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 1 of 4)

problem #62

Jul 012011

Explorer XLT 4.O

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,865 miles


I assume the problem was already there when I purchased, just didn't notice. Most of the roof has peeled and am noticing bubbling on rear passenger side as well as paint coming off the hood(with no apparent damage-chips) I was told by Ford it is common.

Update from Feb 24, 2015: the wheel rims are peeling also.

- , Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

problem #61

Oct 252006

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

The paint on the roof started peeling off in sheets in 2006, Ford paid to have it repainted. Started peeling against in 2010, painted again under warranty and now 2014 peeling a third time on roof and now on hood! Very frustrating.

Anyone know of a class action lawsuit with Ford?

- , Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #60

Dec 202012

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,525 miles

paint peeling off the hood of the car and I have noticed this on my neighbors black ford also only on the hood

- , Lincoln Park, MI, USA

problem #59

Feb 022010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


the dealer put a bug shield on prior to purchase I was not able to wax the hood in that area. The paint bubbling on the hood is very annoying.

- , Neenah, WI, USA

problem #58

Dec 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

In 2009 the paint on the leading edge of the hood bubbled up and was starting to rust. My dealer called Ford, and they agreed to cover half the cost of the repair...repainting the entire hood. Now the problem is back! I have another design-related problem with a cracked rear window panel,which I have reported separately. Ford should repair both problems, even though the car is out of's their failure to produce a reliable product, and they should make it right. I have seen more than two dozen cars with one or both of these problems, all within a 5-mile radius of my home.

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #57

Sep 162008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,400 miles

First year, so I have been told of the Aluminum hood on the Explorer. The paint is lifting off of my hood at the front corners and along the front curve of the hood. It has bubbled up and then literally pops off!

- , Clarkesville, GA, US

problem #56

Jun 012011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


had for fix it when the car was under warrany but the paint keeps peeling on the roof and they no longer want to cover it and it was painted at a ford dealer. shouldnt they cover there own work ?

- , Glen Burnie, MD, US

problem #55

Apr 012009

Explorer XLS 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Took it to the dealership to show them they said Ford knows about the problem. Either pay $285 to repaint it or they said buy a bug shield to hide the paint pealing.

- , Lincoln Park, MI, USA

problem #54

Sep 152011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

paint peeling all over the roof...what was ford doing when they designed this suv....just bad. i have owned mustangs and earlier explorer models and this one is cheaply made parts, maint problems unheard of with any other car companies...cant say much more....I'm getting more upset by the min.

- , Southfield, MI, USA

problem #53

Jun 122009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

the paint bubbled up and started peeling and has been getting worse, its on the roof where the sunroof would be on a limited

- , Fisherville, KY, US

problem #52

Oct 052009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,500 miles


when I first saw this it was a bumpy, now it peeling all across the hood, I put a bug guard across it to cover it up some, but I think it is something ford should know about. This peeling is a factory problem, maybe bad paint or underlay. something is causing the problem, its not the owners. Call Ford, it needs to be a recall.

- , Glenwood, IL, USA

problem #51

Nov 182009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,666 miles

my 2004 ford explorer's paint on the roof is peeling off. The whole roof it looks like crap. The paint should not be peeling of the roof.

- , Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #50

May 012010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I think it's unfair that Ford won't recall all these trucks it is clear that this problem is not due to mistreatment by the owners.

- , Evanston, IL, USA

problem #49

Jan 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,257 miles

The entire front edge of the hood has paint bubbling and falling off. The truck is in great condition other than the hood. I make it a habit of looking at other Explorers and see the same problem in many instances. Obviously, my problem is not unique.

- , Joliet, IL, USA

problem #48

Sep 012010

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,234 miles

paint should not just flake off a truck that is only 7 years old, its an embarrassment

- , Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #47

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Water/moisture is trapped under the folds of the front of the hood, therefore, it begins to bubble under the finish. eventually working its way to the front of the hood. Everytime I wash my Explorer a new chip appears. My resale value is GONE. No one would buy it.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #46

Jun 112010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,901 miles

Almost all of the paint peel off the roof while rinsing the top. Started as a small spot of bubbles and when the water hit it it peeled off in great bit sheets.

- , Palmetto, GA, USA

problem #45

Oct 082009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint peeling paint peeling paint peeling paint peeling

I purchased this car used in December of 2008. It came without any defects, paint included. After about 6-8 months, I began to notice the paint peeling on the roof of the car and thought, "Just my luck!" Yeah, I was pretty pissed and still am. Got estimates today on how much it'll cost to be repaired. The prices ranged from $531.97-$1,500.00!!!

For the price that I paid for this car and the recognition that Ford has attached to their name, you'd think that the paint would actually stay on the metal.

I'm proud to mention that I'm in the process of gathering people for a class action lawsuit against Ford for this issue. If you drive a 2004 Ford Explorer and have been having the same issue, with the paint on the roof peeling, email me at:

Together we can make a stand!

- , Sapulpa, OK, US

problem #44

Apr 012006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

unbelievable, the paint is not covered under warranty, even though the car is only 2 yrs old, and I know 3 other people with the same vehicles that have the same problem, go figure!!! What a FINE paint Job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Ferndale, MI, USA

problem #43

Jan 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Another issue on my car. I had my car washed in January 2010 and my guy called me over to point out some bubbling paint on the hood in 2 separate areas - I know what the issue is - Ford used a cheaper lighter aluminum when they made these hoods and didn't use the correct heat resistant base coat for the paint to stick. I just refuse to pay a few more thousand dollars to have this fixed until they recall it - Which I hear might be in the works along with a class action suit.

I also have rust on the roof of my car and it was car-ported for the first 5 years of it's life. I also have little nicks where the paint looks like it got nicked all over the car (less than 10000 miles on this issue)- this happened early on in the life of owning the car. I took it to the dealer thinking the paint was so bad it couldn't stand the element (I live near the beach) The body shop at ford told me I drove behind a truck that spilt gravel????? Um no I didn't and there are no nicks in my glass. I think I would know if I drove behind a gravel truck or any thing blowing crap out of the back of it.

Ford needs to step up to the plate - I laugh that they were boasting on how great their sales have been this year.

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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