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:
90,588 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #13

Jul 182015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. While driving at 20 mph making a turn, the 4 wheel drive warning light illuminated and failed to turn off. In addition, the wheels seized and emitted an abnormal noise. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled and restarted shortly afterwards. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was not available.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #12

Nov 302014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 113,641 miles
Hello while driving down the highway, the upper ball joint in the drivers side front broke and caused damage to the axle, tire, and wheel. This caused issues with control of vehicle and could have cause a much greater accident than what occurred. I was able to avoid a major accident, partially due to the low speed at the time, however had this occurred while I was on the interstate or on a crowded highway, this could have had exponentially worse outcomes. I have been told by numerous mechanics that the ball joints are an issue for Ford Explorer and this isn't my first issue with them myself. I also had issues with my 2004 Explorer. This was not an original part to the vehicle and was checked less than a week before it broke and passed inspection. Please look into ball joint issues for Ford Explorer and keep something like this from happening again. A picture of the vehicle is below. Please contact me for more information if needed.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #11

Oct 102013

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
While pulling into the driveway of a gas station heard a thump from the rear passenger tire/rim. When leaving the gas station noticed a vibration which became increasingly more violent. While rounding a curve 4 out of 5 lugs sheared (causing the lugnuts and centercap to fly off).

- Woodbury, CT, USA

problem #10

Sep 102014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 209,000 miles


At 55mph the rear lugs on the passenger side sheared off causing the tire to fly off. Brought the vehicle to a safe stop off the highway and had it towed to a Ford dealership. Was told this was a common problem for the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer.

- Woodbury, CT, USA

problem #9

Dec 242012


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the lug nuts became detached from the rear tires without warning, causing the contact to barely avoid a crash. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and the mechanic diagnosed that the incorrect lug nuts were on the vehicle which would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 128,000.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #8

Aug 302012


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph and turning left to exit the highway, the passenger's side wheel detached from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the lugs nuts had sheared off, causing the failure. As a result, the lug nuts had to be replaced. The contact mentioned that the failure had recurred with both of the rear tire lug nuts, which started to shear off and caused a loud noise while driving. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 95,000 and the current mileage was 115,000.

- Mansfield, MA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012012


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated while driving 25 mph she heard a noise when another driver pulled next to her and told her that her rear driver side tire was about to fall off. Upon further inspection, she noticed that she only had three of the four lug nuts on the rim. The contact had experienced the failure previously. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 78,000.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #6

Jun 012012


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, a loud noise was emitted from the rear passenger side. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed a broken lug nut and stud on the rear passenger wheel. The contact replaced the lug nut and stud, but the failure was not corrected. The lug nut and stud continued to brake. The contact felt that the wheel could be defected and caused the lug nut and stud to fail. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 55,000 and the current mileage was 60,000.

- Washington , PA, USA

problem #5

Dec 012010


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while turning right at approximately 15 mph, all of the lug nuts on the rear driver side wheel sheered off. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that some of the lug nuts were also sheered off from all of the other wheels. All of the lug nuts and the lug nut studs were replaced. The failure recurred approximately ten months later. The contact stated that all of the lug nuts of the rear driver side wheel sheered off. The vehicle was towed back to the authorized dealer where the it remained in their possession. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 95,000.

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 272011


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle felt like the tire was flat, she continued to drive and the rear passenger wheel came off completely. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the failure might had been caused by the tire being tightened beyond its capacity but they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem and stated that they would contact her back at a later date. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 101,000.

- Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 082010


  • 11,000 miles


Noticed a grinding or humming noise in the front right tire. Turns out I needed both left wheel bearings replaced and the right rear is also going bad according to my mechanic. Now a month later, the same problem again. From my research, this is a very common problem w Ford Explorer and people have had the wheels seize on them, someone is going to lose their life.

- Nottingham, MD, USA

problem #2

Oct 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
I was about 400 miles from home... driving on highway at speeds up to 65 mph... my tire nearly fell off (left rear).... had to get towed for 114 miles. The studs that the lugs are attached seared off.... only one was completely attached 2 were hanging off... and 2 were gone. Had the tires rotated about 2 months ago and had driven almost 2000 miles before this happened so I cant blame the way the tire was put on. I believe the studs on the wheel hub are defective.... I have a list of people where this has happened... if Ford initiates a recall I may consider buying another Ford.

- Ramsey, NJ, USA

problem #1

Sep 212008


  • 50,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer XLT rear wheel studs shear off, wheel falls off while driving, no warning. Has happened three times 1st time 9/22/08 rear passenger side wheel fell off. Travel speed approx. 25mph. All five studs sheared off. Towed in had repaired. Cost $442 including purchase of a new wheel. 10/1/08 heard a slight chirp in drivers side rear so I removed center cap and found two sheared off studs still attached to the center cap. Replaced all 5 studs total cost $204 10/18/08 arrived home from a fishing trip a distance of 600miles round trip looked at wheels and found missing stud on the passenger side rear missing and another stud stripped. Currently have car at a Ford dealership for repair which will be approx. $180. I have called Ford Motor Co, 4 times yesterday and today with them denouncing this could happen and accepting 0 responsibility and have told me there is nothing they can do. They say they have never had a complaint with this issue. I find that hard to believe since by goggling "Ford Explorer wheel falls off" or "Ford Explorer wheel studs fall off" I find over two dozen exact complaints about Ford Explorer studs shearing off. Like mine, in most cases the SUV has between 48,000 and 50,000 miles. And in many reports it happens multiple times to the same vehicle. I found Ford Motor Co. Representatives taking a total no responsibility posture and to be very uncaring about the possibility of major accident, injury or death that my be caused by this faulty condition. I write this complaint with hopes you may take the appropriate action to make our highways safer.

- Fleetwood, PA, USA

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