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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
10 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,058 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 1 of 3)

problem #58

Aug 022014

Explorer

  • 141,500 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 plastic hinges attached to the window fractured causing the window to fall and separate from the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 141,500.

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #57

Jul 042014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 108,800 miles
Upon opening the rear glass hatch, the passenger side of the hinge broke when fully open and the window fell down, hitting me in the head. The panel below on this same window to the left of the Ford logo plate had also cracked about 6 months ago.

- Union Grove, WI, USA

problem #56

Jan 052014

Explorer

  • 113,000 miles
My car was parked outside of the grocery store. I opened the rear hatch to load my groceries. As I reached up to close the hatch the right side of it collapsed and fell right on my head leaving a large lump. Upon investigation I found that the hinge on the right side of the hatch had snapped and the weight of the hatch has twisted the hinge on the left side. Luckily, I broke the fall of the hatch or there would have been shattered glass everywhere. Definitely a safety issue.

- Middle River, MD, USA

problem #55

Aug 212013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 152,000 miles

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

Rear lift gate hinges cracking at pin causing rear gate glass to shift down and tailgate not to latch correctly.

- Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #54

Aug 172012

Explorer

  • miles
The right hinge on the rear window lift gate is corroded and as a result is half broken off. The window rattles due to it being loose. The left hinge is now starting to do the exact same thing. There have been times when I turn the vehicle on and the message center will indicate 'rear liftgate ajar' and it is the window hatch that is ajar. I feel this issue w/the hinge will ajar from the latch. I called a local dealership to see if this was a recall and he stated not on my specific vehicle after giving him my VIN. I feel this is a huge safety issue. I refrain use of the window in the fear it will fall on me. Now my fear is the window will fall completely off while driving.

- Tremont, IL, USA

problem #53

Dec 162012

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate hatchback hinge was corroded and cracked, causing the glass to separate from the frame. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer advised the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 (recastructure: Body: Hatchback/liftgate: Hinge and attachments). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 80,000.

- Herndon , VA, USA

problem #52

Aug 182012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles

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

Our 2004 Ford Explorer - my son opened the liftgate and the right hinge snapped leaving the window dangling in my 10 yr olds face. After much reading online, we have discovered that the rear window lift gate glass hinge has been a problem for many Ford owners. The rusted out plastic pieces are snapping off and allowing the glass to fall from the hinge. I was able to rush to the back of the car to grab the glass before it fell. My entire right side is sore from trying to hold the glass and trying to shut the window lift gate so I could get the car home. With one adult and three kids, I was stuck trying to figure out how & what to do with this window dangling. We are shocked that Ford has yet to recall the 2004 models but has recalled previous years. This is obviously a huge problem & it needs to be addressed. Someone is going to get very hurt. The hinges & struts need to be recalled on this model.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #51

Aug 032012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 78,460 miles
Upon opening the rear lift gate, the hinges completely gave out and the lift gate fell away from the truck. I was fortunate in that I was able to catch and hold it, as my 5 year old son was standing beneath in order to hand me his beach toys, at the time of the incident. I had to hold the (very heavy) lift gate until a mechanic arrived to detach electrical components and placed the lift gate inside the 2004 Ford Explorer. I then had to drive home with no lift gate while exhaust fumes filled the truck. It should be noted that prior to this incident, the tailgate cracked, which I see is a common issue with this particular vehicle and the subject of a class action lawsuit.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #50

Jul 172012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
The left (driver side) rear lift gate hinge broke making the rear lift gate and window unusable. This occurred when I was going to close the door, thankfully it was only the window section that was being closed as I'm sure the door itself is pretty heavy.

- Pine Hill, NJ, USA

problem #49

Jun 142010

Explorer

  • miles
I was driving down the street and heard a noise. We turned around and the liftgate had fallen off its on hinges and was hanging loose on both sides. We had to hold it on and drive the car back home. The car has not been driven since that date in 2010. Ford needs to be responsible for the 2004 model and all of its defective products. This is the second complaint that I have filed against Ford concerning this car. The first was a #2 valve falling in the engine and causing the engine to blow up. NHTSA please do something about Ford. Someone has to make car manufacturers responsible to the consumer. Every time that NHTSA is contacted nothing is done until millions are negatively affected.

