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:
13 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,613 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 15 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

Nov 232004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,300 miles

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

Complete failure of the gauge pod, radio, interior lights, power windows at 2,300 miles. No speedometer, odometer, tach, fuel gauge, temp, oil, battery, radio (nothing in the dashboard functions except the airbag light). Ford dealer in allentown pa was very rude and went out of their way to not work in a timely manner and keep us in the dark. Drove vehicle to Texas (with no gauges) to dealership where purchased. At the shop right now. Transmission also hesitates excessively between shifts.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #27

Nov 212004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,500 miles
Automatic transmission slips and hesitates between gears especially at light throttle. Ransmission does not engage reverse until throttle is applied. Problem is getting worse.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #26

Jun 092004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer has had a problem with chattering in the differential and delayed shifting of the automatic transmission gears, especially reverse, since it was purchased. When I am in an urban parrallel park situation, I have hit the car behind me hard on several occassions because of the delayted shifting. As you shift, you naturally put a foot on the accelerator. When there is a delay, the car then bolts into reverse at a high speed. I have brought my car to the dealer 5-6 times, and they have always done something, but nothing ever works to eliminate the chattering and the delayed shifting.

- Nyack, NY, USA

problem #25

Nov 092004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Appx. 2 weeks ago I was driving my vehicle at about 45 mph and I heard this loud noise someplace around the passenger front underside of the vehicle. Since, my brand new 2004 Ford Explorer XLT is having transmission problems. When putting into reverse, it does not go into gear until you put your foot on the gas and then it jerks very hard and the tires skip on the pavement. The vehicle also does this when putting into drive, and when driving will not go into gear unless you take your foot off of the gas pedal and then re-apply the gas. We leased this car brand new late July 2004 and have just reached the 4 month mark yesterday. The dealership denied any service problems or recalls for this but on your website I found at least 2 similar problems. The dealerships will not provide a rental car which I find absurd! this is a brand new car and obviously a problem with these cars. We have one vehicle and have to car pool throughout the day for the both of us to be able to work our jobs. The dealerships indicated that the car would have to sit for at least three to four business days before they can even look at it! if I were to take the car in, we would have absolutely no transportation to work as we just moved to a new state and city August of this year and know nobody.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #24

May 312004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
After purchasing my 2004 Ford Explorer I noticed hesitation and lurching upon acceleration causing a safety hazard when proceeding out into traffic. Several service appointments were made and Ford was unable to replicate the problem, although all other persons that drive the vehicle have identified it. With the new information recently released on these vehicles, I am very concerned for my safety and wish to have this vehicle repaired.

- Islip, NY, USA

problem #23

Sep 292004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
2004 Explorer - eddie bauer purchased new on 12/03. At 29,000 miles - noticed that when turning sharp radius in parking lots - felt like the transmission would go in and out of gear. Simultaneously noticed hesitation upon auto shifting, and hesitation upon putting in reverse. Took to dealer replaced solenoid. 2nd trip to dealer - similar complaint - they replaced rear axle. 3rd trip - similar complaint, but now upon heavy acceleration - vehicle pulls hard left. Service manager at Ford says they called factory, but nobody knows why. This is now not only a lemon, but because it's steering has become affected - I believe it is a safety concern. 3 major failures in 10 mos ownership, and some problems remain unresolved. This is not a safe or reliable vehicle.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #22

Nov 072004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles

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

I just read an article regarding Ford's admission that there are problems with the transmissions in the 2004 Explorer. I have had my Explorer for less than 6 months and have had it in the shop 3 times for transmission issues. First time, and last time I was told there was no problem. Any way to ensure that I receive a letter from Ford regarding the repair plan they are going to put in place.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 302004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problem.transmission was leaking and not shifting right.I have had it to the dealer to be fixed twice, the first time I was told there was nothing wrong it was just overfilled, the second time they said they replaced the torque converter and the resealed pump bolts.I am keeping an eye on any more problems and I know you guys are tracking the trans problems with this vehical.if I could I would demand to get another vehical and it would not be a Ford being though I probably will have to return for more service with more problem.I bought this thinking it was a quality vehical but I know know I made a mistake.thank you. Nancy sakevich.

- Barnegat, NJ, USA

problem #20

Nov 182004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
2004 Ford Explorer, which was purchased in November 2003 hesitates when shifting into reverse, when it does shift there is a jolt and bang as it engages into reverse. SUV has been serviced on 3 occasions, the initial service performed apprximately 1 month after the purchase. Each time I was told that it was a computer problem & that the computer needed to be re-programmed. In short, the vehicle continues to exhibit the jolt/bang when shifting to reverse. The vehicle is scheduled to go to the dealership (island Ford) on staten island New York on Monday November 22, 2004, at which time, I am told that the solenoid will be replaced. My greatest concern is that when this problem is finally solved, whether any residual damage was done to the transmission or differential, which may not become apparent until after the vehicle is beyond warranty. This problem has existed for nearly a year.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #19

Nov 182004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems. Will not shift into reverse from neutral, car bucks when finally shifts into gear (reverse and forward). Car has stalled upon steering into a U-turn in the middle of an intersection. This is definitely a safety hazard. I fear for the safety of my family.

