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 25 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #276

Dec 302009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,587 miles


Ford should exercise corporate responsibility for a design defect and repair the "crack" that is occuring. Sufficient evidence has been shown and complaints lodged about this. Another family member incurred the same "crack" on their 2004 Explorer. However, it occurred while at the Ford Dealer for other repair work -- so the dealer stood good for his reputation and repaired for free.

I wasn't so fortunate. The crack extends from the top to the bottom of the rear window tailgate panel, just to the left of the FORD LOGO. It expands and contracts with the weather of the day. Thanks Ford! Do the right thing and recall/repair.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #275

Aug 082009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,800 miles

I came out to my car one day to go to work and notice the 3 inch crack that was in the rear panel of my liftgate. I couldn't believe it. I searched for a scratch to see if some one had hit me or if I had backed into something, but found nothing. My parents who were helping me pay for the car were outraged. The Ford dealer where I bought it said, they had heard of explorers having that problem, but there was nothing they could do. A quote from a body shop was more than I could afford. Over the next month, I watched and the crack got wider and longer, until it eventually split through the entire panel. I am outraged at Ford for not doing a recall, fixing the problem, or doing some kind of reparations. Ford quality now has a poor image in my opinion. I will never buy another Ford vehicle in my lifetime and neither will anyone in my family, or friend circle. I would like to hear Ford's theory on how I am ever going to trade this vehicle or sell it. I minds well, drive it until the wheels fall off, which may be sooner that I thought.... I thought I was helping the American economy by purchasing a Ford.. I WAS DEAD WRONG. I GOT SCREWED.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #274

Jan 162010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,500 miles

It appears my Explorer was not immune to this defect, because it now shares the same cracked liftgate window applique. Since then, I have noticed Explorers all over my county in North Carolina with the same crack. I contacted the Ford Motor Company and they refused to help with this problem, but were prompt to put in a plug for their local dealerships, who quoted me $350.00 to repair this problem. I have always been loyal to Ford, but I'll never own another. They used to make good quality vehicles and stand behind them, but not anymore. If 'ol Henry only knew what his company has become.

Update from Mar 29, 2010: I'm hearing more and more negative comments about FORD. I just don't understand...., with so many complaints, why doesn't FORD help with the problem. Don't they realize the best advertisements for their product are nice shiny Explorers driving around on Main Street, USA? More than some corny car commercial, what sells vehicles is when you see a sharp, clean car pull up beside you at a stop light, and you tell yourself, "Man, I've got to have one of those!" However, when you see the same vehicles with the same defect, you know you're not paying money for that.

- , Lincolnton, NC, USA

problem #273

Jan 042010

Explorer Eddie Baurer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


Like so many others on this page no one, Ford or my auto insurance, wants to accept responsibility. Ford declines to accept responsibility because I didn't continue my warranty on this vehicle. Ford should be ashamed of themselves and the lie they advertise across the air waves, tv, etc. Ford greedily accepted money for a bail out from the government, but refuses to stand behind the product they produced. This problem is not random, it's occurring everywhere and to everyone. Sure the economy is tough now, but as a consumer I'm disappointed in a company I have supported for many years. I currently disabled and can't afford to pay out of pocket to have my truck repaired. In all likehood this will be my last vehicle. I'm filing a consumer complaint with my State Attorney's office, the BBB, Ford and any other channel that will listen. At the bear minimum I want other consumers to BEWARE of Ford and their lousy attitude when it comes to standing behind their vehicles. Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors or anyone who will listen to avoid Ford vehicles, because in the end Ford will avoid you, unless you're willing to dish out more bucks!

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #272

Jan 042010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

The crack appeared out of the blue. We took it back to the dealer and we were told that they are aware of this happening to other people but it was not under warranty and if we want to fix it we would have to pay for it. Never again will we buy a Ford or recommend one to anyone else. Buyer beware!!!!!

- , Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #271

Nov 182009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,675 miles

I have owned this Explorer since we bought it brand new in August 2004. I have through the years made sure that the it is almost always clean and polished. Even now it looks brand new, if it has one door ding its too much. I have always taken great pride in the cars that I have owned through out my life and make sure they look great You can imagine how I felt when I so the rear panel with a crack. I got feeling sick asking myself how could this have happened? I took it to the dealer thinking it may be covered under the highly paid for extended warranty. But to my surprise the dealer said "sorry but it is not covered under the warranty. I felt my blood pressure rising to a boiling point. But they did offer to have it fixed for around $ 450.00 . Since then I have noticed many Explorer of different years with the same problem. FORD should take the responsiblity for the design flaw dealing with this problem, after all everyone paid a great deal of money for the EXPLORER. Please if anyone has a solution getting FORD to fix this I would appreciate if they would let me know. Thank You

- , Alhambra, CA, USA

problem #270

Dec 202009

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


I have taken very good care of the vehicle for 5 years and now just to see that below the rear window, the plastic cracked right in half . It just totally ruins the image of the vehicle. I will have it fixxed and will probably do it myself. But to get the part and paint it to match the car and look as good as new is no small task. It is not a problem of abuse or misuse, and I too think a good company should support such a problem. I am lucky enough to be able to keep the cost down by doing this work myself, but I truly feel sorry for those of you who don't have the garage or tools to do such a repair. Its a shame to take care of a nice car and have this happen and the company not back it up.

