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:
75,156 miles
Total Complaints:
758 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 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 30 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #178

Mar 302009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles


Its embarrassing and ugly and a defect and should be recalled and repaired by Ford, not the consumer.

- , New Hartford, CT, USA

problem #177

Jan 042007

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

One day, just noticed it had a crack at the Ford emblem. I thought someone had bumped into it and cracked it. Later, I noticed other Explorers with the same problem. Then another crack appeared in another portion of the panel. I figured there was nothing Ford would do, and sure enough, looking at all these complaints they still do nothing.

- , Pearl City, HI, USA

problem #176

Mar 132009

Explorer Eddy Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Ford gave us the run around--recalls are only for safety reasons! Bumper to Bumper warranty are only for the THREE Year you pay for, if a flaw in the design shows up later you're out of luck.. THINK TWICE ABOUT BUYING A FORD

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #175

Nov 012008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Like everyone else.. I walk out one day to open the back and there is a crack all the way through right around the emblem. I started noticing other Explorers with the SAME thing. Why won't Ford recall this.. It's obviously a huge problem!!

- , San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #174

Feb 212009

Explorer NBX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Like many others, the crack around the Ford emblem just appeared. We were very upset when we saw the crack, but even more upset when we heard how many people were complaining about the same thing. We did have the crack fixed, because we want to try to keep the vehicle in good condition. We paid $375 just to have the piece replaced. We hadn't heard about the problem before it happened to us. A couple weeks after we noticed the crack in ours, we saw another Explorer with the whole strip missing. This is something that Ford should take care of.

- , Silver City, NM, USA

problem #173

Dec 202008

Explorer 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

found the crack around x-mas time, thought someone had tried to brake into the car. found out recently it is a defect and not my fault. the car is already past warranty so have no recourse with that. since is a defect the ford company should pay to get this fixed, it is unsightly.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #172

Sep 102008

Explorer XLT V6 Flex

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


Same as everybody else... one day it just appeared........

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #171

Sep 082008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

It's been several months since I walked outside one day to find out that the panel below my rear window had CRACKED all the way down and around the FORD emblem! I couldn't believe it. Nothing had hit it and I take really good care of my vehicle. I bought it brand new with only 8 miles on it just days after it was manufactured. I never called Ford about it because I figured they would tell me I must have done something to cause it to crack. About 3 weeks ago I went on a trip and someone passed me and I noticed theirs looked the EXACT same, maybe I'm not the only one....a few days later, I see ANOTHER one.....a few more days, I see another one in a parking lot and decided to talk to the owner. He told me that he contacted FORD and they wouldn't do anything about it. His cousin and his neighbor also had the same problem with theirs. Tonight I went to the store and when I came out there was yet ANOTHER ONE, just like mine only he didn't have "THE CRACK" . It looked like he just ripped the entire panel off and said the heck with it. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't my fault or something that I did to it, it's just faulty material or workmanship. I sat down at my computer tonight just to see if I could find anything online that might resemble my problem and MAN was I blown away!!!! I can't believe how many people this has happened to and all along I thought it was just me. I appreciate the person that mentioned the site. I didn't know about it, but I'm going to print it out and tape it above the CRACK with a note to other "Victims" to go to these sites if their rear panel looks like mine. I will contact FORD to make sure my name is added to their list of recipients of faulty materials. I don't remember seeing anything in their brochure about "Caution, this $25,000.00 vehicle will crack if used outdoors!" They didn't advertise that part, did they?

- , Gloucester, VA, USA

problem #170

Mar 012008

Explorer XLT Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

So, yeah, I noticed this one day when loading groceries into the back. One of the first of many defects with this vehicle that I am STILL making payments on. Spoke to a dealer and he gave me the "it's a common problem" speech and said no recall had yet been issued (I'm not holding my breath). Around $300-400 o fix... and the Ford customer service center just keeps giving me the same BS lines. "Have it evaluated by a Ford technician" etc. etc. etc. Class Action suit!

- , Baldwin Park, CA, USA

problem #169

Jan 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

Can't believe we bought this beautiful Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition only to find out that the panel right below the rear window cracked! Just walked out one day to find this huge crack running from just below the window to the FORD emblem. A real disappointment! Called to find out if it was a recalled almost every other Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer I've seen has the exact same crack...but was told NO. Real evidence of very poor customer service on FORD's end. Don't want to pay to get it fixed....who's saying that it won't happen again?? A real structural defect must be present for there to be so many Explorers on the road with the same problem!!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #168

Jun 112008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles



- , Florence, SC, USA

problem #167

Mar 052009

(reported on)

Explorer 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,300 miles

This car is only used on Sunday's. I'm a rollback driver and work 6 days a week. Was washing the car and was the crack in panel below back window. This is a problem because the same thing happen to my sons car and my sisters in laws car. We all own FORD EXPLORERS. My car only had around 44000 miles on it. This should be a recall.

We try to buy American cars but they don't want to stand by the problems.Anyone out there with this problem please complaint. Maybe FORD will do the right thing.

- , Middle River, MD, US

problem #166

Feb 122009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Just searched and was surprised to find that it is a serious problem in manufacturing. I will contact Ford, just to have it on record, and maybe there will be some kinda recall in the future. I will heck into having it repaired.

- , Rowlett, TX, USA

problem #165

Jan 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

When this happened it was early morning and very cold, January, in Kansas. I heard a crack and thought it was a window cracking. A few weeks later I noticed the frame was cracked. Ford really needs to recall these and fix.

- , Augusta, KS, USA

problem #164

Aug 052008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

We closed the door to the trunk while on vacation. We did not slam the door, but we heard a crack and the door was cracked right below the window. We saw other Ford Explorers with the same crack. This is something that we were looking for a class action suit notification to come in the mail. I don't know what to do.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #163

Mar 042009

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

I went to put something in my truck on February 28,2009 and noticed the back hatch was cracked around the ford emblem just below the glass. The crack is about 1/4 inches wide and I also have a neighbor who just recently noticed hers as well. We compared the cracks and they were identical to the one that is on the sight. I called ford and they told me to take it to a dealer and see if they thought it was a defect, so we both did. We were told that there had been many complaints but they were not going to fix the problem. I think that is a load of crap and I intend to call the local tv station in my area and see if they can help. At least maybe it will bring more people to get together and get something done. thanks for listening.

- , Angier, NC, USA

problem #162

Feb 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,143 miles

I am going to talk to a military lawyer about the crack problem since I am in the military and currently living overseas to find out if I can start a lawsuit against Ford in order to start a recall and replace lost funds due to replacement. I will try and update my findings on this site and others. If I cannot start a lawsuit because of me living overseas I hope that someone stands up for the hundreds that have been complaining to the wrong people ie. Ford and websites instead of people that can take Ford on ie. lawyers.

- , Abilene, TX, USA

problem #161

Feb 062009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,900 miles

I noticed a crack in the rear panel of my explorer. I did see another ford with the same problem in the same location; so I got online and found this site. I have not called it in yet; however, I am going to the dealer next week. I did not realize this was such a huge issue with so many year models. You think they would have recalled or used better parts.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #160

Jan 032007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

Now, here we are exactly 2 years later and this crack mysteriously appears again in exactly the same place on the tail gate, in the plastic body molding right below the window on the rear tailgate by the Ford Emblem. Just like the others who complained of the same defect. This time the dealer, Perry Ford in Poway, CA wants to charge me $450!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Horsecrap, this is definitely a DEFECT!!!!!!!!!! And a known one.

- , San Diego, CA, US

problem #159

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I won't fix it... the replacement would break too...

- , Groves, TX, USA

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