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 27 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #229

Sep 072009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


Yet another issue with the EXPLODER.... Can't say we will ever buy another Ford....

- , Upper Black Eddy, PA, USA

problem #228

Jan 152009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,500 miles

I enjoy telling people about why many japanese cars are preferred by consumers. Car companies complain american workers are the problem. It damn sure wasn't an auto worker that ordered or designed this cheap plastic panel.

- , Sun City, AZ, USA

problem #227

Oct 042009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Same as everyone else - one day, I closed the lift and saw what I thought was graffiti - felt it and it was a crack. Will call Ford and see what lies will be told.

- , Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #226

Oct 042009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles




Ford Motor Company / Consumer Affairs

16800 Executive Plaza Drive

Dearborn, MI 48126

- , Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #225

Sep 042009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Early September I walked out to my car to see that I had a crack on the left side of the ford symbol on the back door. I was not sure how it got there and started looking at other explorers in the area-almost all of them I have seen have a crack. I took it and got a quote to fix it for about $500. Four days ago my car had another crack. I have sealed them and painted over it, but I do not think this is right!!!! I should not have to pay to fix it when I do not even use the back door. I want to replace the part (I think Ford should) but I wonder if a new part will crack again. I take good care of my car and it is in great condition, but these cracks look terrible!!!!!!

- , Ludowici, GA, USA

problem #224

May 132009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Ever since we noticed the crack in the rear panel....we have kept track of other ford explorer 3 out of 5 have crack even some so severe that piece of the body is missing not just cracked..... this needs to be a warrenty issue.

- , Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #223

Sep 172009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,800 miles


Crack developed in liftgate body directly under rear window. Runs from window interface, down around emblem, about 8 inches in total. Only have 50,000 miles on 2004 Explorer. Have probably opened and closed the rear door/gate 100 times over 4 1/2 years. Dealer says not under warranty as outside of 3 years, 36,000 miles. Anyone know of any relief coming back from Ford? I buy American, but to have a defect like this show up at less than 50,000 miles is baloney.

- , Boise, ID, USA

problem #222

Jan 042008

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

My rear panel is cracked and I noticed other

Explorers had the same problem. Ford should

issue a recall and replace the panel at no


I plan on calling Ford this week. I would urge you

to do the same.

- , Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #221

Jun 022009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Here's another one to add to the 'Crack in the Back'. Maybe I can add two as my son's Mercury Mountaineer cracked in the exact same spot several months before mine?

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #220

Jan 152009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I went to get the explorer out of the garage and noticed the crack in the panel below the rear hatch window. It was not there the night before. Of course the car is out of warranty. However sense this has happened I have seen approximately 8 other explorers with the same crack. Therefore this must be a common problem and(SHOULD BE A FORD RECALL)

- , Covington, OH, USA

problem #219

Jul 222009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


One day this summer I walk out to my car parked at work and notice a line running down from under the rear window. Sure enough, a crack. Annoyed, because I knew I did not slam it and nothing else had happened to it, I called our local Ford dealership. They made it sound like that was very unusual. We had purchased the extended warrenty but of course we were over the miles. It was going to cost about $400.00 or more to replace it. Needless to say, it is still there. It really makes me mad to see how many people are having the same issue and Ford is not taking care of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Appleton, WI, USA

problem #218

Nov 052008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Well, I bought my car NEW in 2004. I noticed the crack last winter and also noticed HUNDREDS of others in my area. Ford said they will fix it.....for a nominal fee of course. Arrgghh!! They want to charge me $50 if my mileage is under 70k miles. Which it is, but this is a manufacturers defect, FORD should be paying this!!! I don't think I will EVER own a Ford after this. Found On Road Dead!

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #217

Aug 012007

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

There is a crack on my Ford Explorer 2004 model. I have seen this on all the Ford Explorers I see. There should be a recall, but they have their money and that is that. This is really sad, as it could effect my future decisions and with the Buffalo weather, this is a nuisance too.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #216

Jul 112009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I live in Warren, OH. The 2004 Explorer is my wifes vehicle. She noticed the crack in the panel below the rear window last month. It was only part way. Before two days were up, the crack was all the way across, and under normal driving conditions. We took it in for warranty work on someting else and I had them quote a price to fix it. And now here I am. Rediculous! This should DEFINITELY be a recall item. I was on my way home from the dealership, and you wont believe this, but I saw another Explorer, about the same year, with a crack below the rear window just like ours! (ok, you might believe it) I didnt realize how common this was till I started doing research on it. I dont anticipate a response from Ford until the economy clears up. Which is never. Workin man gets screwed again!

- , Warren, OH, USA

problem #215

Oct 262007

Explorer LTD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

just really annoying and I see that problem on almost every explorer I see. this should be a recall!

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #214

Aug 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

The panel on our Explorer cracked today. Just like the rest. I was very surprised to find out that Ford is not correcting this defect in both design and materials. I have written to the law firm mentioned in an earlier complaint and will also contact the NTSB. I think I will also make a notice to post in the back window. Maybe a few tag lines will help, I wonder...

"Built Ford tough!" "Except for this piece."

"Ford has a better idea." "It has to do with NEW customers, NOT return customers."

"Quality is Job 1." "Fixing this is Job # 807."

"There's a Ford in your Future." "Wanna buy this one?"

- , Marshfield, WI, USA

problem #213

Jan 142009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

When calling Ford Customer Service they said there was no recall or customer satisfaction complaint ever filed . . . WOW ..... do they think we are stupid????? Do they choose just to ignore the issue? When you see 9 out of 10 Explorers with the same problem to they think we are making it up? My confidence in Ford is definately not what it used to be :-(

- , Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #212

Feb 102009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,154 miles

Like many others have said about this problem, one day I went out and the crack was there. I was always careful when closing the door so nothing like this would happen. I check out all 2004 Ford Explorers that I see and 9 our of 10 of them have the crack in the same place. Come on Ford. Do something about it.

- , Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #211

Jul 072009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,600 miles

Crack under rear glass of our dark blue explorer just showed up one day. In past two days, I have seen two other dark blue explorers with exact same form of crack. Seems like ford needs to make it right for all of us.

- , Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #210

Jul 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

I'm having the same issue as everyone else. I have a crack that has suddenly appeared this month on the rear panel below the window and to the left of the Ford logo. I purchased this vehicle new in 2004 and just paid it off this past May. I just saw another Explorer about the same model as mine, a Red one, that had the same exact crack as mine. That led me to do some checking online and it appears to be a widespread problem. Why hasn't a recall been issued? I have treated this rear door gingerly all these years and for this to happen really ticks me off. My car is silver and the crack really sticks out.

- , Clinton, MS, USA

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