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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
73,577 miles
Total Complaints:
52 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (22 reports)
  2. remanufactured transmission (11 reports)
  3. replace solenoid valve body, reprogram PCM & add additive (9 reports)
  4. get a "new remanufactured transmission" or fix o/d band (5 reports)
  5. let it warm up before driving (2 reports)
  6. hesitation when accelerating (1 reports)
2005 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #52

Apr 132015

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


In 2015 is when I first noticed an issue. I was on the interstate taking my brother to the hospital and there was a large clunk noise wasn't sure what it was an didn't happen often took in in to the mechanic he said he wasn't sure. So I kept driving the vehicle. It only had 68000 miles on it. You never expect something to go so wrong with a vehicle an it was the just going on to the second year of owning it. And I had a 3 year loan. Never got anything done. Didn't know what the problem was.

- , Miles City, MT, USA

problem #51

Jul 082015

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

I have a 2005 automatic Ford Explorer V6 XLT. Problems started with the transmission o/pd sensor light flashing and later with the transmission slipping gears. I took it for a check up and diagnose and I was told I need a new or rebuilt transmission job . Cost over $3600. The car is parked, No money and no car and about to loose my job because can't get on time to my job. Publick transportation here sucks! Hate Ford!! Don't know what to do... any prospects of getting some answers from Ford?? Hope so!!

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #50

Mar 132015

Explorer Eddie Baurer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

We took the car to our local Ford dealer for the 100K mile service in Nov of 2014. They changed the tranny fluid and installed a program upgrade in the computer. We told them at the time of the service when putting it in reverse there would be a slight hesitation then a clunk. They check everything out and said there was no issues. Now in March of 2015 we had an code for transmission failure and the cars tranny would slip when in reverse. It has been at our Ford dealer for 2 weeks to fix the issue and they have finally said we need to either rebuild the tranny or install a re-manufactured one. They told us that this is common problem with these trannys. Help!!!!!

- , Hagerstown, IN, USA

problem #49

Jan 012014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


My 2005 Explorer only has 82k miles on it! I only drive it about 10k miles a year and we get regular maintenance on it. It started kicking into forward and reverse with a strong thud when placed in drive or reverse. I was told by the Ford dealer that the solenoid was shot and the servo board was the next to go. That both of these repairs won't last because the transmission would need to be overhauled or to get a remanifactured one ($3600). My nephew had a 2006 and he had the same issues too including some temperature regulator issues. He traded it in for a new car.

I'm not sure what to do as I can't afford either. If this is a known issue why hasn't Ford issued a recall? I don't trust Ford anymore and I'm not sure something else won't go wrong or become another costly repair.

I should have kept our 2000 Camry with 120k miles and no problems!

- , Sandy, UT, USA

problem #48

Nov 282013

Explorer LTD 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,035 miles

Hesitation when accelerating, then all of a sudden fast forward. Pray that no one is in front of you. This is a safety problem & should be recalled by Ford. Unsafe to be on road, but if that's all you have, you have to drive it. Help us out Ford.

- , Belton, SC, US

problem #47

Jun 062011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I have had the same slipping and slamming problems that others have reported. The transmission hesitates when I shift it into reverse and then it shifts with a load bang. When I accelerate after slowing down rapidly, it hesitates again and then regains its gear with a bang. My city mileage has declined from around 15.5 to 14 mpg. I bought the car new and first complained about the rough shifting as compared to my Chrysler van at the 3000 mile checkup. The San Leandro Ford dealer told me it was a truck transmission and shifted rougher. The slipping and banging started to occur just before 50,000 miles. At my 50,000 mile checkup, the Ford dealer told me he couldn't find anything wrong. By my 60,000 mile checkup, it was much worse. They charged me $275.00 to run a diagnosis on the transmission, and again said there was nothing done. It has continued to get worse. I'm due for my 70,000 mile checkup, but I don't know what to do. Based on the complaints I've read and my own experience, I no longer trust my Ford dealer. I looked up other local Ford dealers on Yelp, and they all get bad marks. I try to buy American, but Ford sure makes it hard.


problem #46

Jul 022012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 162,500 miles


Took vehicle to transmission shop and was told this is a ford screw-up for several years in past. He told me to

Rebuilt it will cost $3,000.00

Also we have got our money's worth out of transmission with the amount of miles on explorer.

