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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.

1.5

hardy worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,500 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #8

Nov 032013

Explorer

  • 187,600 miles

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

The brake pedal went to the floor as I was about to pull out of a parking space. I shut the vehicle down and called for a tow. I had the vehicle towed to a service station. The mechanic found that the rubber hose component of the brake line had sprung a leak, leading to the complete lack of braking. My concern is that if it had happened on the highway or in traffic, or just about any other moving situation, I would likely have crashed, with dire results to me and potentially to others. There was no warning. There were no lights. I have never experienced a situation like this in over 30 years of driving approximately 1 million miles.very disconcerting. Very disappointing. I would like for Ford engineers to explain themselves.

- Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

problem #7

Aug 252013

Explorer

  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the brakes failed. The vehicle did not stop until after repeated attempts to apply the brakes. The vehicle was restarted after several minutes and operated normally for five miles. The vehicle then accelerated independently, reaching speeds of up to 65 mph before the contact was able to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic and the contact was awaiting diagnosis. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 124,000.

- Catawba, NC, USA

problem #6

May 302013

Explorer

  • 88,902 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the ABS system would independently activate without warning. The failure caused the brakes to seize and the vehicle would sway 180 degrees to the side before stopping. The vehicle was taken to dealer for inspection. The failure was located at the brake hydro lock system. The contact was advised that the ABS electronic unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 88,902.

- Salisbury , MD, USA

problem #5

Jan 252013

Explorer

  • 82,500 miles

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

While driving, the vehicle just shut off. I had no control of the vehicle once it shut off, except to utilize the emergency brake to get me stopped. Once stopped, I put it in park and it started up first try. No check engine light came on. Same thing happens on a regular bases. Usually happens while braking or turning at speeds lower than 30mph, then engine just stalls and everything turns off. This to me is a major safety concern, because without total control of the vehicle and vehicle lighting at night, it could seriously injure or kill someone. I highly recommend investigating this further so we can all continue to be safe. Thanks!

- Barstow, CA, USA

problem #4

Jun 222012

Explorer

  • 88,000 miles
While driving, the cruise control stopped working and car stalled. At the same time the ABS light comes off and on.

- Independence, KY, USA

problem #3

Apr 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
On April 6th of this year I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer. The next day I took the car for city inspection...it passed. The very next day (Sunday) the check engine light came on. The ABS light would also illuminate. I took the car to autozone to have it diagnosed (egr valve). Only the check engine light could be diagnosed because the ABS light came on at random while I was driving. The car was still under the 1000 mile warranty so the egr valve was replaced and a speed sensor believed to be the problem with the ABS light. I purchased an independent extended warranty so I would be covered for any surprise expenses. I had my chance to use it in just a few months later when the car ran hot. The repair was not covered. This happened in July, just a few months after buying the car. Earlier this month (November 2012) the service engine light came on again but it didn't stay on so I couldn't get it diagnosed. No need to have it diagnosed because the battery light came on too. I took it to autozone once again and the battery tested bad. It wouldn't start at the store. I bought the battery, it was installed and checked again. The alternator showed it wasn't charging. I had to have the alternator replaced. With the cold weather, I discovered the defrost vents don't work. Air only blows from front vents. On the morning of November 19th, I was taking my son to school and the overdrive light started flashing. It happened again while on my way home from work on November 21st. So now I suppose I have transmission problems. Ford needs to answer for their horrible engineering.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #2

Jul 272012

Explorer

  • 84,000 miles
Transmission shifts very hard so bad that it jerks me and my children's heads forward when it happens. This occurs the worst when going into reverse and into 2nd and 3rd gears. Brakes lock up/stick after being pressed for 3 seconds.

- Tell City, IN, USA

problem #1

Feb 212012

Explorer

  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while going 45 mph, the brakes were applied but failed. The contact tried to pump the brake pedal and it would only depress partially. She tried again a few moments later and the brake pedal was depressed completely into the floorboard. The contact had to use the parking brake in order to slow down. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection where they informed the contact that there was a failure in the brake line, which needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred several times later. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 115000.

- Austin, TX, USA

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