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:
75,200 miles
Total Complaints:
753 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (293 reports)
  2. not sure (201 reports)
  3. replace panel (113 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 35 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #73

Jan 122008

Explorer Eddie B 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,400 miles


OK from the exchanges here it's obvious this is a severe design flaw and no one is getting satisfaction from Ford. I had decided to fix it myself and after reading the complaints here I'm glad I did. The part can be found on the internet for under $50. Buy some primer and a can of matching paing for at most $40 and you can fix it yourself. Pry off the Ford emblem from the old one and save it. Scrape off the old one without breaking the glass. Paint the new one. Glue on the new one. Before you put the emblem back on, buy some of the foam expanding stuff you spray in cracks to seal them. Drill a hole in the panel behind where the emblem will go. Squirt in a bunch of the foam expanding crack sealer stuff. The idea here is to fill the gap between the window and the panel so it can't flex every time you press on it to close the window. Hence no future cracks. Reinstall the emblem and your done for under $100. Oh, you might like the panel in flat black instead of a matching color. That will save you a few more bucks.

- , Pueblo West, CO, USA

problem #72

May 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,960 miles

I did not realize that I had a problem until today. I went to the local Ford dealer to find out what can be done and I am still waiting for a resolution. I suspect that I will have to pay for the fix myself, even though this appears to be a common problem with this vehicle. This will be the last explorer I purchase, I have had other problems with this vehicle, fortunately the former problems were covered under warranty. I have read in the other complaints that they all appear to be the same, a crack in the plastic under the rear hatch window, where the Ford logo is. Like many others, I garage my vehicle so being in the weather is not an issue.

- , Roscoe, MT, USA

problem #71

May 212008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,001 miles

I just noticed this problem. When I went to the dealer there was another car identical to mine with the same crack. My car is well taken care of and is in the garage most of the time, I even have it Auto butlered every six months to protect the paint, this problem is extremely annoying to say the least. I have been quoted $338.66 to fix it.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #70

Jan 162008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


My family is a Ford family. We have always had Ford cars, but now...this is getting out of hand. The plastic under the back window cracked one day and Ford won't do anything about it (unless I pay) because it is not under warranty. I think this is crap because this not wear-and-tear, this is cheap product! This is my second explorer (the only vehicle I have ever driven) and it will be my last. I will NOT buy another Ford ever again.

- , Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #69

Dec 192007

Explorer XLT 4.8L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

A friend noticed the crack in the panel under the back glass of my Explorer when he parked behind me one night. I had no idea it was there and took a look. It's a nasty vertical crack and then there is a separate crack from the bottom of the plastic to the middle of the crack connecting... it looks like an upside down letter "Y" and there is no way i'm spending 400-500 dollars in fixing this thing. I look at every Explorer I see on the road now and in my tiny town of 3000 people, i'd say about 75% of the Explorers have the crack on this panel. That's pretty sad.

- , Carrollton, IL, USA

problem #68

Feb 062008

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

When we contacted ford for this problem they offered to pay a small part of the bill which I see as an insult. This is absolutely a manufacturers defect and should be recalled by Ford. Fords customer service was horrible and imo their quality has definitely fallen off in the past 10yrs. Im a loyal ford customer with 3 Fords of my own but if this goes unresolved, I will be taking my business to another company. Chevrolet seems to be doing the opposite and really improving their vehicles.

- , Hatboro, PA, US

problem #67

Mar 262008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


Add us to the list. Our back panel cracked by itself and we had no idea it was as huge of a problem as it is. I am going to put the call into Ford but don't really expect to get anywhere with it. Have other issues with this car and hope to DUMP it soon!! I wish Ford had another car I could get so that I could give it right back to them, ha, but am afraid some poor unsuspecting soul will get it. Hate that.....

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #66

Oct 232007

Explorer XLT 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

I have a 2004 Explorer XLT that had the popular rear lift gate crack. I sent a letter to the ford corporation about this problem. They responded from their customer support office with a very unpleasant man who would not let me talk and was very rude. I tried to explain to him my problem and asked him why ford is not taking care of their customers on this wide spread problem. I told me that he was not aware of any explorer lift gate windows that were having problems with the plastic piece cracking and how can I complain to him on something they have no knowledge as being a problem. I told him that they must have known there was a problem and change the design in the 2005 and new explorers. He told me that since I was out of my 36000 mile warranty that I was on my own. Thank god my ford dealer is great!!! They replaced it for me and it only cost me $50.00. I still had a problem paying $50.00 for a known ford problem but its better than seeing that butt crack on my car.

- , Newport News, VA, US

problem #65

Jan 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

sent Email to ford but they never responded. Thats all I got to say. Bye

- , Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #64

Apr 112008

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

Ford just blows off anyone that brings up the problems, My crap dealer is El Cajon Ford in El Cajon Ca. they responded as if i was stupid, and didn't want to talk to me just

try to pass me off to difference people.

Have anyone gone to small claims court on them yet? if so what was your out come?

