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:
38,939 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

problem #12

Dec 092010

Explorer

  • 55,242 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While the vehicle was parked, the contact tried to shift to drive when the gear shift broke off. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 55,242.

- Trenton, OH, USA

problem #11

Dec 292008

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,325 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. When attempting to shift the gear selector lever, it fractured and caused the ignition to lock. The contact was unable to operate the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop and is in the process of having the component repaired. The cause of the failure was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 71,325 updated 01-26-09 the gear shift lever on the steering column broke. Updated 01/27/09.

- Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #10

Nov 232007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,800 miles
In order to move the shift lever into the park position, it is necessary to push the lever up, let it return down a short bit, and then put it into park. The lever wants to stop half way. This is a safety hazard because the vehicle may return to reverse without actually being in the park position.

- Niantic, CT, USA

problem #9

Jan 032006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

2004 Ford Explorer limited-owned SUV for 38K been in shop repeatedly-from minor to major things. SUV is a $ 34,000 turd. Currently needing to go back to shop for multiple repairs. The day our warranty expires car is gone.

- Indianola, IA, USA

problem #8

Aug 222007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
Our 2004 Ford Explorer has a significantly delayed response when shifting into reverse. Once the transmission engages there is a loud and hard "clunk". this happens every time you put the truck in reverse.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #7

Sep 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
2004 Explorer (automatic) column gear shift broke when shifted into reverse. Part was not sold separately so had to purchase entire steering column. Estimate cost of new part was approximately $500. Luckily was able to locate used part for half the cost. Replaced only the broken part which has gear shift lever attached.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Dec 242006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

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

On christmas eve 2006 I was shopping for presents... went to may be 5 stores. After last store, I started car and when I went to put it in gear, the gear stick broke off into my hands. Transmission was stuck between park and reverse! there was no way to put it back together as it broke off at the base. Dealer replaced $1000 worth of parts. I feel this could have happened at any time and was lucky vehicle was in park rather than in drive when it happened.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #5

Aug 282006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer gear shifter lever broke in my hand while vehicle was in drive. The vehicle is an automatic. This is a huge saftey issue because the vehicle was engaged in drive at the point of the lever breaking. The lever was not a steel piece and was defective. Ford is unresponsive to this issue.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #4

May 292006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
: the contact stated there is a shift delay before going into reverse or drive, after a 5-10 second delay it goes into gear. This is an intermittent problem. Last week the shift lever assembly was replaced by the dealer because it broke off in the column. The vehicle was taken to the dealership about the delay problem however they are unable to get a diagnostic code to correct the problem.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #3

Oct 272004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Circumstances with our newly leased 2004 Ford Explorer are such that we are requesting that you provide us with a new vehicle of similar year, make and model. This vehicle was purchased "new" on June 25, 2004 and has had numerous mechanical malfunctions that have made it hazardous and dangerous to operate. The 2 very serious malfunctions are not minor, but are of a very serious nature. 1. vehicle's engine shuts off this has occurred in situations on the highway that have been extremely hazardous to the passengers and those of the general public. When this malfunction occurs, it occurs without warning. There is no consistency to when this happens, but it happens often enough that as operators we have lost confidence in the vehicle. We are reluctant to have children in it or to take it on the highway. It is without question that the defects in our 2004 Ford Explorer are serious. 2. difficulty putting the vehicle in gear it is becoming increasingly difficult to put the vehicle into gear. In other words, when you put the vehicle into reverse, it goes not engage in the gear. At other times, it will engage the gear after a prolonged delay. This is particularly dangerous when you step on the accelerator and it "unexpectedly" jumps into gear after a prolonged delay. This is extremely dangerous for the passengers, but particularly for any pedestrians walking behind the vehicle. Both of these malfunctinos present a danger and a hazard and are very serious defects. Inacceptable response from Ford dealership regards, john piscal cfo inner city education foudation jpiscal@icefla.org 323.294.8515 cc: Mr. Michael piscal president & CEO

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 172004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Transmission got stuck in neutral when column shifter was put in the park position. As my wife got out to help her sister with her new born and baggage the Explorer started rolling, my niece (in the back seat) got scared and jumped out of the vehicle and got ran over. The vehicle hit a pole and trapped my niece under the rear tire. I have since taken it to dealership 3 times so far, and it is still not fixed. Actually since I have gotten the Explorer back it has started to clung really hard going into reverse, and has got stuck between third and fourth gear. While driving, causing the rpms to shoot up. I am waiting on Ford to finally resolve this issue as I have been given the run around and am getting very frustrated.

- Bullhead City, AZ, USA

problem #1

Sep 212004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles
Placing the vehiclw in reverse, vehicle hesitates and then engages with a "clunk"; shifting into drive the same phenomenon occurs randemly. The major concern is that this jumping into gear happens sporadically as well !

- Houston, TX, USA

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