Explorer was purchase from Ford dealer in Dec. of 2005. No thanks to them. They haven't offered any solution

To or transmission problem. Thank you for a better idea!!

- , Quinton, VA, USA

problem #45

Nov 262012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Looks like the same issue as most. Delay going into reverse and then it bangs in is how it started, now after it gets to running temperature, it starts jumping out of gear. P0775 code.

- , Midlothian, TX, USA

problem #44

May 162012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Okay. I bought this vehicle brand new at a ford dealership here in Charlotte, NC. About 67,000 miles the vehicle would not want to go into reverse. When it did it jerked really hard. Also the vehicle jerks when up shifting.

I took the vehicle to the same ford dealership I bought it from, and they told me that the 2005 ford explorers have transmission issues. I have no warning lights on the vehicle letting me know there's a problem.

My cost to have it repaired is $700.00. I know the guy, and I give him a lot of business, so he gives me a price break. Regular price is $1,200. Should this be a recall? Probably. Will it be? Probably not.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #43

Mar 032012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

When I bought this car used at the Ford Dealer in Brighton, CO I also purchased an extended warranty for 2 years. I had it in the shop seven (7) times for a lurching, hesitating problem. It made driving in the mountains very sketchy at best. The dealer kept telling me there was nothing wrong. Now the warranty is expired and the transmission lurches, clanks and hesitates terribly. I am hoping it is not going to have to be replaced but that is possibility.

My family has always owned Fords and I was so proud when they didn't take one penny of Bail Out money. I am sick to find out that this is how they do business. I too am a single mother of two kids, work downtown and have to haul kids to and from sports events all year long. Ford should do what is morally right and recall these transmissions. I am calling/emailing Fox News and 9 News!!!

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #42

Mar 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


I put my vehicle in reverse and heard a very loud clunking noise. After I backed out of the driveway, I shifted to drive and heard the same noise. Finally, I attempted to accelerate my vehicle to leave my driveway and the transmission slipped. My vehicle did not respond and there was a delay in between pressing the accelerator and actually moving the vehicle. This happened on several occasions in several different locations. I am really frustrated that so many people have reported the same problem with this same vehicle. I sure wish Ford would stand by their product and provide its victims with compensation!!!

- , New Caney, TX, US

problem #41

Sep 042012

Explorer Eddie Buaer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

Brought truck into ford dealership. Told them transmission still slipping and when I put in reverse it would hesitate the jump into reverse. Also told them brakes making a noise. They told me needed new trans.$3600. Nothing wrong with breaks also warranty months as out. I told them that I had brought truck in for same problem in 2010 and if they would have found it then it would have been covered by warranty. They said nothing they could do about that. So took truck home. Had to bring it back next day cause sounded like something was grinding bad. They told me I needed back rotors, but they would have to order them. So I brought my truck to an Independent trans. place. they told me that they didn't make new trans for 2005 exp. only rebuilt ones. They replaced for $1800. Also found out noise I was hearing was drive shaft rubbing transmission. They fixed, no more grinding noise. So Ford wanted to charge twice as much for a "new" trans. that they don't make and also would have replaced rear rotors which wasn't the problem. Talked to Service Manager, No Help. Called Ford Customer Service Line, No help. So reported to BBB

- , Saucer, MS, USA

problem #40

Oct 132010

Explorer Eddie Buaer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,532 miles

Brought Truck into Butch Oustalet Ford Dealer, told them transmission slipping and cruise works sometimes and sometimes it don't. They didn't Find anything wrong.

