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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,446 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 4)

problem #80

Mar 012015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles

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

Cracked rear hatch. I had heard about this problem and my hatch didn't crack till after this cold winter. But, this is the first winter that this Explorer has been kept outside, not garaged. My garaged is under my house and insulated. It never gets below freezing in the garage. I called Ford and asked them if they can help financially with the repairs. They said no.

- Windsor Locks, CT, USA

problem #79

Dec 222014

Explorer

  • 123,000 miles
The rear lift gate window of my 2004 Ford Explorer exploded while the vehicle was parked. According to the Ford dealer, this apparently is something that is known to happen.

- Haddonfield, NJ, USA

problem #78

Dec 172014

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 105,900 miles
Leaving work at end of day, pulled out of parking space and rear glass shattered. The edges of the back hatch pulled away from the truck and curled up causing the glass to blow into the truck. A crack in the plastic of the hatch (which I have seen on many of this year model) has not been recalled and I have emailed Ford many times about this problem for fear of water getting in behind the panel. My belief is that water did get behind the panel and that is what caused the plastic panel to pull away and blow in the glass. Luckily my children were not sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row seating or this would have been a much larger problem. I believe Ford should have this problem addressed and recalled before someone gets seriously hurt from that flying glass.

- Duryea, PA, USA

problem #77

Jul 182007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 17,000 miles

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

Exact dates are various, vehicle has 39000 miles on it presently, have multiple vehicles, drive over the road truck driver... changed brakes and rotors twice, emergency brake not working, had fixed, had to have ekg replaced and some exhaust sensor, tires wore out at 29000, exhaust system replaced, both ball joints replaced, pinion gear gasket leaking from rear end, both cv joints leaking, appears right cv joint needs replacing, gets 14 mpg ( 4.0 liter ) paint peeling from roof for quite awhile now, rusting around fuel tank door, as all are...... vehicle has been a nightmare, getting rid of this at 39000 miles, Ford has a better idea, buy another one !

- Cheektowaga , NY, USA

problem #76

Jan 202014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 8,627 miles
Cracked panel below rear window, went to garage and found this, cracked all the way thru.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #75

Mar 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The Ford Motor Company is well aware of the problem with its Ford Explorer produced 2002-2008. The back door panel cracks all the way through just under the window. There are thousands of owners with this problem and many documented who have been driving the vehicle and had the back window completely explode. There is no telling when this is going to happen only to alarm the driver and cause a major freeway accident. Right now there is a class action lawsuit moving to get the Ford company to repair this problem. But they are waiting for a major accident, injury or loss of life to do the right thing.

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #74

Apr 192013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 96,748 miles

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

Purchased this vehicle as used on 4-19-13 and had noticed the crack to the left of the Ford emblem. Upon closer look today there is a second crack about 8 inches to the right of the emblem.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #73

Sep 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
4 years ago the plastic next to the Ford emblem cracked right of the emblem on my back hatch. I looked into it and there was 10's of thousands of the same complaint that I had at an average cost of only $800. Then tonight my wife got some chairs out of the rear hatch then when closing it the rear glass falls out of the Explorer because " the aluminum rear hatch hinge on the right side broke" which has an average cost of $300. Mind you the little piece that holds the window hinge on is only the size of an eraser head, both of the rear hatch defects are not under any recall yet many complaints have been filed and or posted via the internet. This is a safety concern to families as it should be to the Ford Motor Company " which seems not to care " and also to the NHTSA as it could be a huge safety issue if this was to have happened traveling down the high way at 70 mph.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #72

Sep 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer in July 0F 2011, and traded in my 2001 Oldsmobile of 5 years. I also purchased the 12 month 12,000 mile warranty. Before driving it off the lot I had the dealer fix the ABS system because the light was on. There is a crack going down the back of the trunk but nothing else was wrong at the time so I left the crack alone. In April of 2012 I took it to the dealership for a belt, check trans, shocks, ball joints, and a ticking in the heater when knob was turned to heat (not cool). I told him to just fix what was on the warranty and also give it a oil change. He informed me that the trans was fine. After getting the car back my heat went out and I was told by a mechanic buddy that my brakes, rotters, emergency brake pads and the back tires were shot. So I had him replaced them because this was also not covered on warranty. Just last week my RPM started jumping with miles over 65.(no lights were on at the time)so I took it to 6 different places getting estimates on what could be wrong. All shops said the same thing. "start with fuel filter, oil filters and oil change". the day after I paid for all this the service engine light came on. (egr valve code) the man at auto zone told me to take it off and clean it with spray and let it dry before replacing. I took it to a shop and had them do this. The same day I picked up the car my service engine light came on again, O/D light and the car was driving like I was hauling a bus and jumping. I took it back the next day and he replaced the egr valve new since the same code was showing up. Later that day after getting it back the car started doing the same thing after driving for 5 miles this was Friday 9/21/12.

- Hebron, KY, USA

problem #71

Jul 272012

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles
The rear hatch just came off as I was driving out out of a store, the hinge just broke off.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #70

Apr 192012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles

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

On 19 Apr 2012 while opening the back hatch window, the passenger side hinge of the window failed. When this occurred the driver side hinge was bent and the hydrulic lifts popped open the window rather rapidly which could have severely injured me if it hit me. I was unable to close the window myself so I could drive again. A bystander helped me out to close it. After reading other reports and complaints online, this is not an isolated incident for 2004 Ford Explorer.

