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.

6.0

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
42,066 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Jun 292007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

How scary is it to have children in the car with the back seat belts not working properly?

Sick to death of all the problems. Ford just throws these things off the assembly line and then says "Oh so sorry, it's out of warranty". We actually won a lawsuit regarding a 2002 Explorer. The tailgate window exploded in my hand when trying to shut it. The car dealer knew it was a piece of junk and the judge called his selling it to us "the most egregious case of taking advantage she'd ever seen".

We had to replace the transmission in this 2004 model, replaced the visors and interior overhead console, one back seat belt doesn't work, again a cheap plastic problem, and the electrical/computer problem where a plug next to the computer melted and caused the engine to cut off while driving down the road, well that almost got us all killed. Turns out there is a group of wires near the rear and they were supposed to be suspended in some sort of harness and never were, so over time, the plastic coating rubbed off and caused at least one wire to ground out, which caused the plug near the computer to overheat and slide out of its socket, causing the engine to shut off. Once it cooled, sometimes the motor would start again. This cost us more than one battery, lots of time, being stalled at 2 in the morning with our daughter in the back seat. After $2500 spent in multiple visits trying to fix the electrical issue, and another $2600 for the transmission, and just under $1000 for the interior console and visors, add more $$ for visits to check out the Check Engine light and the ABS light... wonder what I'm leaving out... ? Oh yes, the air conditioning has been blowing hot on once side for quite awhile. The crack in the back window frame on EVERY SINGLE EXPLORER I see reminds me of the Ford Grenada back in the 80s.

Does anybody else remember the Ford Grenada? The gas cap was located behind the license plate and on every single Grenada, the spring on the license plate broke so they all drove around with their license plate facing the ground, wide open.

We have no idea why the Check Engine light stays on. No idea why the back passenger windows quit working years ago. No idea why the cruise control works about 1 out of 20 times you try to use it, and no idea why the volume control on the radio slips deafening everyone in the car.

Owning one of these Explorers is like being in a club with other unfortunate individuals who have found themselves wondering if the $9,000 they've spent on repairs makes it worth keeping the car now. My mechanic calls it the "Ford Exploder".

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #4

Sep 102013

Explorer SU 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,431 miles

I took my grandson to Kindergarten, he released the seat belt and it slipped out of his hand and it caught on the arm of his car seat (it was in the middle seat in the rear) and LOCKED. The retractor would not release no matter how much I pulled. After 15 minutes of trying to disconnect it, I ended up cutting the seat belt. to get him out of his car seat. Had to move the car seat to one of the outside seats to use the belt coming from the outside wall. I did not like having him sit next to either of the doors, I preferred him being in the middle of the 60/40 seat. Ford wanted $500 to replace the seat belt and then did not have the color belt that I needed (tan). Color has been discontinued and wanted to replace with a BLACK one.

My son who used to work in body shop had to remove one of the back seats in order to get to the bolt that held the lower part of the seat belt off so we could have someone replace the belt itself. Once that was done, we let the seat down and the darn thing LOCKED and we could not lift the back of the seat up. We then cut the seat belt off at the edge of the retractor and threw it in the trash can. Not worth $500 to pay Ford to replace the entire seat belt assembly. Now my grandson is forced to sit in his booster seat next to the door.plus we have a granddaughter arriving in a couple of months and she too will be forced to sit beside the other door. NO ONE WILL EVER SIT IN THE MIDDLE AGAIN UNLESS I HIT THE LOTTERY which isn't likely to happen. Luckily I had a pair of scissors in my car to cut my grandson out.

No only that but there is no way to stabilize the booster seat in the middle seat, even if the seat belt worked. At least you can attach the tether straps to the metal hooks on both outside seats.

We have owned Ford vehicles most of our lives but now I am having second thoughts. I doubt I will ever buy another one.

Think twice before buying a FORD EXPLORER although it has been a good car mechanically.

- , Loganville, GA, USA

problem #3

Nov 092011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

seat belt re tractor not working means it does not go back the bearing of reactor is dusty may be ,,another thing all ford explorer pls when ur car is about 55000 mile change all hood and trunk and back window shocks they are cheap and go you tube and find out how to change bt yourself,because if u do not change there will dust in the engine,and noise in the back when bump ,so pls change if any question call my no 7186645680,another thing any noise in the engine check the belt ang tension pulley do not put any grease or something

- , Astoria, NY, USA

problem #2

Feb 012004

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles

I have own Two Ford and I drive them at work for the State. all the seat belt retractors have the same problems. They don't work! Makes you wonder if they will work in an accident.

- , Geismar, LA, USA

problem #1

Oct 302007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

When I bought this vehicle the problem was there.......they stated they would look into it and never did.......so here it is and I have asked about it again and of course even with my tranny being fixed under the Ext Warranty the seat belt still doesn't fall under a safety concern. Unreal......it gets stuck in the door because it doesn't retract properly and they don't think its a problem -only a cosmetic issue. SO they want $180. to fix it......I don't think so.

- , Columbia, CT, USA

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