- Tomball, TX, USA

problem #48

Oct 102011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles

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

The rear lift glass hinges on my 2004 Ford Explorer broke during use of the lift glass. The pin broke right through the hinge on both sides. This happened while car was parked and lift gate window was open. Left side just fell, and then right about 1 minute later, I just happened to have some 2X4's in the back which prevented the window from falling to the ground. This seems like a pretty dangerous defect. Internet research has revealed this issue was cause for a recall on the '02 & '03 Explorer and seems to be wide spread on the '04, yet no recall for the '04.

- Earlville, NY, USA

problem #47

Jul 182011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 92,339 miles
The liftgate glass hinge on my 2004 Ford Explorer (model exxltspnbx) broke while closing. There is only one bolt holding each of the two hinges onto the glass and the bolt broke on one of the hinges. Fortunately, I held the glass as to not slip down and pull the other hinge causing it to break. The window lift did hold it but would not slide back up. The lift had to be removed in order to shut and latch the window door. The back panel below the window was cracked when I bought the car and this may have lead to shifting in the window and additional stress added to the bolt in the hinge. This is the same problem that occurred in the 2002 and 2003 hatch window hinges. There are many examples online of the bolt breaking in the 2004 models but a recall has not been issued yet as has the two previous years.

- Wichita Falls, TX, USA

problem #46

Jul 162011

Explorer

  • 122,990 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the hinge on the rear lift gate window separated from the vehicle and the glass shattered on the ground. One person was injured as a result. An authorized dealer was notified, but did not offer any assistance. The manufactrer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 129,990 and the current mileage was 130,000.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #45

Jun 012009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear hinge liftgate was fractured. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 04V44200(structure: Body: Hatchback/liftgate: Hinge and attachments)but the dealer informed the contact that his vehicle was not included in the recall. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure yet the vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was 76,000 and the failure mileage was 76,000.manufactured near the cutoff date of mentioned campaign. Same exact problem. Paid for replacement hinges. Replaced myself. Updated 09/14/2011 updated 12/13/11

- Wanuakee, WI, USA

problem #44

Dec 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
I have had my 2004 Ford Explorer for 3 years now. Today I went to open my rear hatch and the window hinges just broke. Now my window is hanging thereand I don't know how I am going to get them fixed since I don't have any extra money. I think this should be a recall since there has been a lot of complaints about this problem.

- Roy, UT, USA

problem #43

Jul 152010

Explorer

  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate glass hinge was fracturing from the vehicle. The dealer informed the contact that the hinge would need replacing and there were no recalls for the vehicle. Any repair to the vehicle would be at the contacts expense. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 115,000 and the current mileage was 150,100.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #42

Sep 292010

Explorer

  • 110,000 miles
2004 Explorer with 110K miles - developed crack in liftgate panel app Dec 2008. Ford covered 80% of repair cost of $750 since vehicle was under 75K miles, even though an obvious design flaw. Sept 29, 2010 rear hatch window hinge breaks causing door to fall onto my hands and legs...sore but not permanent. Two co-workers had to help me raise it up enough to lock it in place. Dealer repaired for $65 parts in $170 labor. Dangerous and unsafe.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #41

Aug 172010

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact attempted to close the rear lift gate window and the hinges fractured causing the glass to fall and shatter over her head. She suffered minor injuries as a result. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where she was awaiting a diagnosis of the failure and repairs. The failure and current mileage was 80,000.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #40

Aug 072010

Explorer

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While the vehicle was parked, she opened the rear glass window located on the lift gate. The window was open for a few moments until one of the two hinges broke resulting in the window hanging by one hinge. Upon examining the broken hinge she noticed that the screw holding the hinge in place also broke in half. The failure was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. She also stated that the vehicle hesitated to shift into reverse and would lunge forward before moving in reverse. When shifting from reverse to drive, the failure recurred and she heard a popping noise when the vehicle finally shifts into gear. The failures have occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued to recur intermittently. The failure and current mileages were 160,000.

- Arp, TX, USA

problem #39

Jul 162010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer lift gate glass fell off after upper left hand hinge snapped. Secondary failure of left hand gas shock shearing near mounting boss on gate. 1) the glass lift gate was getting harder to close. I believe corrosion loosened the hinge joint to the glass. 2) the failure was immediate and without warning. The back gate came crashing down and the right hand side came flying up. 3) short term fix - visqueen and duct tape. Long term fix - will be to disassemble and replace the hinge/shock assembly.

- Waterloo, IA, USA

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