- Lithia, FL, USA

problem #69

Dec 162011

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles
While loading groceries, I noticed the hinges to my rear window were cracked. I quit using the window in fear of it breaking. The cost to replace the plastic hinge is completely outrageous! I also had a friend call today and his hinge broke, thankfully the glass did not break. Ford knows the hinges are defective. Why would a major company like Ford overlook this problem and take a chance of many law suits due to their negligence" there are over 1600 complaints recorded. How many more is needed for a recall" Ford needs to stand behind their product. I hesitated buying this Ford because my first Ford caught fire while I was driving it. Thirty years later I still think of all the bad stories and now, I want my Chevy back.

- St. Marys, OH, USA

problem #68

Dec 212011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
The hinges that hold on the rear window are failing and I cannot open the rear window because I am afraid that it will fall off. Other year Explorer were recalled for this very reason and I cannot understand why the 2004 model was not recalled. The parts are the same as they were in other years.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #67

Jan 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
About a year ago I noticed the panel below the rear window start to crack. As time went on the crack continued down the entire panel next to the Ford emblem. The rear window now makes a rattling noise. I don't know if it will loosen enough for it to pop out if I hit a bump in the road. It has certainly reduced the value of the vehicle. I went online to see if anyone else was having this problem and was shocked to see hundreds of comments. I contacted Ford and they said there was no recall from you and that until there was I should go ahead and have it fixed. Repair costs seem to be around $400. For the panel plus painting. I really think a design flaw should not be my problem. They know it was a flaw since the newer models are designed completely different.

- Cape Charles, VA, USA

problem #66

May 172009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The paint on the roof is all peeling off it looks like crap I was told that it would cost about $600 to 1,500 to repaint and fix it car paint should not peel off the roof I have read that other people have had the same trouble with the paint on there Explorer.

- Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #65

Jun 042011

Explorer

  • 86,000 miles
Concerning my 2004 Explorer XLT. The rear hatchback that opens the back windows has a broken latch. I am very upset that this part just seemed to implode and left me unable to close the rear back window. The garage I took it to said Ford informed them the part was on back order until 07-18-2011. I am wondering if this is going to be a recalled item for the garage informed me it happens quite regularly. Please let me know if I have any recourse or am entitled to reimbursement for the needed repair..

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #64

Feb 152011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Vehicle rear liftgate has a crack down the middle of it. Failure occurred at approximately 63,000 miles. Problem confirmed as common problem with this year/model of Explorer. No repair or replacement as of this time.

- Germantown, TN, USA

problem #63

May 072011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
A couple of weekends ago, the passenger side hinge on our rear window hatch broke. My mom opened the back window hatch on my vehicle & when she went to shut it, the entire window came down on her. Then we could not get it shut. We had to stand there in 80+ degree heat holding the entire window (which is quite heavy), while my 2 year old baked in the car, until my dad & brother could get to the store we were at to rescue us. We were able to get it to shut (though we were terrified the glass was going to shatter at any moment due to the tension on it) & we duct taped it to keep it in place. We had the hinge repaired by our local body shop, & had them replace both hinges to be proactive. It cost about $200. After this happened I did some internet searches & was upset to find so many other 2004 Ford Explorer owners had experienced the exact same problem & I also found out that Ford has recalled the same hinges on 2002 & 2003 models. I don't understand why the 2004 Explorer has not had the same recall when they're the same hinges? this seems like such a blatant disregard by Ford. People could be seriously injured by this window either falling on their head, or falling off while driving. The 2003 Ford Explorer recall was explained as this: On certain sport utility vehicles, the liftgate glass strut may become disengaged or the hinge may fracture allowing the glass to fall and possibly break. The exact same thing could be said of 2004 Ford Explorer. I am writing this in the hopes that a recall can be made on this equipment. It needs to be recalled before someone is hurt. Thank goodness my 11 yr old wasn't the one under this window when it broke!! I did email Ford regarding this issue & they weren't exactly helpful. They basically said, sorry & that there were no recalls on the 04 at this time & that they work with NHTSA to stay on top of areas of concern.

- Stromsburg, NE, USA

problem #62

Jan 282011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer from a Toyota dealership on 1/28/11. The car was a certified / warranted vehicle. I was assured by the Toyota salesman that any problem with the car would be fixed under the warranty. Several problems which the car has include: Mismatched tires, inoperable sunroof, leak in the differential seal & noise in the differential. I had the car inspected at a Ford dealership & was told these problems needed repair. The Toyota dealership has not returned numerous phone calls, emails & when I brought the car back to them, I was told all these repairs had been fixed & later found out that nothing was done.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #61

Jan 152011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer: 1) plastic exterior panel below rear window is cracked, in 2006 Ford had a repair assist program, thereby acknowling the failures. It no longer is offering that repair assistance?? there are numerous reports of this failure on internet forums. 2) left rear window hinge broke free from the window when I opened the window, I was fortuante it did not fall on my head (the riser piston was the only thing that kept it attached to the vehicle). I had to pay $50 for new hinges. I am waiting for the non-replaced hinge to fail as well. There are numerous reports of these hinge failures on the internet. The Ford dealer nearest Ford world headquarters in deaborn, mi where I bought the new hinges told me they have sold 10 new hinge packages in the last 2 months to customers due to the same failure.

- Berkley, MI, USA

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