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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
63,209 miles
Total Complaints:
62 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (31 reports)
  2. repaint (27 reports)
  3. strip all paint and start over (4 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Jul 162008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


I have had the paint redone on a few places on my truck a couple times. Twice the hood and the roof. I would see a bubble under the paint on these areas. Like the paint was not adhered to the vehicle. We had purchased the extended warranty to lucky for us it was covered.

- , Appleton, WI, USA

problem #21

Jun 262009

Explorer EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,590 miles

I own a Ford Exp 04, The paint on the front and under the hood is bubbling and peeling. And I only have 35K. Same issues as everyone else, out of the warranty period the dealer doesn't want to help...I'm scared now of looking on the roof. Totally unacceptable...To me this seems to be a manufacture defect that FORD is not bothering to correct. Let's get together and take actions.

- , Elk Grove, IL, USA

problem #20

Jul 012006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

The paint on the hood of the car is bubbling and peeling, all the cars in the same color/year that i have seen all have the same problem

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #19

Dec 012008

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


I can't believe the severity of this problem. How in world can Ford know about this and not care to fix or even comment on the paint problem?

- , Moberly, MO, USA

problem #18

Apr 202009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I washed my 2004 Explorer and noticed an 8 inch long section of paint missing from my roof just behind my sunroof. I heard that this was a problem so I took it to my local Ford dealer. They inspected the paint and confirmed it was defective.. The body shop mgr. called ford and they said they will do anything for me because I bought the SUV usedů He then said this is a common problem with Explorers..Sorry

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #17

Mar 052009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

i purchased this ford explorer and had problem after problem. 2 years ago a rear wheel fell off going down the highway . i could have been killed. now all the paint is peeling off the roof. this really sucks. i called ford and they won't stand behind either of the problems. i even have a great warranty on it but what good is it if no one fixes the problems. i am here holding the bag once again and have to pay for it again. no more fords for me. i am done with that company.

- , Laurel, NY, USA

problem #16

Jan 042007

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles


Noticed bubbling on the hood back in Jan 2007. Not too long after a few car washes, the bubbles at the front corners of the hood soon started peeling. I know that the entire hood will need to be painted and it won't be cheap. What is cheap is the Ford black paint! I had a 97 ranger pickup that had terrible black paint that faded and oxidized everywhere.

Yes, I do live in Hawaii, and the air here is salty, but other black vehicles of the same age from other car manufacturers don't show the same problems as the Fords do. They need to re-evaluate the paint jobs on their vehicles. I don't know about the other paint colors, but Ford's black paint doesn't last.

- , Pearl City, HI, USA

problem #15

Aug 292008

Explorer EB

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

Ford told me it is no longer under warranty so I have no recourse. I began searching if others have complaints. I was just going to have the roof fixed but no I wonder if the hood and other places will begin to peel off. What a shame since I paid too much for this car even though I thought I was getting a good deal. In my search I have seen almost every year has cars that have failing paint jobs. Seems that Ford has a big paint problem that can affect all cars. What a shame we cannot get a class-action suit against Ford so they will pay for all these repairs. I'm not looking forward to paying for Ford's mistakes.

- , Tuc Son, AZ, USA

problem #14

Feb 062009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Guess what folks? I was talking to a friend outside at work and tried to figure out how the shadow was cast on the roof of my white 2004 Ford Explorer. Right smack dab in the middle(from left to right) of the front part of the roof. As it turns out - it's not a shadow at all. The paint has peeled down to the bare metal. Since I don't have ANY respect for the dealership here, I doubt I'll even show them. I take care of my vehicles and pride myself on their appearance. I have to agree with the person who said we ought to get together and get a class action going against Ford. Their standard response of SOL is worn out and they ought to be kissing our butts to keep any future business. They obviously don't consider the fact that we all have to ability to inform friends, neighbors, relatives and even enemies of their lack of concern.

- , Savannah, GA, USA

problem #13

Sep 142008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,569 miles

I own a 2004 ford explorer and i am not proud i have the same problem as everyone else as far as the cracked back panel and paint chipping off of the top.I was fortunate enough that my dealer mike Murphy said that if i paid 50.00 he would take care of the problem when i dropped the truck off to get fixed we noticed the paint chip on top of roof so we ask the dealer about the problem and he said that he has not seen that problem before.i think that we need to get together to form a class action against ford

- , East Peoria, IL, USA

problem #12

Sep 222007

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


We noticed the paint peeling along the outside channels on the roof just recently however I think it actually started at least a year ago or more. For a long time I would look out the window of my house and see a light color along the channel on the roof of my dark blue car. When I would see it I would just think it was dust or dirt settled into that channel and didn't think too much of it. Finally one day I climbed up on the running board and looked up there and realized it was the paint coming off! The paint on the hood is also bubbling and coming off. Along with the cracked liftgate (twice) and cracked black door panels, all this on a $30,000 four year old vehicle that we have taken immaculate care of and pretty much babied ever since we bought it brand new! What a disgrace, Ford. In this day and age, as long as Ford has been building cars, you would think they would know how to paint a car! But they put a cheap, crappy paint job on this Explorer and put it out there for someone to buy for $30,000! Last Ford I will ever buy!

