Notes: The 2004 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.

Another common problem for the 2002-2005 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

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:
72,054 miles
Total Complaints:
27 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace something under the dash (13 reports)
  2. not sure (7 reports)
  3. replace blender door (5 reports)
  4. do not turn hot/cold selection to the extreme hot or cold po (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Oct 122009

Explorer 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,606 miles


i hate ford!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i dont have anything good to say about the company.........i think it is total bs that its gonna cost 1500.00 to fix a piece of plastic... i have 2 small children that i have to drive to school with no heat both of them screaming im freezing.....maybe i should make the ford people drive them to school with no heat...i dont know bout the rest of you but i cant afford to pay 1500.00 for a piece of bs.....i really hope that ford goes under for making such crappy vehicles...i will never own another one!!!!!

- , Hickory, NC, USA

problem #6

Apr 082009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

At only 55,000 miles, I started to hear a really loud clicking noise. It sounded like it was coming from the dash. It scared me at first, then I took it to a local Ford dealer. They said it was a broken blend door and they would have to take the dash out to replace it. All for the lovely price of 1500.00. I cannot afford that price, so I will not be having my heat on high when winter comes. I hope Ford recalls this soon. What a pain. Why do they use such a cheap part that apparently isn't working?

- , Hollansburg, OH, USA

problem #5

Jul 312008

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Apparently an inexpensive piece of plastic under the dash controls the air flow and is susceptible to breaking which virtually stops all all flow/cool air from being discharged. Ford is well aware of this problem but to my knowledge has not issued a recall. I was fortunate because I'd purchased the extended warranty. The dash has to be completely removed to make the repair and this is the primary reason for the high cost. Problems like this are why Ford is loosing billions of dollars and customer loyalty.

- , Warrenton, GA, USA

problem #4

May 222008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,250 miles


There was a loud clicking behind my dash and I knew it was the heater, my car had approximately 31000 miles on it then but the warranty was over my 3 years. I looked up the information on the internet and was surprised that this was such a common problem for Fords. I had an estimate which was approximately 1500.00 and was told the dash needed to come off. Not satisfied with that answer I went to a friend of mine who would have replaced it for free, with of course me buying the OEM Blend Motor. The problem I have with this is WHY does Ford continue to make a plastic piece (blend door pin) that they are well aware keeps breaking and they do nothing, it's not just the explorer. Also the best part of the whole thing is its almost in-accessible to get to the blend motor as the bolts that hold the heater housing on are almost impossible to undo, which means they either didn't give a sh** when they built this or assumed that their heater problems would miraculously fix themselves. My AC works just fine and heat comes out of the vents but the clicking is horrible and sounds as if the gears are stuck. As we pulled the whole front apart, we saw the poor craftsmanship of the car as it had been put together underneath everything. Lots of things were held together with electrical tape and not in a neat way your would expect for your $30,000 dollar car. Needless to say as for now I bought UGG boots to get through this winter since I refuse to give Ford my 1500 bucks I cannot afford to fix something they should have recalled in the 90's and I refuse to let my friend cut through the heater housing with a dremel to replace a piece of plastic to save on 10 hours of labor. There are heater treatments on the market but I am not sure I am that comfortable with that. This is why a bailout for Ford pisses me off. They would have happy customers that would gladly return if they took care of them in the first place. This was my 3rd Ford since my service team at my dealer was so awesome, but this will definitely be my last. I expect this kind of thing from foreign cars but not American made. This is something that should be recalled!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 072008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I have a clicking in my heater and I have been told that they have to remove the dash board to fix a $15 plastic part with minimum 5 hours of labor. Who the hell designs these things???? Apparently this is a common problem.

- , New Albany, IN, USA

problem #2

Jan 252008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Some kind of air door or duct broke under the dash. It cost me $1500.00 to get it fixed by Ford. They had to take the whole dash out to fix it. I wonder why something like this would break for no reason at all. The car is not that old

- , Graysville, TN, USA

problem #1

Nov 012007

Explorer XLT 3.2L, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

The blending door pin, which is molded onto the heater, broke. The pin is inexpensive, but since it is molded onto the heater, the entire heater has to be replaced. Since the heater needs to be replaced, the entire dashboard has to come out. The estimate to repair a 49 cent piece - $1500.00.

- , Hillsborough, NJ, USA

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