- , Woodbine, NJ, USA

problem #269

Nov 232009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I can't believe that I Googled this problem and saw SOOOO many people with the same complaint!! What is required by us as consumers for FORD to fix this? I saw another Explorer with the same problem driving to work this morning!! Something needs to be done!

- , Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #268

Jan 092010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,350 miles

Have been a loyal Ford owner for many years & am disappointed they haven't had a recall for this. When I first noticed the crack I thought my Explorer had been vandalized and almost filed a police report. Then I came across this website & am glad it saved me from that embarrassment. Funny how once your car has this defect, you notice just how many other Explorers out there have the same issue!

Update from Mar 10, 2010: Ford dealer will fix it for $400 but will not guarantee it won't happen again. He told me that at least it won't rust since it's plastic.

- , Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #267

Sep 012009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I will never buy another Ford. I am truly unhappy about my truck tearing to pieces and everyone from the people I bought it from to the insurance company giving me the run-around abour why they can't fix it. My panel in the back under the window is tearing to pieces and no one seems to care. I don't want to have ti dish out more money to pay for myself. What happens when it tears up again? Built Ford Tough? LOL, I don't think so. Built tough enough to drive off the lot, then you are own your own with the fixing all their f-ups!

- , Florence, AL, USA

problem #266

Jan 122010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Same as all the other posters, just went to open the hatch and there the horrible crack was, right through the middle of the Ford emblem, from the glass to the bottom. The Explorer has been garaged since day 1, there was no impact or slamming of the hatch -- it just cracked by itself. Horrible! Ford should definitely recall this part!

- , Belmont, NC, USA

problem #265

Jan 132010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

i walked outside today at work and noticed a HUGE crack in my door rear panel door !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not only is this awful looking i cant afford to get it fixed . is there any recall on this or a lawsuit i can sign up for ?

- , Columbia, TN, USA

problem #264

Jan 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,129 miles

Called Ford cause this is a defect that they should take care of, but instead they said try your insurance company! Well this is Fords defect not mine or my insurance company. Ford should stand up and take care of this what kind of car just cracks? Where is ford? Never again will I purchase a ford..........

- , Cumming, GA, USA

problem #263

Jan 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Neighbor's Exploder has the same problem. Mine is always parked in the garage (we work from home). Can't believe there isn't a secret recall on this one. This is an excellent vehicle, but Ford must learn to stand behind their products. Back to Toyota for me.

- , Garland, TX, USA

problem #262

Jan 082010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

does anyone know where i can buy a new panel? if you have info. please e-mail me the info.


- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #261

Jan 082010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,652 miles

click to see larger images

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

Just came out this morning and it was cracked. Same as everyone els including my neighbor's who's cracked two weeks ago and same as everyone else. just to the left of the ford emblem and with around 70,000 miles.

Has to be a defect for it to occur in so many and at the same place.



Germantown, TN

- , Germantown, TN, USA

problem #260

Jan 042010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

FORD YOU NEED TO FIX THIS PROBLEM! Over 200 complaintes should be your first clue that your company is using cheap stuff to make it's cars wih. I went outside one morning and there it was, a huge crack in the SUV!

- , Fort Bragg, NC, USA

problem #259

Nov 272009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles

I have a 2004 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer V-8. I recently noticed while walking around the vehicle on a cold morning that a crack had developed around the Ford emblem and had cracked completely through! I thought no way this is happening to my car! I have noticed this in passing other Fords explorers too. As this is clearly a defect either in the placing of the emblem during manufactering of the vehicle or a defect in the materials used to make the door, why haven't this been recalled in ALL Ford explorers. It seems that this part could break off at any time. This is obviously no fault of the owner. What does it take before the coorporations recall something? This problem and other issues I have encountered with this year make and model has left a less than desirable taste in my mouth as to future purchases of anything made by Ford. Was this a bad year or what?

- , Starke, FL, USA

problem #258

Dec 282009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Problem just showed up one day. Crack goes all the way between the back window and the bottom of the panel. Window still latches but looks awful. Definitely will affect resale value.

- , Williamston, SC, USA

problem #257

Oct 172009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I dont believe I should have to pay to fix this. It is a faulty factory part. I didnt breakit and I will continue to write in until ford pays for this panel to be fixed. If writing in I will start contacting the news channels and new papers I know there are plenty of others who would be glad to send in complaints about this. I would appreciate ford to replace this panel at no cost to me since it is no fault of mine. thank you very much

- , Ladson, SC, USA

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