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #18

Nov 082004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,095 miles

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

Car has a hard time engaging into gear, when backing up it feels like I've hit another vehicle. The vehicle just jumps in revers.I have almost ran over someone because of a delay in engaging into reverse. In drive it does the same thing. I worry that I am going to hit a car that might be parked in front of me or even a person. Not only that I worry that if I did hit another car I wouldn't know that I did it. The car has had problems starting. It has left us almost stranded twice. The cars battery has died for no reason, even after driving a couple of hours prior to trying to restart it. The front and rear window motors have gone out, the rear windows were stuck open in a rain storm with my two children in the back seat. The vehicle has lost power driving down the interstate and a warning light came on in the dash, the vehicle had only 5,000 miles on the odometer. The keyless entry quite working, wich also kept our key chain lockers from working. The car would not turn over, it would just make a click, when it would turn over, it sounded like gears were grinding. The vehicle went in for to be serviced for the first time a month after we bought the vehicle, Dec. 5, 2003 and has gone in atleast once every two months since. The car has been in for servicing a total of 3 months out of the year that we have owned it. We have requested since it has been for the same problem 8 times and it has not been fixed that the dealership lemon the vehicle. But nothing has been done about it. The dealership doesn't know what the problem is and they have told us that they cannot fix it.we still have the same problem now. It can potentially hurt someone.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #17

Nov 182004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,750 miles
When gears are put in reverse, the transmission hesitates for 3-5 seconds then a loud clunk is heard and the vehicles moves. Just purchasesd the Explorer from dealer today with 20,750 miles on it and nothing was disclosed about these problems. I'll take back tommorrow and hope they will fix the problem. Lemon"??"

- Bath, ME, USA

problem #16

Oct 102004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,199 miles
My transmission started slipping gears. It would also clunk and hang up in reverse. Sometimes when engaged in drive it would surge forward. Several times I have been very lucky and kept my foot on the brake. If not, I am afraid to think of the consequences. After taking to a certified Ford dealership, it no longer slips in gear, but it still clunks. Now it hesitates when changing gear. The dealer says this is normal. I have tried 4 times to get them to fix this but they keep saying its normal. This is not my first Ford Explorer 4X4 and I have never experience any hesitations when the gears change in any vehicles I have ever driven or owned. This will be my last Ford ever!

- Snow Hill, MD, USA

problem #15

Mar 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
For the past 8 months, when I put SUV into reverse, there is a loud bang. Sometimes SUV sticks in "park", then slams back. Also while driving sometimes it hesitates and finally shifts. Upon stopping, SUV rolls forward or backwards a great distance until it finally locks into "park." Took SUV to service dept. @ dealer and was told they did not find anything wrong.

- Farmingville, NY, USA

problem #14

Nov 052004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
When shifting from drive to reverse, hesitation up 5 seconds then bangs into reverse. Dealer said it was normal because of computer lag. Still doing it and taking it back to dealer again. This is an on going problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #13

Sep 102004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Vehicle hesitates when put into reverse, then slams into reverse with a sudden jerk. Have to keep brake to the floor waiting for it to engage to keep the vehicle from hurting anyone. Upon waiting for part that is on back order, the vehicle now misses gears when driving down the road and sometimes slams into the next gear even if it is down shifting. Part was supposed to be hear last week and now they are telling us that it may be middle of next month before it gets here! we have children and are very worried about what will happen if this is not fixed very soon! mechanic said that all 2004 Explorer are having this problem at about 15,000 miles which is when this began in ours. Very worried!!!!!

- Siloam Springs, AR, USA

problem #12

Oct 302004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1- in reverse vehicle pauses- then proceeds to surge backward. Took to dealership- they fixed it- adv bad transmission sensor. 2- vehicle would go from 65- to - 40 as if I was hitting the brake. Took to dealer - they advertising general code read fine for about 2 months. 3- now it has actually began to die instead of just stalling and hesitating. Now they advise its the throttle sensor. In all 3 cases - the little wrench comes on and the check engine light. This is a 2004 bought brand new and only has 16,450 miles on it....... what will go wrong next?? last date is listed below the stalling is an on/off thing.

- Prestonsburg, KY, USA

problem #11

Oct 272004

Explorer

  • miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer XLT makes a clunking noise and harshly shifts when going into reverse. Sometimes there is a lag of up to 5 seconds before engaging into reverse, which may put me in danger when trying to turn around in traffic.

- Cave City, KY, USA

problem #10

Nov 012004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
The consumer experienced a problem with the cruise control. The consumer would set the cruise control and then it will shut down by itself. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer who as of today, was unable to find a defect. The failure resulted in a life threatening situation when the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 mph on it's own while hitting the resume button in cruise control. The vehicle had been in to the dealer for the repair of the braking and tire pressure gauges, throttle control, transmission slippage, cruise control, traction control default, general computer defaults and the rear trim piece at the liftgate opening was distorted.

- Long Lake, MN, USA

problem #9

Oct 102004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When reversing, loud banging/clunking noise is heard from the back. The car jerks back harshly.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

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