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. 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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
60,573 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 152008

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


Transmission lunges, jerks when shifting gears, especially under load or going uphill / downhill. I live in Colorado and it's not too bad in town, but it's very noticeable and annoying whenever I go skiing, camping, in the mountains.

- , Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 152010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

When gearshift is in R and I start drive that made shock, and when I drive car to forward and increasing speed, the car speed increasing unsmooth as car increase speed suddenly.

- , Salt Lake, UT, USA

problem #3

Oct 142009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

My vehicle vibrates every time I accelerate from a dead stop, but that's the only time this occurs. Has anyone else had this exact problem happen to them? I would appreciate any help I could get.


- , Powhatan, VA, USA

problem #2

Nov 142009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,864 miles

I bought a 04 Explorer in 06, only had like 15000 miles, bought it from a Chevy dealer, Roberts Auto Center in Pryor, OK to be exact. Had the manufacturers warrenty on it & about 2 or 3 months after I got it started cutting out, losing power and died! It left me stuck on a busy hwy, during a really busy time! Had it towed the the dealer, somthing about a sensor was wrong, not under warrenty, so cost like $400 to fix.That was just the start of the problems.

It has been in the shop now, like 6 times, always about the same problem or very similar. They have replaced almost everything, but the transmission now. Right after the first shop trip, it started shifting into reverse with a pause and then a jerk. Had it looked out & supposedly fixed. It stay fixed long. Radio has issues, panel right below the rear window cracked in two places, motor mounts not any good & yet again was stuck on the side of the turnpike last nite.

I bought it at the Chevy place, have taken it back there all but one of the times. Manufactures warrenty gone, Extended warrenty gone & have spent over $25000 to try and keep it running. After the first trip in for repair the Chevy machanics started to get really rude, telling me I could take it any where, even though everything to do with warrenty was thru them, so took it to Ford. Same thing. Not completely fixed or not fixed right.

Yes I know that Chevy shouldn't be the ones to fix it, but my family has always bought there, thats where I got the F**g Ford, but their rude dumb asses, & right now have no idea where to go or what to do. I have over 119000 miles on it but it took a lot to get it there! I also still owe on it & it's not worth a flipping penny. I guess I will have a very expensive lawn ornament, I'm still paying on.

- , Salina, OK, USA

problem #1

Jun 022008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I bought my 04' Explorer in 06' with 14,000 miles on it. Before I hit 30,000 miles I had started having problems with it shifting hard into reverse. I took it to the dealership and they replaced the solenoids in the transmission and this corrected the problem. Since then I have had to replace the fuel sensor, the radio won't eject my cd's, the emergency brake light won't go off and the transmission is going out AGAIN! It has a little over 60,000 miles on it now. I have to play with the gearshift to get it into park and when the engine heats up and you push on the transmission vibrates under your feet. I have not taken it to get it fixed yet because I can't afford to put a new transmission in it. I owe much more than it is worth and am afraid it is not going to last me until I can get rid of it.

- , Pataskala, OH, USA

Not what you are looking for?