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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,836 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

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 8 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #59

Dec 052009


  • 88,000 miles


2005 Ford Explorer has a crack in the rear hatch. Our friends had the same issue and the rear window eventually shattered while they were driving. This seems to be dangerous but Ford has not issued a recall.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #58

Nov 272009


  • 61,000 miles
Cracked tailgate panel where "Ford" emblem is. Cracked while vehicle was sitting in driveway. Have noticed a lot of other Explorer with same cracks. I believe it's defective materials being used and Ford should take care of the problem.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #57

Nov 172009


  • 77,460 miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer XLT has a crack in the tailgate/back hatch. It starts under the window seal and continues down to the hatch lever. I'm afraid the glass will become compromised due to the defect in craftmanship. I was on another forum where 387 complaints for the same issue. I don't have the money to pay for poor craftmanship issues. I feel as if Ford should rectify the situation immediately at no cost to it's customers.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #56

Jan 312008


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. When he activated the cruise control while driving, it deactivated itself without warning. He had to restart the vehicle to re-set the error code. The failure occurred intermittently, and mostly on the interstate. Also when he would turn on the turn signals, the automatic warning system would make an alarm noise and blink until the turn signal would cut off. The automatic transmission appeared to lose fluid, when he shifted into reverse. He heard a roaring noise near the tire area. He was told by the dealer that the hubs needed to be replaced. Lastly, the aesthetic piece on the lower half of the hatch-back had cracked and separated from the vehicle. He took the vehicle back to the dealership and was advised that there was an electrical failure. No repairs were made. The manufacturer referred him to NHTSA. The current mileage was approximately 68,000. The failure mileage was approximately 52,000.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #55

May 132009


  • 55,000 miles
Rear panel of the 2004 Ford Explorer is cracked, we are afraid to open and close with the possibility that the window will fall out and possible hurt some one.

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #54

Mar 012009


  • 87,000 miles
Liftgate glass applique cracked.

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #53

Jul 082009


  • 145,000 miles


I noticed my 2004 Ford Explorer has developed a vertical crack in the plastic tailgate attached to the rear window left of the Ford emblem. I took it to the dealership and they recognized it as a common problem with the 2004 Explorer and also warned me the hinges on the rear glass fail often as was the case on my vehicle. Service tech stated there was no recall as yet and I got to pay for the new hinges and holding off on the crack thinking Ford made do the right thing and repair the fault.

- Paradise Valley, AZ, USA

problem #52

Jul 282009


  • 76,000 miles
The panel below my rear window has cracked on my 2004 Ford Explorer. I did not drive it that day, so I know I was not hit, or the door was not slammed.

- West Salem, OH, USA

problem #51

Jul 022009


  • 72,000 miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer has a crack in the rear hatch. It appeared out of nowhere. It was not preceded by an accident or anything. Upon talking to a friend whose car has the same problem, I researched this problem on the internet and found that it happens a lot.

- Aston, PA, USA

problem #50

Mar 102009


  • 40,000 miles
Paint on roof of vehicle is chipping and body is rusting.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #49

Feb 012009


  • miles


2004 Ford Explorer; rear panel below window cracked.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #48

Apr 202009


  • 69,000 miles
A crack appeared on the lift gate top panel just below the wiper. The crack runs vertical from the top of the panel around the Ford emblem to the bottom of the panel. I noticed that others are having this same problem at around 70,000 on the 2004 Ford Explorer eddie bauer edition.

- Rockwall, TX, USA

problem #47

Jan 192009


  • 110,000 miles
The panel below the rear window cracked for no apparent reason. I loaded my gym bag into the back and closed the hatch. When I came back 5 min later to wipe the dew off the window I noticed 2 vertical cracks on the panel. The cracks seem to be getting longer and I fear the window may fall out.

- Roseville, Ca 95661, CA, USA

problem #46

Mar 152009


  • 54,700 miles
2004 Explorer rear tail gate crack next to Ford emb.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #45

Apr 142009


  • 62,000 miles
Wife came back from school and told me the problem. We have a 2004 Ford Explorer with a crack on the rear trunk lid below the rear glass where the Ford emblem is, looking through the internet and found out that there are a handful of complaints regarding this panel becoming crack what so ever and still no recall.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #44

Feb 202009


  • 70,000 miles
Back hatch panel on my 2004 Ford Explorer cracked into two pieces for no reason. Looked online and many other owners are having the same problem and no recall on this part has been issued. I have not replaced the part yet as it is a $400 repair that is obviously due to poor quality of parts used by Ford.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #43

Nov 262008


  • 76,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer with the back plastic door been split in half, it looks like this is happening to a lot of Ford Explorer, we have taken the truck to the dealer. The problem is not on a recall and it will be on our own expenses.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #42

Mar 252009


  • miles
I walked around to the back of my Explorer to put groceries in the back trunk area to find the plastic cracked by the Ford emblem. It runs the length of the flip open glass panel that has now broken the integrity of the car leaving it much easier for someone to break in. The car was not involved in any sort of collision, no other marks were seen.

- Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #41

Jan 022009


  • 125,000 miles
We have a 2004 Ford Explorer that had a spontaneous crack occur on the back lift gate below the glass and through the Ford emblem. We have seen many Explorer on the road with this defect and were told that this is not going to be recalled and would be responsible for fixing. Although we considered; most people that have had this fixed; the crack happens again. This would cost 4-8 hundred dollars to fix and will probably occur again.

- Houston, DE, USA

problem #40

Oct 312008


  • miles
Walked outside one day and noticed a crack in the plastic panel below my rear window. I have seen many other Explorer with the same problem.

- Greenville, SC, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?