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:
Average Mileage:
75,978 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace button again (4 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
  3. ford fixed it under warranty (1 reports)
  4. remove switch, disassemble, re-bend metal tab, re-assemble (1 reports)
  5. remove the fuse (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #10

Mar 042015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


This just randomly stopped working one day. It was a bit of a colder day, so I turned the driver's side seat heater on. When I went to turn it off it wouldn't. It took me about 25-50 times of clicking the button over and over before it miraculously went off. Now it does that every time, so I totally avoid even using it. What an awful vehicles this has turned out to be.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #9

Dec 132013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L Flexible

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,168 miles

Switch on seat would stick and had to hit it many times to get it to work. Once on it would stay on but it took many times to turn it off. Finally got it fixed

- , Redford, MI, USA

problem #8

Dec 102011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Driver's side heated seat would not turn off, did not respond to the button. Basically, we had to take the fuse out during the summer and put it back in during the winter.

- , Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #7

Dec 092011

Explorer AWD Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,608 miles


The heated seats either won't turn off or on. I had the driver seat always stay on and the passenger seat wouldn't turn on. I ended up just taking it apart as a last ditch effort to not spend the coin on two new switches at $70 plus each, and it works just fine for over a year! Take it apart, rebend the metal contact tab, then reassemble. That simple. It is a pain to get out though. Good Luck!

- , Davis, CA, USA

problem #6

Feb 022011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Heated seats are super in the winter...not so great in the summer! Passenger seat has heated seats year-round...can't get the button to engage.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #5

Nov 242010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Expensive part for a simple fix. poor design and quality

- , Mattapoisett, MA, USA

problem #4

Feb 192010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


This is the second time the button has failed. The first 2 times I had it fixed was under the extended warranty by CarMax and it was on the off position. This time my warranty has expired and the unit is on all the time. This is getting bad now that we are entering the summer season.

- , Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

This is one of many complaints, The driver seat heater suddenly stops working and it wasn't noticed til it got cold, but by that time it was out of warranty

- , Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #2

Nov 012004

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

Because we paid so much for this car, we take really good care of it. The heater broke during the winter month when it is used the most. A fuse blew out. The car was only 3 months old.

- , Menifee, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 182007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

Heated seats haven't worked since 38k miles which was as one would expect out of warranty. Not willing to pay to have them fixed.

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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