into the dealer for service, and made complaints about this issue, but always told that they could not duplicate the problems. I think this is a major safety issue and should be address asap!

- Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #19

Jan 132010


  • 68,300 miles
Shifting hard, reverse started missing then first gear missing. Took to repair shop was told that the transmission is unfixable.

- Saint Marys, WV, USA

problem #18

Aug 182009


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The driver stated the transmission in his vehicle is faulty. When the vehicle is in reverse it slips out of gear as you depress the brakes the vehicle continued to jerk back and forth. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and they stated certain valves within the transmission need to be replaced or the entire transmission. The manufactured was notified and the driver was told it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to repair the transmission. The failure mileage was 96,000.

- Middletown, DE, USA

problem #17

Aug 112009


  • 61,000 miles


2005 Ford Explorer, delay or no shift from park to reverse or drive. When it finally does shift into the correct position it seems as if I had pushed the gas fast. It jerks into reverse or drive. It was doing it once twice a month, but it seems to be more frequently, like a couple times a week. I have almost hit pedestrians several times. The transmission has recently started to slip also.

- Bowling Green , KY, USA

problem #16

Apr 202009


  • 12,000 miles
My vehicle fails to shift from park to reverse when the brake is applied. There are several clicks and multiple attempts need to be made before the vehicle will shift from park to reverse. This occurs all almost everytime I attempt to place the vehicle in reverse. My vehicle only has 12K miles on it and this should not be happening.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #15

Apr 302009


  • 43,000 miles
Transmission lever did not want to shift out of park. Eventually, it did release, but this has happened several times before. There are also times when shifting into reverse or drive it does not feel like the lever is fully "seated" into the correct position.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #14

Apr 132009


  • 90,659 miles


2007 Ford Explorer would not shift from park. Had to call a tow truck. We tested it on the tow truck and it still would not shift out of park. After towing it to a repair shop, it finally shifted out of park.

- Spring Branch, TX, USA

problem #13

Sep 102008


  • 80,000 miles
Driving home after work all of the sudden transmission over heat alarm comes on, then white smoke out the back on my truck. 2005 Ford exploder XL model I stopped waiting a while and then was able to get home. Took in for service and yes the transmission is gone. At 140000 K. not the bad part is that this is the 2nd transmission I have put in this truck. The first one was at 75K just out of warranty, my dealer at the time of the first one said point black" take it to a 3rd party transmission place as we would charge you too much, so there you have it 2005 truck and I am on my 3rd tranny. Can not sell as will only get 60 % of what I owe! now I only drive around home not to work so much for built Ford tough, driving my new Kia to work just sad!

- Dundalk , 00, USA

problem #12

Jan 012009


  • 48,000 miles
We purchased a 2005 Ford Explorer in may ┐08 w/38000 mi. On it carfax, at that time, indicated a new transmission was installed on 2/9/07 @ 27643 mi. Lately the transmission has not been running good so we took it to our mechanic, who tells us it is a "ticking time bomb" and needs a new transmission asap. The car currently has 48953 mi on it. He encourages us to investigate recalls and warranty info. We called the dealership who installed the transmission in 2/07, they said it had not been replaced, but other parts (relating to the trans) were replaced. We requested a copy of the service order faxed to us. Once rec'd, codes and wording are very confusing but we believe it to indicate that the transmission was replaced. Also the service tech we spoke to told us the warranty was a 3 yr/36K mi so a replacement now would not be covered. We believe this transmission has a major defect if, in fact, it was replaced @ 27643 and the new one now has only 21000 mi on it. We called Ford Motor Co service dept. Based on their records from the VIN #, they told us the transmission was replaced in 2/07. We were also told that the warranty was changed on the ┐05 Explorer transmission to 3 yr/75K mi. (why wasn't the length of term changed also?). they also told us that the new transmission did not come with a new warranty of its own ┐ it fell under the old warranty. We've had this vehicle for 8 months; we┐ve put 11K miles on it and it needs major repairs that were evident prior to our purchase. Questions remain: Did the dealership replace the transmission in ┐07 or not" if not, what was done to correct the problem and was Ford Motor Co. Billed for a new transmission? if it was replaced, why are these transmissions going bad after only 20-25K miles? and why won┐T Ford stand behind their product"

- Edinburg, VA, USA

problem #11

Jun 062007


  • 28,500 miles
While I was towing a trailer that was well under the weight limit for the vehicle, the transmission began leaking fluid. Due to the design of the exhaust system, the fluid leaked directly onto the hot exhaust pipe under the vehicle, which caused large amounts of smoke to come from under the vehicle. I was stranded on the side of a busy freeway with the vehicle smoking profusely. The transmission was covered under the warranty, and the dealer repaired the transmission on site. It took almost four weeks to get our vehicle back from the dealer. I fear that a large transmission fluid leak on one of these faulty designed vehicle could start a fire or cause a serious accident in the future.

