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:
75,168 miles
Total Complaints:
749 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (292 reports)
  2. not sure (200 reports)
  3. replace panel (111 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 21 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #349

Mar 162010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles


Crack on rear hatch back, running diagonally along the Ford symbol. Purchased the 2004 Ford in 2008 and notice the crack about 6 months ago. Please help with this matter. Thanks, Ms Gainey.

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #348

Apr 242007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I noted the crack and don't know how long it had been there. I called Brandon, FL Ford Dealer said out of warranty and no recall. That's when I started noticing other 2004 Ford Explorer XLT's that were damaged, also. As I see others, I have never seen a silver or white that was damaged. Mine is marrone and I noted lots of the dark colours damaged (absorbing heat rather than reflecting heat?). Either way, it's a defect and Ford should replace.

- , Valrico, FL, USA

problem #347

Sep 082010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

I am really disappointed with Ford over this problem we have paid a fair amount of money for the quality of our vehicle! Also it is a hazard to our children if broken the glass could shatter and harm our children then Ford will be looking at a lawsuit that cannot replace the damage done to our children!!!!

- , Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #346

Jul 242010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


In my opinion, this is a cost that should be covered by Ford Motor Company. The flaw in workmanship or lack of product trial for durability should not be passed to the consumer. I guess I don't know that it is a flaw in workmanship, I think it is more of a design flaw. I don't even use my hatch much, so what does that tell you? They tell me that the back windshield will not be affected by this crack. How can that be? I am hoping and praying that it will not be an issue. I was told that if I have it repaired I can expect the same problem sooner or later! I personally don't have $500-600 to fix this every how ever often it occurs!

Vehicles are not cheap these days and I expect mine to last a while. Ironically, that is why I chose Ford in the first place. This is my second Explorer and I thoroughly enjoyed the first one or would not have made the second purchase. To see the crack and to encounter the attitude from Customer Service just floored me. I regretted trying to buy American and local (Ford plant about 60 miles away that made Explorers). The attitude I encountered was, understand but too bad so sad but you're outta luck if you think Ford is going to cover this.

- , Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #345

Jul 222009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This is my wife's car and once her back panel cracked I started noticing most other Explorers around the same year are mostly all showing the exact same crack. This problem should have been resolved long ago by a recall from Ford.

The first Ford we have owned and the last we will own. I will be buying Toyota from now on.

- , College Station, TX, USA

problem #344

Aug 312010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,600 miles

Looks like I joined hundreds of others!!! Own a very nice explorer, well maintained, excellent appearance! Had read about problems with crack this summer and felt fortunate we hadn't had that problem. Last week, went to open hatch, and "there it was"!! Crack from window down and around Ford emblem. Certainly makes the car look cheap!! Haven't taken back to dealer to check out options yet, but from reading reports, doesn't look like much will be resolved anyway. If Ford is willing to lose someone than has owned Fords for many years over something like this, I am willing to switch car makers. I'm sure another company will take my money.

- , Ashville, OH, USA

problem #343

Sep 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,545 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

On top of the cracked rear panel, the shift indicater is broken cant tell what gear its in. its an automatic on the column

- , Danville, VA, USA

problem #342

Jan 202010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

Well this is something that Ford should recall but there is a simple reason as to why it happens, and no matter how well you think you take care of your vehicle, its caused by putting to much pressure when closing the lid. It doesn't need to be cold out for this to happen either. Seeing that its a problem that keeps persisting it should be something Ford should consider recalling.

- , Lethbridge, AB, Canada

problem #341

Jan 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Every time I drive down the road, I see multiple Explorers with similar cracked rear panels. I am sure Ford is aware of the defect in their product design and should address it appropriately - replace the defective rear cracked panel at little or no cost to the consumer.

- , Jackson, TN, USA

problem #340

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I noticed this crack and had no clue how it happened. Then i started to notice it on other explorers also. Thats when i realized it was a defect. I have a few problems with mine, And they keep telling you to buy AMERICAN. Come on FORD give us better quality and do better with fixing complaints

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #339

Aug 182010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


I was getting groceries out of the car last night, and noticed the crack. At first I thought it was some gasket sealant or something, but on closer examination saw it was a crack. I took it by a Body shop that I recently had other work done at and they told me about it being a factory defect and would cost about $450 to repair. They said to check with the Ford Dealer though. I stopped by the ford dealer and the service manager was at lunch. Waiting for a call back. When I was talking to the salesman about the issue he said he used to work at the Lincoln Mercury dealer and they had the same problem on the Mountaineers. Come on Frod You know this is a defect, lets get it fixed!

- , Reinholds, PA, USA

problem #338

Jul 142010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I came home and found the back rear panel of my 2004 Ford Explorer XLT cracked next to the Ford emblem. I never use this back rear panel so there is no possibility that I caused the crack. Within the next 3 weeks I noticed at least 14-15 other Explorers with the same crack in the same location. When I talked with the owners of the other vehicles they too explained no collision or cause for the crack.

- , Loudon, TN, USA

problem #337

Aug 142010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

If this is and has been a FORD problem, then FORD should fix the problem!!!!!!!!

- , Monument, CO, USA

problem #336

Jul 082009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

We came home from a trip to find our Ford Explorer sitting in an LAX parking lot with the back panel cracked. Now that mine is cracked, I seem to notice more and more Explorers with similar cracks. Even my mother's 2002 Ford Explorer has the same crack. It is very frustrating, especially because I'm thinking of getting a new vehicle and I worry about how the "crack" is going to affect the selling/trade-in price.

- , Encinitas, CA, USA

problem #335

Dec 162009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

poor quality..............I take good care of my cars, this is clearly a defect. I thought perhaps something hit it then I noticed several other Explorers on the road have the same issue. Shame shame wonder you needed a bailout you don't stand behind your products.

- , Annandale, VA, USA

problem #334

Jun 222010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


- , Rockmart, GA, USA

problem #333

Jan 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

The Ford people told me I had to fix it to get a good return on a trade-in, even thought they know this is an endemic problem.

- , Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #332

Jun 122010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

I just hope that The Ford Motor Company fixes this problem cause this is America and people take pride in there vehicles, if not there is always the other guys.

Thank you, JH

- , Brockton, MA, USA

problem #331

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

This seems to be a problem with all of these models. Ford will do nothing about it. It is an obvious defect. I got the best esp warranty($2800) and it still won't cover it. No exterior plastic parts moldings are covered after 3yr/36000 miles BS.... OH Ford fixed the problem, they changed the new model style and took the Ford label out of the panel were it cracks. I guess someone learned something from our problems!!!! LAST Ford for me!!!!! I can't believe we can't do something about this if we all band together.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #330

Sep 162009

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

How come ford will repaint a 1988 f 150 but wont fix the broken panel or the peeling paint on a 6 year old vehicle. paid too much for this explorer an now we are all getting taken to the cleaners.

- , Union Beach, NJ, USA

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