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 26 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #240

Sep 102009

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

I visited my local Ford dealer and they referred me to their body shop. The body shop called the dealer back and asked if it would be a warranty repair since they had fixed several of these under warranty. Naturally, the dealer said NO! So he suggested I call Ford about it. I called Ford and they said the local dealer would contact me abou the problem. Which they did only to say NO! Go figure. I called Ford back and they also decided to say NO! I have owned Fords since my 1969 Boss 429 Mustang and I am pissed! This is my third Explorer after a 1974 Bronco. I guess the sons a bitches think I will never buy another vehicle.

- , Hot Springs, AR, USA

problem #239

Nov 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


Just like everybody said, it just appeared. I pulled the old one off, had the new one painted, and installed it myself.

- , jville, NC, USA

problem #238

Nov 162009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

Just like so many others, rear panel below window cracked just to left of "Ford" logo for no apparent reason. Definitely a manufacturers defect.

- , O Fallon, IL, USA

problem #237

Feb 022009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

I had the same problem with my back panel cracking. I thought something had hit my car or someone had slammed the back to hard but I see now it is a problem with the Explorers. I spent $1000 getting it repaired! I asked Ford about a recall and they said no. I think they should recall the Explorer for this.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #236

Oct 022009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,500 miles

I thought when my girlfriend asked "What did you do to your truck?", she was joking. When she showed me the 5-6inch crack down the lower part of the window hatch I was shocked. I knew I hadn't done anything and looking at it closely there were no signs of anyone else doing anything either. Since we had recently purchased this vehicle used I knew there was no warranty, so I tried to glue it. That didn't work at all and almost looked worse then the crack. I figured we would have to get it replaced when we could save the money. On my way home a few days ago at a stoplight I pulled up behind another Explorer and guess what? Yes, just like the nasty crack on mine this one had it too. I was going to follow the car but thought they might get scared, though I was very curious how or when their crack occurred. I spent all day looking on-line like many of you to find that there were many complaints for this same thing. I called the local Ford dealership and they weren't surprised by it, they actually gave me the Customer Service Number for Ford Motor Company 1-800-241-3673. (Try to keep in mind that we are angry at Ford Motor Company not the poor person answering our calls. Like the rest of us they need to feed their families) I was told by the local Ford it would be approx. $150.00 for the part $100.00 for paint and labor ($100 or more since they have to send it to a body shop to be painted) so at least $350.00. I'm sure when I say that is not pocket change many of you will agree. I guess the thing is to have all of these complaints Ford should buck up and admit they used a part that excuse the expression "SUCKS"!

So the wonderful lady I spoke to kind of said this 1. make your local dealership diagnose the issue 2. call Ford Motor Company 1-800-241-3673 and have a complaint taken down they won't issue a recall till enough complaints are made not gripes on-line but actual complaints. For those of us wanting a real solution we have to follow these steps and make a paper trail. I asked how many complaints do they need and she was unable to tell me she didn't know. I am scared it will cause a accident when it falls off going down the road. Will the glass fall too? I am going to make my paper trail and then contact my attorney through my pre-paid service I have. I'm also filing with the BBB.

- , Meridian, ID, USA

problem #235

Oct 262009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Same as everyone else noticed the crack one day, ford says not under warrenty. The running board cracked and not under warrenty but understood since it is added on but this is the body of the should hold up and if not makes you wonder what will crack or fall off next so I am sending this link to everyone I know and everyone I see that has the same problem and maybe if enough people complain and call the BBU then maybe something will be done.

- , Reidsville, NC, USA

problem #234

Oct 302009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I came out of the grocery store yesterday and went to open the back door and noticed a 5 -6 inch crack on the door that wasn't there the day before. I looked around wondering if someone had hit it or something. I wasn't sure what had happened. I realized that it couldn't have been hit or anything because there weren't any dents. Very strange!! It was drivng me nuts about how it got there. I thought I would look online just to see what would cause his type of thing to happen. I couldn't believe all the complaints here!! Exact same thing (left side of the Ford emblem). It's funny the day before we were talking about trading it in, but decided it was still a good car in good shape. It still looked pretty new and ran good and now this! I thought someday I would get a new Explorer, but now I don't think I will ever buy another Ford! I can't see paying $18,000.00 for something and taking good care of it and have this happen for no reason. Unbelievable!!!

- , Burlington, MA, USA

problem #233

Jun 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,850 miles

There should be something Ford can do, I shouldn't have to pay for this

- , Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #232

Aug 112008

Explorer XLS 2.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

At the time it happened, I was covered by Ford's Extended warranty service. The Service rep was supposed to schedule and call me to have the vehicle brought in for repair. I kept checking back and finally the warranty expired. At that time I was told that I had to pay for the repairs or try making a claim through my insurance.

- , Lithia, FL, USA

problem #231

Oct 092009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

I moved to NY from SC and within the week the back panel cracked. This was in 2006 and my car was still under a full warranty. The body shop told me this was a class wide problem and that it will be covered. So I moved on with my life, and my fixed car. I moved to San Diego, CA and had a perfect 3 years. Well I've had the pleasure to find myself back on the East Coast...specifically RI, and low and behold what started getting a little colder and I see that infamous crack start forming. It's getting bigger everytime I look at it. I doubt this will be covered again, but we'll see. I think this is a climate issue and the type of plastic or glue they use. Shame on Ford for not being able to fix this.

- , Newport, RI, USA

problem #230

Oct 172009

Explorer XLT 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles


- , Aurora, CO, USA

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