- , Fairfield, IL, USA

problem #11

Mar 042008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This is the latest in a string of problemsm with my Explorer. I noticed the paint chipping off the outside ridge of the roof this spring. I'm not bothering to talk to Ford based on past experience and others rants. Again, NO MORE FORDS!

- , San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

problem #10

Sep 272008

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

2004 Explorer with bubbling and peeling paint on the roof. Talked to Local dealer this am 30 Sep 2008, he said sorry, but you are out of warranty. To fix this problem he said it will cost me $800.00.

My vehicle is parked in my heated garage. How sad that Ford will not cover this problem

- , Crofton, MD, USA

problem #9

Aug 252008

Explorer Limited 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I recently spoke with Ford about the paint on my hood bubbling and peeling. Ford responded to me that it was not covered under my extended warranty which I purchased at the time I purchased the vehicle. I have contacted the BBB and logged a complaint.

My next course of action will be to hire a private attorney and sue Ford Motor Company. Much to my displeasure I will never purchase a Ford Vehicle again.

- , West Keansburg, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jan 012008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The paint on my truck is bubbling and peeling on the roof, right over the Ford nameplate. The truck has always been kept in my heated garage, so there is no reason this should be happening. This has been one of MANY issues I've had with this lemon of an SUV! (My 1999 Explorer was perfect--no issues. I drove it 110K miles before buying this horror.)

- , Furlong, PA, USA

problem #7

Nov 212007

Explorer XLT 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The paint on the roof of my 2004 Explorer is chipping in the outside channel. I tried to talk to the ford corporation but their customer service rep told me I was SOL because it was past their 12month 12,000 mile paint warranty. My dealership has been really good and offered to split the cost 50/50 but they said that they might have to re-doo the entire top at $1700. I am going to fix it my self with touch up paint.

- , Newport News, VA, USA

problem #6

May 312006

(reported on)


  • 40,000 miles

I have owned my truck for less than a year, I look out side my window of the house and see gry on the top of the truck since my truck is not gry in color I go to take a look , the paint is peeling of the top of the hood it's in two places about a foot long in each place we take it to a autobody to see what the problem is they say they say it is factory paint and something must of went wrong !we take it to the dealer that we got the truck from it was used my bad!!! they say that the factory warranty is up on the truck I bought an extended warranty what about that !! that dose not cover it paint is only covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles . I call the ford company and they pretty much say the same thing , I am sorry their is noo recall on the paint and since your are asking for asst on something that is already out of warranty you will have to drive your truck to a ford company have them look at this and we will see what if any we can do so I owne a care for nine months and am is det 19,000 $ trade in my payed for car with 50,000 mile warranty on it left . and have a piece of crap!!!!!!!!!! sorry about your luck we cant paint very well but we sure can charge you out the butt for it..

- , Delmar, MD, USA

problem #5

Sep 152007

Explorer ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

Paint on my 2004 Ford Explorer is bubbling up on the front of the hood where you open it. The other day I went through the car wash to get the salt off and after the wash there was a big chunk of paint that had been ripped off because there was nothing really holding it there. Pretty sad when you are scared to wash your vehicle because the paint will come off. I am taking back to the Ford dealer to see what they will do about it. I currently have 37,000 miles on my vehicle and I am really scared that they will not do anything. This is enough to make me sick.

- , Manistique, MI, USA

problem #4

Jul 182007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Just wondering if anyone has this issue with their wheels bubbling under the finish. It continues to get worse, I'm going to see if Ford will replace them under the 6yr corrosion warranty. I'll keep you posted.

- , Beaver, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 172007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

Paint bubbling on front lip of hood. Been that way for a year, no rust, like the paint simply never bonded to the metal surface. Chipping off like an old house. Now I have a pin head spot of rust appearing on rear quarter panel which does not appear to be from any damage or contact, simply rust starting to show through.. This is a 3 year old car!!!!

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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