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.

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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:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,945 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 #54

Mar 082016

Explorer

  • 172,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. After opening the liftgate window, the contact noticed a crack on the driver side hatch. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 172,000.

- Hopkins, SC, USA

problem #53

Feb 262015

Explorer

  • 1,400,030 miles
Had my used 2004 Ford Explorer for one week and the liftgate latches both broke. If it hadn't been for the shocks that were on the liftgate, the window would have crashed to the ground and shattered in a thousand pieces. From what I'm told, I'm going to have to contact the dealership and pay god knows what to have it fixed. Can't even use my trunk now. The dealership is a joke.

- Lorain, OH, USA

problem #52

Jul 072011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 55 mph, the rear hatch opened without warning. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000. Updated 01/09/15 the consumer stated the glass has shattered once before. The liftgate developed a crack. Updated 9/28/2015

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #51

Aug 012012

Explorer

  • 98,000 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 the rear liftgate back panel developed multiple cracks, which caused the liftgate windshield to become very unstable. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 98,000.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #50

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 #49

Sep 292013

Explorer

  • 80,602 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that he opened the rear trunk window and the left hinge became fractured. The window fell onto the contact unexpectedly, which saved the window from falling and shattering. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the mechanic stated that the hinge would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 80,602.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #48

Apr 162013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 99,000 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 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 99,000.

- Glendoris, NJ, USA

problem #47

May 162012

Explorer

  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate body panel was cracked. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the body panel needed to be replaced. The contact also stated that while driving approximately 25-35 mph, a noise was heard coming from the rear differential. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the rear differential needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 80,000. The VIN number was not available.

- Davis, CA, USA

problem #46

Jun 282012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 113,290 miles
Right rear liftgate window hinge failed (cracked) causing heavy (apprx 40 lb) glass liftgate glass panel to fall on a person causing minor injury. Appears 02/03 models recalled for same issue (despite Ford's response on the first investigation of this it is the same issue as 02/03). The hinge part is inadequate to hold the heavy glass panel in place over time with use. Since the back glass is a heavy slab of unframed, tempered glass it could "explode" if it falls potentially causing serious injury or traffic accidents to trailing vehicles. Ford apparently does a good business in selling these replacement hinges at a cost of over $100 each for a small piece of weak cast metal. Forty pound slabs of glass falling off of vehicles with no prior warning is a safety issue! research indicated many other owners with the same complaint.

- Jonesboro, AR, USA

problem #45

Jan 042012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
While at work my rear lift gate window exploded. At first site I thought it was vandalism but nothing (car chargers/cd's/ road side kit etc) was taken. After further investigating, things just didn't add up nor were consistent with the site of my destructive rear window and uplifting of the panel underneath the shattered glass (which was mostly on the ground as opposed to being inside my vehicle.)

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #44

Oct 272011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles

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

Transmission was working just fine till one day it wouldn't shift into overdrive and then it was shifting hard from 2nd to 3rd. Rear window hinges broke. Rear tail gate cracked right down the middle by Ford symbol. Also just the other day my passenger window stopped working no signs nothing of anything wrong. I'm going to start buying Chevy this is just unacceptable. No wonder America is not doing good our car company's can't make good products anymore.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #43

Oct 102011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
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 #42

Aug 272011

Explorer

  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate glass was hanging beside the struts. The dealer was not notified of the failure. The manufacturer denied any assistance with repairing the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 180,000.

- Newton Falls, OH, USA

problem #41

Aug 282010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
One of the rear lift gate hinges has failed. The pin has pushed through the hinge. The structural strength of the aluminum used as seemed to failed. The other hinge shows similar signs of failing but has not completely failed.

- Kenmore, NY, USA

problem #40

Aug 082010

Explorer

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a small oblique on the rear liftgate which fractured. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised replacing the oblique but the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000.

- Cresskill, NJ, USA

problem #39

Dec 312010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicles hatchback was cracked. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 77,000. Updated 08/10/11 updated 08/12/11.

- New Vienna, OH, USA

problem #38

Mar 242011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Crack in rear hatch body panel containing Ford emblem. Defective part has not been replaced. Crack occurred by itself, no additional physical damage to hatch itself or rear end of vehicle. Ford had received over 900 complaints about this item and there is an ongoing class action lawsuit for this defect in California.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #37

Aug 012010

Explorer

  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate exhibited a fracture down the middle of the hatch. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnosis or repairs. The manufacturer was not contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 72,000 and the current mileage was 78,000.

- Renton , WA, USA

problem #36

Oct 292010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Back glass hatch fell off in my hands could have really hurt someone.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #35

Oct 082010

Explorer

  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the plastic panel on the rear hatch was cracked and could potentially fall off. The contact called the dealer regarding the cracked panel and the dealer informed her that there was no recall regarding the plastic panel and stated that the part was available for purchase. The contact had not replaced the plastic panel. The failure mileage was 74,000.

- Middletown, DE, USA

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