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 23 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #316

Sep 092009

Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Bought this car used but in excellent condition. Looked brand new when we bought it. About 2-3 months later, one day I just happened to notice a crack in the panel below the rear glass. Not much to mention at first. Now, with the heat of SC and time, the panel now bows out from the back of the car and is definitely an eye sore! Makes my nice car look ugly. Hoping to get it fixed, I just don't think with so many complaints on the same issue the $ should come out of my pocket. Not to mention all the Fords like mine that I now notice with the same problem that haven't complained.

- , Darlington, SC, USA

problem #315

Jan 052010

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I suddenly noticed the crack one morning on the back panel, and then started noticing them on every other Explorer I see!!! I can't believe that Ford won't do the right thing and recall this---OBVIOUSLY there is a problem with the way they were MADE!!!! SO SAD that we the people get stuck once again having to pay for something that we have no control over...

- , Dacula, GA, USA

problem #314

Feb 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

Same issues as the others. Came out one morning and saw the crack. Shame on Ford for not fixing this obvious defect!

- , Middletown, DE, US

problem #313

Feb 112010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


Hey: I'm writing about the rear door on my 2004 F Explorer. a 7inch crack under the rear window to the right of hatch handle has come from no wear and with no signs of contact from anything. Now that its on my Explorer I notice it on several others. these other explorers are also clean and with out other damage except for the crack.could this be faulty material or plastics. ? PS this crack is always on the plastic panel under the window and may be to the left or right of the hatch release handle.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #312

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

Walked outside on day and there was a huge crack under the back window. Just another problem that Ford refuses to fix and admits no fault to even though 1 out of every 3 explorers I see on the road has the same problem. They should be sued for having the slogan "Built Ford Tough"

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #311

Dec 182008

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

so I thought it would be nifty to park next to the exact same car as mine once a long time ago in this parking lot right? so I do, and when I was walking back to my car I noticed that the crack in the rear plastic window panel I thought I was responsible for, was IDENTICAL to the crack in the persons explorer next to me. I thought it might be a coinsidence but after looking was TO THE T!!!!! Then I found this site. Thanks ford.

- , Lake Havasu City, AZ, USA

problem #310

Feb 112010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


Same problem as everyone else has described. Just closed hatchback one cold evening and crack, there it was. I was astounded. Like everyone else I too, started looking at every explorer and have been amazed at how many have the same crack just below the rear window next to the emblem. I haven't call Ford yet but will be interested in what they say. Wonder if there will be a class action law suit. Should be!

- , Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #309

Nov 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I am so frustrated!! A week after I bought my car, it cracked right under the back exterior window. The dealership would not fix it and toold me it would take $1000 to fix!! That is ridiculious!!!! Ford needs to do something about all of these complaints or they will lose many many buyers!!

- , Tyler, TX, USA

problem #308

Feb 062010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

Same issue as the others. Came out one day and found the crack. Unbelievable that this isn't covered considering this is a consistent issue for many.

- , Middletown, DE, US

problem #307

Dec 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

i too have the rear plastic panel that is cracked by the emblem-i have taken it to the dealer and same response is there is no recall-this is also making my liftgate ajar light and sensor go off repeatedly-very disappointed with the response from Ford and the dealer-i have also noticed numerous other Ford and Mercury suv with the same problem-this also adds to the rear transmission that has had to be repaired 2x already-any updates from Ford suggestions

- , Greenwood, IN, US

problem #306

Apr 012010

Explorer XSL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


ford need to fork the money out like Toyota and fix this problem for once!!!!!!

- , Ila, GA, USA

problem #305

Jul 262008

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

When the crack first occurred, we contacted the Ford dealer where we purchased this truck. We asked them if there was a recall on this part because we had seen several in our area that were cracked.We were told there was no recall and the part was not under warranty because it is not a drive train or electrical issue. We decided we did not have the money to repair it at the time because we were expecting a baby at the time. Just 1 month after the crack appeared, the back glass shattered and fell out! As it turns out, the back glass runs under the fiberglass and after you open and close the top portion of the hatch too many times, the glass can not hold up to the pressure and busts!! We now have a junkyard hatch on the back because after the glass breaks it costs about $600.00 to repair! This problem SUCKS and Ford will not fix it until someone is killed!

- , Allentown, PA, USA

problem #304

Feb 102010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

This is an obvious problem that Ford needs to address to keep customers happy. I've seen countless numbers of Explorers around the state that has the same exact problem. How about not spending some money on an ad campaign and spend the money fixing customers cars that have an issue like this one. Good PR would be worth a lot more than someone watching a commercial on TV! If Ford doesn't do anything, this may be the last ford that I own!

- , Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #303

Jan 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Crack below back window next to ford emblem. Ford's reaction to this problem will dictate whether or not I buy another Ford ever again. This is my 3rd ford vehicle (Ranger, Explorer, Explorer). Out of principle, I cannot buy another unless they do the right thing.

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #302

Feb 102010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

First and regularly, the front visor plastic attachments keep cracking -- you would think that Ford would manufacture them out of Nylon and not the cheap plastic that is presently being used -- sounds like a racket to me. Next, the crack on the exterior rear panel where the window is located -- I am afraid that water will seep in and do damage to the interior wall of the back door. Cheap plastic again.

What do I do???

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #301

Nov 212009

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

Apparently there are MANY of us out there with this very same crack on the back panel of our cars! I too have no scratches, dents, etc except for this unsightly crack! This has caused a VERY annoying rattle! I know it's coming from this crack! I'm afraid it's going to rattle so much that the window is going to break. There is not a day that goes by that I don't see another Ford with this crack! Come on Ford...fix this problem!!

- , The Colony, TX, US

problem #300

Jan 162010

Explorer XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Just like the other complainers, I came out of the bowling alley and put my equipment in the back and saw that the panel was cracked in half on the left side of the ford emblem. I thought maybe water got behind it causing it to freeze and crack the panal. But with reading several of the complaints here, I think that this was not the case. I looking at trying to replace this panal myself, if I can figure out how to replace it.

- , Nebo, KY, USA

problem #299

Oct 162009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I first thought someone must have hit my car with their fist and cracked the back panel but then I began to see more and more explorer's with the same thing. Between this and my visors and my lumbar support and my rear passenger window, I'm wondering what's next? I love my ford but its not loving my back!

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #298

Mar 142010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,691 miles

click to see larger images

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

On Saturday 13 March 2010, my wife and I drove the vehicle and never noticed any defect to the area of concern. But, on Sunday morning around 14 March 2010, as my son and I was packing the vehicle prior to taking him back to college--after his spring break, we noticed the crack. I reported the problem to my insurance company. While returning from my son's college campus, I stopped at Fort Jackson, located in Columbia, SC., to do some shopping and noticed an Explorer that was parked in front of my vehicle had the same crack. So, I took a picture of the defect. While I was taking the picture, the owner of the vehicle walked up and pointed out the crack. The owner informed me that he never noticed the crack before and it certainly wasn't there the day before. This is no coincident--this has to be a defect! Two different Explorers with the same defect, in the same position.

- , Summerville, SC, US

problem #297

Dec 102008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

After a very cold night the next day I noticed three cracks on the rear lift gate window it seemed to have happened over night I called and complained to ford and they said they never heard of anything like this happening and that I was the first to have this problem. Anyways , after traveling around town for the next several months I noticed that It was impossible for them to have never heard of this crack seeing nearly every dam ford explorer on the road seemed to have the same problem. And are you kidding me 400 dollars to fix? I hope they aren't replacing with the same piece of crap plastic again.

- , Lady Lake, FL, USA

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