I'm going to check into it and see what happens

- , Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #63

Mar 192008

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles


I noticed my rear hatch panel cracked and asked about it a the dealership. I was told that the crack is a common problem with explorers and is because to the panel expands and contracts causing it to crack. I said it ought to a recall because its a design flaw. The serviceman basically agreed but said there is no recall and said it would cost $384.00 to repair.

This is my 7th ford and my 3rd Explorer. This is my last ford.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #62

Sep 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

2004 Ford Explorer XLT 42000 miles same problem with rear panel cracked next to ford plate, I think ford needs to recall this problem and get it fixed right,if they don't take action to this matter, we the costumers need to get together and go to ford dealerships and alert new costumers about ford's poor quality, I should stay with CHEVROLET

- , Waxahachie, TX, USA

problem #61

Feb 122008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

Well, it looks like I can join the 2004 chapter of the Ford Explorer "Butt-Crack" club. I Went to the store, no crack when loading groceries, drove 2 miles home and there it was, the famous cracked panel above and below the emblem. I hate to waste money fixing this only to have it happen again.

I have created a flicker group account where we can all post pictures of our "Butt-Cracks". Maybe if we all post pictures it will get Fords attention and/or we can email the link when sending a complaint to customer service.

- , Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #60

Feb 222008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

It is ridiculous the number of Explorers that have this problem and Ford should definitely recall their defective product.

- , Gainesville, GA, US

problem #59

Feb 202008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

Well, let me add my two cents. My 2004 Ford Explorer developed a crack on the rear hatch just below the window. Called Ford and they said they could do nothing. Too bad. Then I talked to a body shop guy and he says it will cost $300. Like everyone else here Ford assumes no responsibility for the crack. Probably won�t buy a Ford again. Doesn�t bother them.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #58

Apr 242007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

I bought my vehicle in May 2006. I just happened to Google 2004 Ford Explorer complaints and found that I was not the only person that has this problem. This morning when I was leaving to go to work, I noticed the crack under the rear panel. It curves along the left of the Ford logo and extends diagonally to the end of the panel. I have not researched to see if a dealer will repair it without it being at my expense. However I seriously doubt it because I am beyond the 50,000 mile warranty. If that is the case, then it can just remained cracked and hopefully it will not worsen. My only concern is that water may seep into the crack and collect inside the hatch/door. Has anyone had that happen?

- , Natchitoches, LA, USA

problem #57

Mar 032008

Explorer EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

This is a flaw in manufacturing and should be fixed by Ford. I have called customer service and I was told by a supervisor by the name of Randy "There is nothing more we can do for you here at Ford." Not a very customer service statement. If Ford does not do the right thing here and fix this issue, it will determine if I purchase another Ford. I have had Ford autos for many years and currently my family owns many trucks. I did not pay $30,000.00 for a vehicle to have the body start exploding. I was told by a dealership this was a known problem and they did not know why Ford did not recall the vehicles. They kept the part in stock but I was over the mileage. I am not sure what mileage has to do with a manufacturing flaw on Ford's part. This is most disturbing to me as a customer.

- , Burlison, TN, USA

problem #56

Jan 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I see I'm not the only one. And it wasn't until my rear Liftgate applique cracked that I noticed the many others out there on the road with similar cracks. I got no results from the Ford dealers in SoCal (Oxnard, Santa Paula & Ventura) as they all play ignorant on this issue. It amazes me how these service managers look surprised when they see the crack. Ford should take full responsibility and come up with a solution to remedy this obvious defect. I realize it is not a safety issue however, the pride and integrity of "Built Ford Tough" should hold water. These ugly cracks are located next to their Ford emblem for every person to see and judge. I own three Fords and I am sorry to say that I am leaving the Ford family for another company. May I suggest a fiberglass or composite material cover 24" in length painted black or color-coated with a new emblem that could be placed over these cracks (similar to the tailgate covers on Nissan Titans). Thanks for listening, I feel better.

- , Oak View, CA, USA

problem #55

Mar 032008


  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have owned Fords for several years and I am so disappointed in their customer service. I was on the phone and looking up the issue on-line and I couldn�t believe how many complaints. The customer service person basically told me no one was complaining and when I told him I was on-line looking at the complaints he basically told me I need to go to a dealership and work it out with them. Oh, yeah this is not cause for a recall because it is not endangering anyone. I told him what will happen if the window cracks while I am driving and it shatters, will that be cause for a recall or a major law-suit. I should not have to pay for something the manufacture is responsible for. Oh, he told me Ford is improving their cars every year. Good luck with that, this is the last time I will buy a Ford or have one in my drive way again. Please pursue this issue to the highest, because I will there riding them.

- , Harker Heights, TX, US

problem #54

Mar 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,500 miles

Ford needs to recall this issue. I have been given 3 quotes. $300.00 Ford Dealer, $800.00 Ford Dealer, $275.00 Private Body Shop.

I came out one morning and found the crack on my rear tailgate. Car is in immaculate condition. I washed the car earlier in the morning and it was cold outside. This is obviously a manufacturing defect!

- , Woodstock, GA, US

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?