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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
127,950 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Feb 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,200 miles

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

Transmission failure, slips between gears, replacement required.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #40

May 202008

Explorer

  • miles
First had my transmission looked at in May 2008 where it was slipping into reverse and jolting the vehicle, which had only 44133 miles. Had it looked at my a Ford dealer that told me there was nothing wrong. Now in May 2012 at 110,000 miles my transmission was re-looked at for slipping into first and second gear. Which at this time I was told that I needed a new transmission and yet I am still making payments. Ford complaint line tells me they are not doing anything to resolve this problem at this time and now me and my 3 children are without a vehicle because my transmission had now completely failed and the vehicle remains in a store parking lot broke down. Thanks Ford!

- Elmira, NY, USA

problem #39

Mar 252012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 88,852 miles
The O/D off light began blinking and there was uncontrolled deceleration and when accelerating from a stop there is higher than the usual RPM's needed to shift from first to second gear. My investigation revealed this is a known problem with this particular year of Ford Explorer and there was an article in April, 21, 2009, atlanta constitution-journal reports regarding an announcement by the NHTSA regarding the faulty transmission problems. At this time there is no current recall for this issue, however, it is a costly repair to consumers for an issue which Ford and the NHTSA is aware of.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #38

Mar 092012

Explorer

  • 900,000 miles

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

After starting vehicle and moving shift lever from park to reverse - rotating shift handle mount broke off- required towing and $1800 repair cost. Have seen similar instances on consumer complaint boards - Ford fails to recognize as being a safety manufacturing defect.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #37

Mar 232010

Explorer

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph and without warning, the vehicle slipped into various gears. The contact also stated that the only way the first gear could be disengaged was to apply pressure on the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. In addition, the contact stated that the transmission had to be replaced twice. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 85,000.

- Morrs Plain , NJ, USA

problem #36

Jan 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 129,350 miles
Transmission and throttle body failed.

- North Miami Bea, FL, USA

problem #35

Dec 062010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles

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

Wife and kids where driving home and the tranny started kicking in and out of gear (slipping). It jerked into first at the stoplight in town.

- Pleasant Hill, MO, USA

problem #34

Jan 032012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 131,027 miles
I was trying to park the car when I took it from drive to reverse the whole gear shift came right off. It will no longer switch gears nor can I drive it. I searched online and there are numerous other 2004 Explorer that this has happened too. There are 16 different complaints which all were exactly like mine on carcomplaints.com. This is super dangerous, imagine if my children were in the car when I went to switch gears and it broke off and the were no way to move or stop it from hitting someone. The expense to fix this 'little' problem of Ford is costing me more than I make in 2 months.

- Pekin, IN, USA

problem #33

Dec 212011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 87,598 miles
There was a noticeably jerk and the O/T off light came on with the computer saying to "check transmission". the transmission mechanic said replace the transmission.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #32

Jul 222011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer brand new from the dealership. At 70,000 miles I started to notice a change in the transmission slipping and suddenly kicking when going into gear. I took the vehicle to the dealership and they advised that the transmission would need to be replaced at my cost and there is no recall at the present moment. This is a safety concern because no transmission should start having problems with such little mileage. This matter really needs to be investigated and Ford needs to correct this issue promptly.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #31

Apr 292009

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 82,000 miles

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

In April of 2009 I bought a 2004 Explorer from car connections in palm bay Florida! this has been nothing but a nightmare! but my "main" complaint 2 weeks ago I took the truck in for regular service to find out that my "over drive" gear is gone. Aamco explained to me that Ford knew that and it is a defective part! so, to get a 2nd opinion I took my truck to meineke, they also made the same comment of "that is a defective part from Ford" and they will not recall the part! well, I am being charged from $3,400 to the lowest of $2,800 for repairs "excluding" tax! why am I and thousands of others paying for something that Ford knew was going to be a costly repair for us consumers in this horrible recession! I feel that we/I should be compensated in some sort of way just to help for something bad they sent out. I can't even trade the truck in due to the value has decreased tremendously! I am stuck with a vehicle that is basically going to rust in my driveway for being so costly! please let Ford know that they should honor what they knew was wrong! please help!

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #30

Oct 272011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
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 #29

Nov 252011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles
My vehicle failed to engage in park even though I shifted into park and console indicator displayed park. I had shifted into park on a steep hill. As I exited the vehicle, I released the brakes and one of my passengers alerted me that the vehicle was rolling backwards. I jumped back into the vehicle, applied the brakes and the motion stopped. I verified that park was displayed on the center console, which it was. I then shifted into reverse and neutral and back into park, and the second time the transmission engaged into park. Without my passengers alerting me to the vehicle motion, my vehicle would have crashed and potentially injured those in the vehicle. After determining the vehicle was in park, I examined the tire tracks in the snow to see if there was any chance that the vehicle slid rather than rolled on the road. The tire tracks showed clear tire indentations and did not indicate sliding, leading me to determine that the vehicle did not engage into park even though the console indicated it was in park.

