Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
72,376 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace sensors (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

May 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


The backup sensor just randomly one day decided to stop working. Of course I noticed it while in the middle of backing up. Thankfully I had plenty of room so it wasn't an issue. I did like the luxury of knowing when in a tight spot if I was close to maybe bumping something, but it hasn't been a huge issue. Just another thing that has completely stopped working on this Explorer. It has been good to me for roughly 6 years, but now everything is deciding to fall apart at once. No more Ford's for me.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #3

Oct 012014

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,506 miles

Our Explorer came equipped with the rear-park aid (RSS) when we bought it in 2005. Since then, they have slowly declined in performance and started to work intermittently - occasionally sounding a false beep when placed in reverse.

It got to a point where they would not come on at all, and suddenly start to work. I took it for repairs and they found one of the sensors had gone bad - replaced it - and worked fine for about 2 months.

I had gone to the store one night and had backed into a parking space. The sensors failed, sending me a false alarm I was farther away. I accidentally hit the railing behind me, causing $200 in damage.

Not a good system...

Update from Oct 1, 2014: All the sensors were replaced this time under the warranty (not-factory.)

- , Catawba, NC, USA

problem #2

Nov 072010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

After 5 years, everything seems to stop working. All these little problems are really adding up and am no longer a Ford fan.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #1

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles

I feel this is a serious safety concern and a factory recall should take place. Dealer says wait until it stops altogether. I could back over someone before then!

- , Paradise, CAA, USA

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