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:
75,265 miles
Total Complaints:
760 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 reports)
  2. not sure (204 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 26 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #256

Dec 092009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,298 miles

I'm done with Ford, with only 50,000 miles the thing is falling apart. It's never pulled a trailer...OMG, can you imagine if it was ever used as a work horse????

- , Grass Valley, Califirnia, USA

problem #255

Nov 182008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,200 miles

Never noticed how many were broken, till it happened to mine.

- , Sparta, TN, USA

problem #254

May 132007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles


After owning several American cars over the years with absolutely no luck at all, problems up the yin yang, I decided to purchase a used Explorer for my wife. Perfect condition and low mileage a big plus. A couple of months into owning the vehicle I saw the cracked lift gate. I immediately questioned my wife on what she had done. This was news to her. The crack was way too high for someone to have hit her. I come to find out, through Ford, that this is a common problem that they are aware of, but will not fix unless I pay an ungodly amount of money.

I'd like to know how they sleep at night knowing they sold a piece of junk and will not own up to it. This is definitely not helping my perception of American car makers!

- , Arlington Heights, IL, USA

problem #253

Oct 022009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I woke up one morning to find a hideous crack to the left of the Ford emblem on the liftgate. Ford would be happy to repair if I had purchased an extended warranty. What a racket!! My last Ford. Hello Toyota!!

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #252

Sep 012008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

Waited for chance to look for recall and was suprised to find none, found this site and hope more people will wiite complants about the panels that cracking in half, just like most of the same modelsl I see on the road with the same problem.

- , Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #251

Dec 112009

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

On December 11, I went shopping and when I went to place items in the back of my vehicle, I noticed a crack all the way from the back window to the bottom of the panel. I take very good care of my vehicle. There was no indication that the vehicle had been hit as there were no damages. I asked my mechanic to look at the crack and tell me what he thought. He did some research and found that this problem is very common with Ford Explorers. He checked with the local Ford Dealership (Hilbish in Kannapolis, NC and they told him it was not under warranty, but it was such a common occurrence, they gave him a quote for repairs without even looking at the vehicle. I also have 1499 for an extended Platinum Warranty (6 years/72,000 miles. My vehicle only has about 54,000 miles and the 6 years are not up, but I have been told this is not covered by the warranty.

I do not understand why Ford has not issued a recall for this problem. It certainly seems to be a widespread problem. I will file a complaint with Ford and with Better Business and everyone else who has this problem should do the same.

- , Davidson, NC, US

problem #250

Dec 142009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Same complaint as others. Walked out to my explorer (my baby, low mileage, well cared for, no wrecks) to find the panel under the rear window cracked. Crack starts at bottom of window, extends to Ford symbol, and then starts again next to Ford symbol and extends downward. Clearly a stress crack. So angry!!!! Called Ford and logged complaint. They say there is no recall and it is not covered under warranty. Going to log complaint with National Highway Traffic Safety Admin and Better Business Bureau.

Interestingly, we are a Ford family and are having problems with our 2003 Expedition as well. We have had to replace SIX catalytic converters and need another!!! Ford is taking no responsibility. And now this. We are disgusted!

- , Jacksonville, NC, US

problem #249

Dec 102009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I too walked out to my vehicle after we had our first winter snow and found that there was a crack in my rear panel below the window -- around the FORD emblem and all the way to the base of the panel!

I thought I had closed it too hard or someone had tried to break into it! Then I googled it and found this website FULL of the SAME complaints! Ford should recall this defect!!!

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #248

Dec 082009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

There are at least 2 vertical cracks that appeared below the rear window. There was no accident or incident.

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #247

Nov 242009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,500 miles

Adding my voice to the numerous complaints about the issue of a crack 'magically' appearing on the panel below the glass and to the left of the Ford symbol. Thanks to others for giving me a direction in which to vent my frustration ... I will be calling Ford, 800-241-3673 to add my voice to this issue.

Update from Dec 10, 2009: Called Ford and logged a complaint. Contacted BBB via the Web and am filing a complaint. Quote from local dealer for parts/labor was $558. I am seeking other quotes as previous entries on this blog indicate others have been quoted a lower price.

- , Crane Hill, AL, USA

problem #246

Jul 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

I am waiting for the entire rear portion to further crack and fall off, leaving my vehilce exposed to any and all thieves to ransack it. Haven't even priced a fix for this eye sore yet. I can only imagine.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #245

May 102009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

the crack that I have on my back window panel is an eyesore and is looks very ugly and it really stands out. I would really like it to be fixed.

- , Darby, PA, USA

problem #244

Aug 132008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I just wanted to add the fact that my 2004 Ford Explorer also cracked on the back panel just below the rear window, another problem that Ford refuses to take responsibility for.

- , Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #243

Nov 232009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

This crack appeared out of no where! One day the car was fine, the next morning I leave to go out and always back my car into the driveway and my son tells me "look at the car!" Here's a big crack that you can tell is a stress crack of some sort from faulty materials. I call the EZ-Care extended warranty and they tell me it is not covered under this FULL COVERAGE Plan!! It's considered a "body seal" which I find ridiculous since it's part of the car's body, and houses the locking mechanism of the back window. I am waiting for a call from the dealership we purchased the vehicle from (Auto West Mazda Rosevile, CA) and will continue to research the issue until I find someone who will admit this is a factory defect that should definitely be fixed by Ford and not the sucker who bought the piece of S#*T.

This is not the first major problem, and I will list the other one as a separate complaint, but the rear window came completely unattached because a faulty bolt at the top holding it to the car frame. This is a very bad design as far as the whole rear window and door area. I almost got my head taken off by the thing because as I opened it one day it snapped apart and slammed down on me!! I cold have been seriously injured as the whole window and door part is EXTREMELY heavy!

- , Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #242

Oct 042006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

I purchased the vehicle used from CarMax. I assume the problem was already there because the crack appears and disappears based upon the weather. (Material expanding and contracting) I took the vehicle to a Ford Dealer for other issues and requested them to check with my warranty on getting the panel replaced. Ford denied the request and wanted to charge me around $500 plus I had to pay to have it painted the same color as my car. I decided not to move forward with that and still have the crack. I also notice similar Explorers with the same issue while shopping. Too bad Ford won't step up to the plate to take care of their customers.

- , Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #241

Nov 172009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,640 miles

Yesterday upon picking up my daughter from school she asked how the back tailgate was cracked! I got out to inspect the car, and to my surprise the entire length from the bottom of the rear window down to the hatch lever. I'm a stay at home mom & the only driving I do is carpool every other week & grocery shopping. I don't know how it could have happened other than poor craftmanship since I've never been in an accident.

I attempted to contact the Ford Motor Company to file a complaint, but it was past the business hours apparently it's on the East Coast.

I hope the crack doesn't get any larger with the upcoming winter in WA.

Update from Nov 25, 2009: I contacted the Ford Motor Company and spoke with a representative named Anthony that informed me that Ford doesn't issue the recall so it's a lost cause continuing to contact them. Instead he gave me 2 phone numbers to call and fill a complaint with the NHTSA ( National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ). I searched the online database & came across a complaint filed June 2008, but was closed as of October 2008 when their investigation didn't have a significant amount of complaints filed to have a recall issued.

800-424-9393 888-327-4236

Call the numbers above, or visit the website I posted above to file a complaint to get this resolved immediately.

- , Kennewick, WA, USA

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