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #28

Aug 012011

Explorer

  • 65,000 miles
Vehicle transmission slips when climbing elevation. Starts clunking noise and won't shift. Rpms go way up and vehicle still will not shift. Hard to get vehicle into park on the gear shifter. Have thought the vehicle was in park only to have it roll when I take my foot off the brake. Took vehicle to mechanic today who says a new transmission is needed. Appx cost $3600

- Plymouth, CA, USA

problem #27

Apr 282011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Transmission shifts hard O/D light flashes.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #26

Jun 072011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 57,177 miles
I bought a used 2004 Ford Explorer in September 2009. In June 20111 my husband and was driving and I was in the passenger seat. We both could feel the transmission slipping as he drove but figured that it could not be the transmission because the vehicle only had 57,177 miles on it. We arrived at our destination 10 minutes later and by that time we could no longer reverse the vehicle at all. I called the local Ford dealership and they said to drive the vehicle over there and they would take a look at it. The paperwork I have from them states "verified concern, performed electronic transmission diagnosis, pulled code PO731, checked fluid level - full. Dropped the transmission oil pan and found excessive metal debris indicating internal failure. Tech recommended replacing with a Ford reman unit." The Ford dealership's estimate for me was almost $5,000 for the transmission to be replaced. I called around to other shops and had the transmission replaced with a jasper unit which cost me $3467.30. It has a three-year warranty on it. I have been reading online about this problem with 2004 Ford Explorer. For almost a year before the transmission died it would often have delayed shifting when going in reverse and I just assumed it was a touchy pedal, looking back now I realize it was most likely the transmission. This never occurred to me because of the vehicle only having 57,000 miles on it. I no longer feel comfortable driving this vehicle knowing that it has the problems that it does but I have no other choice because we still owe more on the loan than the vehicle is worth.

- Palmyra, PA, USA

problem #25

Mar 022009

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
I currently own a 2004 Ford Explorer and purchased new in 2005. Have had to replace, the 2 front hubs 3 times, the rack and pinion steering and the transmission slips excessively. This vehicle is driven by my wife to school and home and used for transporting my family. I keep seeing the same problems online but no action by Ford. Can you say piece of junk?

- Batavia , NY, USA

problem #24

Jan 312005

Explorer

  • 11,127 miles
When at a stop the automatic transmission fails to engage until engine rpms are too high for safe initial forward or rearward movement. According to the Ford dealership in my city this problem is due to a defective solinoid body inside the transmission.there was one attempt to repair the problem by the local Ford dealership in 2005 when the car had 11127 miles. At that time the automatic transmission solenoid valve was replaced, but the problem still persisted. That dealership went out of business about a year later. Just lately the new dealership thought that the original transmission might have to be replaced in order to return the car to a safe and normal driving condition. The cost was estimated at $3500. This problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer has been reported by hundreds of other owners to the us dot NHTSA, but nothing has come of these complaints. The Ford Motor Co. Also refuses to do any repairs under warranty and/or due to a factory recall, etc. The problem described refers to a very dangerous condition in which the drivers of 2004 Ford Explorer do not know exactly when or at what rmp level their car will suddenly and rapidly accelerate from a stop.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #23

Jan 312005

Explorer

  • 11,127 miles
When at a stop the automatic transmission fails to engage until engine rpms are too high for safe initial forward or rearward movement. According to the Ford dealership in my city this problem is due to a defective solinoid body inside the transmission.there was one attempt to repair the problem by the local Ford dealership in 2005 when the car had 11127 miles. At that time the automatic transmission solenoid valve was replaced, but the problem still persisted. That dealership went out of business about a year later. Just lately the new dealership thought that the original transmission might have to be replaced in order to return the car to a safe and normal driving condition. The cost was estimated at $3500. This problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer has been reported by hundreds of other owners to the us dot NHTSA, but nothing has come of these complaints. The Ford Motor Co. Also refuses to do any repairs under warranty and/or due to a factory recall, etc. The problem described refers to a very dangerous condition in which the drivers of 2004 Ford Explorer do not know exactly when or at what rmp level their car will suddenly and rapidly accelerate from a stop.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #22

Jan 312005

Explorer

  • 11,127 miles
When at a stop the automatic transmission fails to engage until engine rpms are too high for safe initial forward or rearward movement. According to the Ford dealership in my city this problem is due to a defective solinoid body inside the transmission.there was one attempt to repair the problem by the local Ford dealership in 2005 when the car had 11127 miles. At that time the automatic transmission solenoid valve was replaced, but the problem still persisted. That dealership went out of business about a year later. Just lately the new dealership thought that the original transmission might have to be replaced in order to return the car to a safe and normal driving condition. The cost was estimated at $3500. This problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer has been reported by hundreds of other owners to the us dot NHTSA, but nothing has come of these complaints. The Ford Motor Co. Also refuses to do any repairs under warranty and/or due to a factory recall, etc. The problem described refers to a very dangerous condition in which the drivers of 2004 Ford Explorer do not know exactly when or at what rmp level their car will suddenly and rapidly accelerate from a stop.

- Plano, TX, USA

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