- , Saucer, MS, USA

problem #39

Aug 282009

Explorer XLT RSC 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I thought I'd chime in here as well. We have a 2005 ford exploder with approx. 150000 miles on it now. I've had the same issue as everyone else- slipping, surging, clunking ect... That perhaps it was just a fluke till this morning and I found this site. We have had this issue for about three years. Being a mechanic myself, I figured sooner or later it would rear its ugly head. Sure enough!!!! We've had the tranny flushed, replaced the front drive assembly, changed all the fluids in everything but, nothing ever solved the issue. Of course the warranty is way past over so, its on us to fix the piece of sh*t. I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER FORD, EVER!!!!! You'd assume that after years of transmission problems ford would figure it out. NOPE!!!! It's all about the Money for them and Investor relations. Not about customer service, obviously....

BE WARNED!!!!! this car sucks.

- , Gunnison, CO, USA

problem #38

Aug 192012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

2005 Explorer transmission is going out. The O/D off light is blinking, and the vehicle won't go over about 30 mph. Trying to find out how to fix.

- , Lansing, KS, USA

problem #37

Jun 132012

Explorer EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

2005 Ford Explorers Suck. There should be a recall or help with the fix.

- , Louisvllle, KY, USA

problem #36

Mar 182012

Explorer XLT 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,925 miles

Okay, usually not one to complain about many things in life, but this is definitely something i gripe about: the falling apart of a vehicle.

I bought my Explorer XLT from a private seller in November, 2011. With the mileage, options, relatively minor damage on the vehicle, I was able to buy it about $1000 below BlueBook, and i discovered that the seller actually worked at the service department at a local Ford Dealership.

The original owner bought the vehicle from that dealership NEW, and only serviced there the whole time. so, I had him print out a CarFax Vehicle report. before making the offer, I skimmed thee entire report for 6 years. Nowhere did it mention a transmission issue in the vehicle's history.

Last month I take a ski trip with some friends, and about 2 miles from the lodge, the "Check Transmission" light comes on, and the "O/D Off" light begins blinking. i pulled over, turned off the vehicle, checked for leaks: nothing. I go skiing. The past two weeks, i notice a higher than normal RPM when accelerating from a stop. Actually, I notice it stays at around 2000RPM through 30mph. It only drops when I let off the gas and I feel a slight shift up. I've first noticed it when i saw that my computer reads a reduction in my "miles til Empty" much faster than normal. after noticing this site, I'm beginning to think that I bought a lemon that original cost me $7000, and is going to cost me another $2300 to get fixed. I'm a college senior, working long hours at a crap job to finish school. I rely on my car for everything; transportation to and from work, and living a normal life. Who really has that kind of money laying around to fix or rebuild a transmission?!

Screw FORD!!! Obviously never buying their s#%t again.

- , Spokane, WA, USA

problem #35

Feb 252011

Explorer XLT 4.6L Sohc V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

The transmission problem scares me so badly. When I take interstate exits it sometimes sounds like the engine is falling out. It also jerks badly as it shifts gears.

- , Chapin, SC, USA

problem #34

Feb 062012

Explorer LT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I was told this is a problem for Ford Explorer there should be a recall they know about this and not doing anything to help people The must want people to buy their competors SUV's who has the money to be putting in a car that sould last more than 7yrs. I talk 5 different Auto Shops Ford to local shops and they all say the same thing they have fix a lot of Ford Explorers with the same problem FORD WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO SEND US SOME WHERE LIKE CHEVY, TOYOTA OR KIA

- , Warminster, PA, USA

problem #33

Jan 202012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Well, my wife's explorer, that drives her to and from work only, went out on me last friday night. Brought it into Dewey Ford Ankeny Iowa. Transmission made no noise but wouldn't shift properly. Was rebuilt in 09 now 40000 miles later it's broke again. Ford sucks bad and needs to recall this issue. From either 2000 or 2001 to 2005 or 06 explorers suck. The rearend went completely out two times. I or anyone that has driven it has never towed anything with it. We have never 4 wheeled with it, its like driving a big eggshell that might have a problem so you baby it as much as possible. I bought it with 19000 miles and a year old. Also it had a bad strut and the front axle assembly was ruined, but when the dealer had just done an inspection on it, it all of the sudden has the axle twist underneath it there was 1800 and change. God I am so stupid for spending the money on ford and never want to again.

- , Bondurant, IA, USA

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