- Felton, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 042008


  • 69,000 miles


2 days ago the transmission on my 2005 Explorer began to hesitate between 2nd and 3rd gear. The next morning while on my way to a service station, it slipped out of 2nd and never found 3rd... the engine just revved up. I could shift on the column so I did that to get the vehicle to the dealership. After running some tests, the dealer told me that 3rd gear was "gone" and that I needed a new transmission. This is a 3 year old vehicle and I've spent 1.5 years of those three in the desert... there is no reason that the transmission should blow after 3 years regardless of the fact that for 1.5 years of it, it wasn't driven regularly. Ford needs to own up to this and take care of it's customers. This will be my last Ford.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #9

Apr 252008


  • 35,000 miles
5 speed automatic transmission in 2005 Ford Explorer 4X4 eddie bauer, slips/fails to change gears usually either at highway speeds (passing slower vehicles, uphill downshifting) and also has a severe delay in engaging in reverse (3-5 seconds) I am concerned that these two issues could result in a severe or deadly accident. This problem is wide spread according to my research, usually resulting in Ford dealer not repairing the problem under warranty. I have children in the vehicle often and feel that when the transmission "can't find the gear", another vehicle could strike mine. Vehicle has less than 35,000 miles.

- Webster, NC, USA

problem #8

Dec 212007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,941 miles
I purchased a new Ford Explorer XLT with just under 6,000 miles from my local Ford dealer. It was considered "new" because it had under 6,500 miles (it was their demo car.) 5000 into my new purchase, at approximately 11,000 miles, I began experiencing transmission problems. The vehicle drifted back while in gear and would not shift into gear smoothly. I took it in for repair as a transmission complaint. 8,000 miles later (at approximately 19,000 miles), I was having more difficulty with a slipping transmission and took it to the Ford dealer in my area. They found a leak within the transmission and found other transmission issues. At approximately 49,000 miles (current mileage), I was again experiencing transmission slips and a loud noise coming from the rear. I took it to my local Ford dealer who said the rear needed replacement and basically the entire back end was falling apart. I could feel this was also related to the transmission. I, again, took it in for the 3rd time as a transmission complaint. The dealer called me and told me my car was repaired, but apparently, they only fixed what was wrong with the rear. I paid $1500 to fix the rear. I picked up my vehicle and I noticed the car was not shifting properly and it was more obvious than before. I live only 6 blocks away. I drove it home and parked the car. That morning, I could barely get my car to go into gear. It would not even go into reverse. It wouldn't move. I eventually got it to go into drive and was just barely able to return it to the dealer, which, fortunately, was just a few blocks away from my house. The car clearly had a bad transmission from the start. Now, the dealer tells me I need a new transmission which will cost me $3500. I have always changed the oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. I treat the car like my baby - it was well taken care of. I have never been hard on this vehicle. I believe the back end trouble is related to the transmission, as well.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jan 182007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The car rpms increased while stepping on brake, car has surged forward on at least 3 occasions and one time it surged backwards when in reverse and hit a pole, even though foot was on the brake. Car has died on several occasions while attempting to accelerate. Driver side window has failed several times, despite having the master switch replaced.

- Brea, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 252006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have had nothing but problems out of my 2005 Ford Explorer. It has been into the dealership 4 times now. I have a grinding noise when I first begin to drive, my transmission has a delay when it shifts and you can press down the gas pedal and it almost feels like it goes into what my dad calls a passing gear before it goes. And this is usually directly after slowing down or from a dead stop. I also have a popping noise in my front end when driving down the road. My vehicle has auto 4 wheel drive and it has engaged for no apparent reason on a dry day as I was pulling into my driveway. At times when I put my vehicle into gear a few seconds later it pops down into gear like it wasn't fully in gear. It has been tippy when turning or taking curves and you have to steer hard to make tight turns. The dealership has reprogrammed my 4X4 module and my ABS module but the problem is never fixed. When I take it to them they say that they don't hear or feel any problems so they cannot fix what they don't feel is wrong. I've called Ford customer service to only be told that if I cannot duplicate the problem it cannot be fixed. I want to be rid of the thing it is nothing but problems only I owe too much to trade it in. I only have 7000 miles on it I shouldn't be having these many problems out of it. And I hate that they are never fixed when I have children riding it my vehicle and I don't know what is wrong with it. I regret the purchase of this car and would get rid of it in a heartbeat if I could.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #4

Feb 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
I brought this car on January 23, 2006. When I brought the car the dealership told me that my first payment would be on March 22,2006. However I received a payment request two weeks after I brought the Explorer. The salesperson completely lied to me. He didn't explain anything I wanted him to. And for worse the Explorer transmission does not function properly. When I put the Explorer in reverse the transmission make a terrible sound. I contact the dealership and they told me it wasn't their problem. I want to cancel the purchased of this car it is just giving me problems.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #3

Apr 082005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,114 miles
On slight incline, vehicle will roll while in gear or it hesitates to engage in gear when shifting from park. Vehicle has been to the dealer for this same complaint many times. Factory rep. Says nothing wrong all models do the same. I have never owned a vehicle, unless equipped with standard transmission that would perform this way. What can I do?

- Dunlap, TN, USA

problem #2

Jan 262005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,629 miles
This a safety concern. While cruising on the highway at 50 mph I intended to pass slower-moving vehicles by accelerating. However, it took the automatic transmission 4-5 seconds to kick-in, and for the Explorer to attain enough speed to safely pass other vehicles, even if the pedal wasfloored. The time interval was too long (other vehicle made with A/T tool only 2-3 seconds), and could cause an accident. I have referred the problem to the dealer and to Ford group philis. Inc. 4 months ago yet but they have not yet found a solution.

- Quezon City, AP, USA

problem #1

Jan 262005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
Transmission problem.

- Lake City, MI, USA

Not what you are looking for?