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 32 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #129

Jan 042009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,500 miles


Ford will loose another good customer (about six Fords over 20 years) if they don't fix this problem. Like many others, I take good care of my truck. I paid good money for it (almost top of the line model) and WAS proud of how it looked. But now there is a crack that appeared for no good reason. Stupid piece of plastic, obviously not designed or made well enough to handle it's job. If the crack lets water in that does more damage, then Ford will hear more from me (and others, I'm sure!).

- , Centreville, VA, USA

problem #128

Jul 012006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

As many others have complained, cracked panel under rear window.

- , Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #127

May 012008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

It seems that when my Explorer reached 31,000 miles stupid things started happening. This is the 2nd thing at 31,000 miles that happened. I take really good care of my car and have it washed once a week and clayed every 6 months since I live at the beach. I came out of the office one day to see this HUGE crack on the plastic panel under the glass around the Ford emblem on the back gate. I looked it up on line to see if anyone else had issues and was shocked that so many people have the same problem. Mine happened at low mileage but my 3 years were up for warranty. I called Ford and they told me that it was a cheap piece of glued on plastic that would cost me approximately $450 including paint to replace the piece of plastic. They said that even though this was a Ford issue that they were well aware of they would NOT cover it or recall it and it would be to expensive to recall it. They also could not guarantee that the new piece would last either and would not give a warranty on the new piece. I was basically told if the new piece did not hold up and cracked the same that I would be responsible for that as well and have to shell out another $450 to get another one. The guy did his usual upsale and told me that if the it didn't get fixed quickly that I risked my glass falling out. I'm not stupid and the glass is held on by bolts. Now every where I go I see this issue on most explorers. Ford doesn't deserve a bailout if they can't take care of their loyal customers. So I am waiting for a recall!

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #126

Dec 272008

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,206 miles


I noticed that I had a crack under the rear window just after Christmas, I was on vacation when I found it. I checked online through Ford recalls, but none have been issued. I called my dealer and was told that it might be covered under my extended warranty, but have to pay a $100, deductible. I am hoping that it is covered but my dealer did not make any promises.

- , Ukiah, CA, USA

problem #125

Dec 202008

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,500 miles

click to see larger images

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

As many of these as I've seen, this is obviously a defect in materials! Ford should fix these with a recall/replacement. Guess that's why I'm not going to buy another Ford, to bad too since I've driven Fords for more than 30 years,

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #124

Oct 012008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

I was wondering if there might be a recall on this, since I hae seen it on several Explorers. We are really disappointed in the quality of this vehicle, and this just adds on to it.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #123

Feb 022007

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,515 miles


I have no idea why or how it happened. Then I start seeing other 2004 explorers all over the city of los Angeles with similar cracks in the rear panel. I don't know if someone is going to recall or if Ford even cares. There is no reason for the cracking other than faulty workmanship. I keep my car in very good condition and this is embarrassing. I don't feel I should have to fix it since it is a manufacturer problem.

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #122

Dec 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

We bought the car new and have had some minor issues, but this is unacceptable. This is a key component of the rear window functionality and stability. The panel just cracked without any event to cause. We are planning on replacing and hoping that this is a recall from Ford, but as we have found is on us. It appears that it was made of material that shrinks and develops strain in the center of the panel. For now our car will have a smelly crack that Ford needs to repair. Ford...Clean my crack!

- , Torrance, CA, USA

problem #121

Dec 162008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,900 miles

this is bullshit i see these explorers driving around with the same problem i always thought it was because of people shutting the hatch to hard till it happened to me you come outside from work and its cracked.

- , Goshen, OH, USA

problem #120

Dec 152008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Just saw this morning where my back hatch panel cracked under the window down to where my license plate rest underneath. My sister drives a Ford as well and her vehicle did this last year. I called Ford and they told me my vehicle isn't under warranty and it will be up the dealership. I spoke with the Dealership and have to bring it in but it sounds as if I will have to pay for this out of my pocket which IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Anyone else have luck resolving this.

