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:
75,166 miles
Total Complaints:
756 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (293 reports)
  2. not sure (202 reports)
  3. replace panel (115 reports)
  4. possible class action lawsuit (62 reports)
  5. call Ford motor company 1-800-241-3673 (27 reports)
  6. do not buy Ford again (25 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 12 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #536

Oct 222011

Explorer XLT Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Thought it was just mine but obviously this is a common problem and Ford needs to do a recall!!

- , Harleysville, PA, USA

problem #535

Feb 132011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,200 miles

Every single Ford Explorer of this body style that I see on the road (including mine) has this problem. Every. Single. One.

- , Knoxville, TN, US

problem #534

Jun 112010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,789 miles

I have contacted. FORD and was told that there isn't a recall on this problem. I have noticed numerous models with the same problem. Obviously there is a defect on these models. Any help would be helpful.

- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #533

Aug 202011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


So like a week before my panel cracked I was talking about how I see all these explorers with cracked rear panels and was so happy mine had not done it. Then while washing my car in the hot Texas sun it Cracked. :(

- , Fort, Worth, USA

problem #532

Aug 142010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I'm very irritated.. since I bought this car nothing but problems from the windows sticking to transmission problems and cracked ac line.. now this crack on the hatch.. very expensive car and it keeps sucking the money out of you after the warranty is out... big hassle!

- , Mannford, OK, USA

problem #531

Jun 082010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,684 miles

Went to ford dealer and was told nothing could be done because warranty was over.

- , Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #530

Jun 112011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


Was backing the boat into the lake when I noticed the rear panel was completely cracked just to the left of the ford emblem. It had happened in the middle of the night. My only wish was that it would have broken the ford emblem off. I am embarrassed that I own a ford. The good thing is I am completely cured of ever owning a ford again.

- Kevin

- , Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #529

Jun 112011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Was backing the boat into the lake and noticed a large ugly crack below the rear glass running just left of the ford emblem that magically appeared over night. My only wish is that it would have broke the emblem off. I am embarrassed that I own a ford. The good news is that it cured me from ever buying a ford again.

- Kevin

- , Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #528

Mar 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,300 miles

When I am driving (which is a lot), I notice that 1 of out 3 Ford Explorers have a cracked rear panel. Not only is this a product defect but I plan to never buy another Ford because obviously the materials are basically to cheap to withstand wear and tear.

- , Covington, GA, US

problem #527

Apr 102011

Explorer 3.2lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Ford knows this was a defect, is there a class action law suit?

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #526

Nov 172011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,987 miles


This is crap my beautiful explorer now has a ridiculous crack right by the emblem in the back. What is the most annoying part of this is that the crack just magically appeared over night and had me thinking that i backed into something until i found all these complaints about it. Shame on you ford, you suck.

- , Burien, WA, USA

problem #525

Dec 112011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,820 miles

At first I thought it was the rear windshield wiper that might have shattered, because I noticed this at night, but my husband looked during the day and much to our surprise it was a deep crack along side of the emblem from the window to the bottom of the window hatch. After reading all the people who had the same problem I really do think and encourage FORD to get off their asses and do something.

- , Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #524

Jun 012008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I live in Wichita falls Texas. When I drive down the road I see other ford explorers with the exact same crack!! Every time I see this it really aggravates me. I know this had to occur in explorers all over America. I don't believe it is exclusive to Wichita falls. I can't believe that Ford is unaware of this issue. Ford needs to fix these cracked rear panels!!!

- , Wichita Falls, TX, US

problem #523

Nov 152011

Explorer EXT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Just one of many explorer owners with this problem.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #522

Sep 192011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,059 miles

Just woke up this morning and seen crack beside emblem on rear pop up window all the way through! This is my 3rd Explorer and I'm really pissed! Obviously Ford won't do anything!

- , Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

problem #521

Mar 092011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Quality is JOB 1 ??????? The panel below the window on the back hatch split in two! Did they not know that it would be open & shut and needed to be designed to take it ? It was purely shoddy product!

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #520

Aug 122009

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

Just about every Ford Explorer in model years 02-04 seem to have this issue. I see one or two Explorers every day around town that have this crack. Seems that Ford should at least come up with a solution to have it repaired...not like I'm just going to buy another piece that'll just do the exact same thing.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #519

Nov 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I went to a body shop. They told me it happens all the time. Go to Ford.

I went to my local Ford dealer. They told me it happens all the time. Go to a body shop because Ford does not cover.

I called my salesman. He said Ford knows. Call Customer Service.

I called Ford Customer Service @ 1-800-241-FORD. CSR(Tracy) said that there were no previous complaints. Ford would not fix.


- , Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #518

Oct 212011

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Went to open the door and there it was, cracked from top to the Ford emblem then within a few days the crack extended from top to bottom. I have multiple problems with my Explorer that is now out of warranty. When it was under warranty, I had issues that they fixed and refused to refix because "it had too many miles on it now to cover". he chrome wheels started cracking and splitting and they were replaced and the new ones started doing it during the extended warranty when I was told they wouldn't replace them again. The low tire sensors are faulty. Paid Ford multiple times $50 on extended warranty to fix the dvd player and it would work for 1-2 months then quit. When I complained, I was told there's a lot of vibration on a car to affect that dvd player. Back up sensors never worked correctly and were so confusing when they worked part of the time and sometimes when they shouldn't have, I was relieved when they quit. Door codes stopped working this past summer. Sun roof leaks into the pane that opens and closes it when it rains water drips out of the switch. Had that fixed under warranty also. Handles that lifts the seat to get into the rear seat broke and I can't find one to replace it. I give up on Ford.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #517

Nov 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

have seen a crack in others. now mine cracked in a parking lot!!!! was thinking of buying a new explorer. screw it i am done. now to sell my FORD STOCK.....

- , river forest, US/IL, Pacific Islands (US)

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