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.

CarComplaints.com 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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,189 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #178

Aug 172014

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that after opening the rear glass lift gate window, the two aluminum hinges fractured causing the lift gate to fall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician stated that the hinges needed to be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired since the parts were not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Wilton, NY, USA

problem #177

Jul 142014

Explorer

  • miles
The car was parked in a grocery store lot. I used the remote to open the back latch to store my groceries. It did not open. I tried again. Suddenly the back window exploded and the back hatch came off it hinges. I am unable to drive the car until it is repaired. I found many stories online that said the same thing has happened to other 2004 Explorer and Ford has not done anything with the complaints. This episode could have been very serious had it occurred while driving or if someone had been hit by the flying glass debris.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #176

Jul 112008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The rear hatch door cracked and noticed so took to auto body shop and they told us it was a Ford defect and if fixed it would crack again due to the make of this car.

- Concord, NC, USA

problem #175

Aug 302013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The back hatch window doesn't seem to line up with the latch. The back hatch also cracked right near the Ford logo. I have seen many of the Explorer that this has happened to. Its time Ford fixes this defect. Also while doing around 60-65 mph my timing chains broke, all 3 of them at the same time. I could understand 1 maybe but all 3 ? this to has to be a manufacturer defect.

- Cameron, NC, USA

problem #174

Jan 012014

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear wheel wells and frame were rusted. And the rear hatch was fractured. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 100,000. Updated 09/30/14 the consumers stated the transmission jerks into gear. Updated 02/25/2015

- Green Belt, MD, USA

problem #173

Jun 042007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
When closing rear panel, the panel cracked.

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #172

Apr 292014

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 72,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Rear glass lift gate: Cracks appeared in the rear hatch on both sides of the rear Ford logo.( I now notice many Ford Explorer with same cracks). Top right glass hinge twisted significantly and top left glass hinge twisted slightly. The fastening bolts for both glass hinges are rusted through. This resulted in the rear glass window shifting, apparently causing the cracks in the tail gate. I contacted sunshine Ford's service dept. In newburgh, NY and was told Ford is not responsible for fixing/replacing this defect. They chose their words carefully. They emphasized that "my model year" was not recalled for this defect. I asked if "any" Explorer had a recall for this defect. They would not say; but instead repeated, "my model year" was not recalled for this defect. NHTSA has already received consumer complaints of injuries from owners whose lift gate glass broke off its mounting hinge while open, and caused head injuries. It is only a matter of time before a rear lift glass panel detaches from an Explorer in motion on a highway. That could easily lead to a multi vehicle accident along with multiple fatalities. I checked and Ford had a similar part recall for 2002 & 2003 Explorer. Ford changed the part then and has not met the # of complaints to be forced to recall 2004 and up Explorer. Unfortunately, I think many Explorer owners check with the dealer as to whether or not there was/is a recall and give up upon hearing no. We need to get anyone we know with this problem to file a complaint with the NHTSA. It is only a matter of time before some innocent person dies as a result of this "known" defect! as I understand it, this is a known defect for which Ford is not willing to take responsibility. Ford should fix this problem at no cost.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #171

Dec 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear lift gate was fractured directly on the logo where the lift gate lock was located. The defect could have caused the rear lift gate to open while driving. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 14,000 and the current mileage was 16,000.

- Fredericksburg , VA, USA

problem #170

Feb 272014

Explorer

  • 609,289 miles
Rear lift gate plastic cracked through Ford logo with no contact. Third row seatbelt stuck and hard to release.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #169

Feb 102014

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 63,785 miles
Crack in rear hatch below rear window. As I understand it, this is a known fault for which Ford is not willing to take responsibility. Ford should fix problem at no cost.

- Stevensville, MD, USA

problem #168

Feb 052014

Explorer

  • 89,846 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate was cracked. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic for repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 89,846.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #167

Jan 202014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,620 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Ford Explorer. The contact stated there was a crack underneath the window of the tailgate. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing or to be repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 8,627...updated 03/25/14

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #166

Nov 132013

Explorer

  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed a crack on the lift gate near the manufacturer's emblem. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 147,000.

- Bear , DE, USA

problem #165

Oct 232013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 125,300 miles
The rear liftgate panel cracked for no apparent reason.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #164

Nov 052013

Explorer

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer XLT. The contact stated that upon inspection, the left hinge that held the trunk window snapped unexpectedly. The window was held by the contact while another person latched the window back into place. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 25,000.

- Cardington, OH, USA

problem #163

Dec 202012

Explorer

  • 140,000 miles
On the body the tailgate panel keeps cracking this makes my truck look bad compared to the money I put into it. My engine or transmission acts as if something is wrong it is not shifting gear right. On the electrical tire pressure light keeps coming on and it also keeps leaking water from somewhere. Ford needs to go out of business for selling these pieces of junk. It makes no sense.

- Columbus , GA, USA

problem #162

Jun 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
I opened the lift gate window to load groceries when the right side of the window suddenly let go up near the hinge. This caused the right side of the window to drop and then the left hinge broke, causing the entire rear window to drop. I was able to catch it so it didn't break and eventually release the support struts so I could get it into the back of the vehicle. It appears that the fastener near the hinge was corroded through and when I tried to open the window the weight was finally too much for it so it snapped, releasing the window on that side. Fortunately this fastener failed in a parking lot and not on a freeway or the whole rear window may have come off and posed a danger to the cars behind. Ford has already issued a recall for 2002 and 2003 models which used the same hinge assembly, don't know why 2004 was not included.

- Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #161

May 132013

Explorer

  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear hatch was defective and the plastic that covered the license plate area on the hatch became fractured. As a result, when the hatch was opened, the contact and two children sustained lacerations to the hands. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,000 and the current mileage was 114,000.

- Liberty Township , OH, USA

problem #160

Mar 282013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the horizontal panel under the rear lift gate was fractured. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 85,000.

- South Daytona, FL, USA

problem #159

Apr 262013

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
My daughter weighs 99 lbs she opened hatch at gas station and the window portion of the entire hatchback fell off also there is a crack in the plastic down the hatch which I see on every old Explorer.

- Lewiston, NY, USA

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