- , Shiner, TX, USA

problem #119

Dec 082008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


Can't believe this. Cracked from bottom of window to top of liftgate. Has anyone had success with ford fixing this problem?

- , Emerald ISle, NC, USA

problem #118

Dec 062008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

We just bought this 2004 Explorer. When driving down the road we heard a pop at the rear of the car. We thought it might be a rock bouncing under the car. In the morning we discover the crack mentioned so may times here. For the last week I have been on the look out to see how many Explorers have this same issue. My estimate is about 80%. Seems like Ford should step to the plate and fix this issue.

- , Clayton, NC, USA

problem #117

Nov 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

Mine cracked too. I just walked out in the garage and noticed it. No other damage, no sign of any "trama" to the vehicle, it just cracked. I don't know whether to take it to Ford and see what they will do for me or just pay a bodyshop to make the repairs.

- , Springfield, OH, USA

problem #116

Mar 202008

Explorer XLS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

Here is another "happy" Ford customer!! LOL! I noticed the crack in my back hatch, and I too emailed Ford my problem! I didn't even get a response. Now I see why they are needing a hand out from our tax dollars! I feel like they could fly coach a couple of times and pay for all of our cars. I don't feel that I need to pay $350 to fix something on a 2004 car that is obviously a manufacturer issue! I think that Ford needs to make this right and get on this recall!!

- , Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #115

Oct 302008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

The panel on my Explorer has cracked for the second time. The first time at 28,000 miles and now three years later at 57,000. The first time I actually was in my vehicle and heard it crack with a loud pop.

This time I was able to practically watch it happen. A few days before it cracked it developed what I would describe as a crease about two inches long right next to the Ford emblem. I kept my eye on this crease for a few days, suspecting what was getting ready to happen. Sure enough after about 4-5 days I checked it and it had cracked right along that crease. The car hadn't even been out of my driveway nor had the liftgate been used. The first time the dealership fixed it under factory warranty but this such luck. It will cost $375 at our body shop. I have contacted Ford however I don't expect to get anywhere with them. I have driven nothing but Fords my entire adult life and I am just disgusted and appalled at the blatant disregard for their customers in this matter, Needless to say, Ford has lost us on this one. I will try to get rid of this one and then never again, Ford!

- , Fairfield, IL, USA

problem #114

Dec 062008

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I bought this Explorer in 2004 and had the rear panel crack in 2006. Ford covered some of the costs that time and now it is 2008 and it has happened again. this product is defective, it only lasts for approx. 2 years. When i called Ford they told me there was nothing they could do to help cover the repair costs, even though there are alot of people with this problem. I will NEVER buy another Ford product again. NO

- , Keystone Heights, FL, USA

problem #113

Nov 302008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,275 miles

Correction on mileage when I posted the first time about the rear panel under the hatch window cracked.

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #112

Nov 302008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,275 miles


I was loading my vehicle last night to head back to Baton Rouge. This morning while outside I couldn't believe what I was looking a "Crack". How does something like this just appear after having this vehicle this long? As my luck has it I just relocated to Baton Rouge and will not be able to take it to back to the dealer from where I bought the Explorer. I thought should I just super glue the stupid crack to prevent it from going even further! I will be at Ford (asap) once I get back to Baton Rouge. Is there any point in trying to file a comp claim with my insurance or will have just to suck up the cost to repair such a defect. This is my 3rd Explorer and this is the first time this has happened. Maybe it is time to switch to a different make of car!

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #111

Oct 302008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I think this stinks, I called Ford Motor Company in Detroit and they advised me if same was not under warranty, I would have to get same fixed on my own. I recently went to my parents house near Charlotte, NC and saw several explorers with the same problem, maybe if enough people come forward and complain, maybe Ford will be a true AMERICAN car company and fix this problem

- , Bear Creek, NC, USA

problem #110

Nov 292008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Just noticed mine cracked a couple of days ago.I'll say something to the dealership where I bought it,but I know they will not fix it because I have 76,000 miles and they will tell me it is out of warranty.

- , Pleasant View, TN, USA

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