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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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
292,796 miles
Total Complaints:
42 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace wheel bearing (20 reports)
  2. relace both front wheel bearings (9 reports)
  3. not sure (4 reports)
  4. Replace wheel bearings and rims (4 reports)
  5. replace bearings assembly hub (2 reports)
  6. replace wheel bearings & rear axle (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #42

Jan 062014

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


What can I say, I truly understand the Ford name, you truly 'fix or repair daily'

- , Lady Lake, FL, USA

problem #41

Dec 162013

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

Have changed wheel bearings and still having problem with the roaring sound of the hub in the wheel while driving my Explorer! Figure we had a defected part so we took it back and still having the same problem! Don't know what else to do cause we have replaced ball and joints on top and bottom on both sides of front so I don't know what else to do! And no one else can figure out why the humming sound is still there!

I have all kinds of problems with this Ford Explorer since I purchased it! And Its always something new each month! Having problems not only with bearings had problems with axles and a loud racket when backing out, it feels like my whole back end is falling apart! When Ford made this car they did not do their best at the job at making this one! They need a recall on this car cause my transmission fills like its is going out to! And I only have one car to depend on so if this car goes out, well, I am stuck with walking. But does the Ford company care about people who may be single parents or not? Nope, they are there just to make money and then not to stand by their product.

And what is the deal with about the back window under where it cracks! When you shut your hatch back, yeah, defected there too. They should have a recall on that! Ford company, I used to love Ford but I think now I want to change my way of thinking cause ya do not stand by your work and fix your problems in your defected products that ya made! And ya know the problems. Ya choose to not fix the problems! Wow! STAND BY YOUR PRODUCT! and then ya will have people stand by ya more!

- , Gleason, TN, USA

problem #40

Oct 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

First of 3 wheel bearings failed. It got pretty loud and I finally had the Ford dealer fix it.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #39

May 092009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


Two more wheel bearings failed. I had the Ford dealer replace them. Clearly there is a problem with the design.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #38

Jul 012009

Explorer LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

2009 the rear wheel bearing went out. The warranty the dealership insisted we pay for when we bought the vehicle covered that. That cost was about 800.

- , Watauga, TX, USA

problem #37

Jul 092012

Explorer LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

2012 the front wheel bearing went out. I replaced and repaired the two front wheel bearings myself. I spent about 350-400 for both Timken Wheel hubs.

- , Watauga, TX, USA

problem #36

Dec 142012

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


Right rear wheel bearing is now scheduled to be replaced. This will be the third wheel bearing on the Explorer that I've had to replace. Not happy.

- , Wauwatosa, WI, USA

problem #35

Jun 232010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,968 miles

My left front wheel bearing went out at 82,000 miles, to make matters worse this same wheel bearing now needs to be replaced at 118,000 miles!!! I haven't had this fixed yet but this is ridiculous. My right rear wheel bearing is also shot and howling away....never again will I own an Exploder.

- , Wauwatosa, WI, USA

problem #34

Feb 012013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Recently went to drive home and made a sharp turn and there was a banging in my steering column. I had taken my vehicle in to a dealership prior to that and he said that my power steering pump would need to be replaced so I thought that was the problem . I didn't realize until later that the car had gone into 4x4 Drive High. I never pushed the button to put the vehicle into 4x4 High. (saw a previous complaint here about the same thing happening with this issue) Later that same night it was fine and I couldn't duplicate the problem the following day and neither could the mechanic. He did however say that the front bearings need to be replaced. He said the parts were about $600 and it should be between $800 and $900 including labor. I asked how serious of a problem it is and how soon I should get it done. He said it is a serious problem as the wheels could fall off. He said the sound would start getting louder before that happens and the car will start shaking. Sure enough, 2-3 weeks later the vehicle started getting louder and I'm not waiting for the shaking/wheel falling off. Bringing it in tomorrow morning for repairs.

- , Basking Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #33

Nov 082012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

Replaced two front bearings because it was so loud in the vehicle you could not hear yourself think. Than driving on the way home from shopping it felt like I was driving on ice could not go over 30. Come to find out the rear wheel bearing was so bad the tire literally fell off when I pulled into my driveway. Replaced that no vehicle for 3 days. now another one is bad in the front going on second set of wheel bearings ! NICE again ford.

- , Canadian Lakes, MI, USA

problem #32

Aug 102012

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


The dealership actually was pretty fair to me on this one. They estimated $900 to fix the front wheel bearings, but when they fixed the front, they realized one of the rear bearings was bad, too, so they absorbed the cost into their first estimate. I noticed a loud noise and rougher ride. Had my tires rotated at a tire store, but they never said anything about the bearings. I noticed a drop in my gas mileage and that is what finally got me to the dealer. The dealer also did a major tuneup at $500 to address the gas mileage. The vibration is gone, and I'm hoping it fixed the gas mileage.

- , Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #31

Dec 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I bought the car for the my family on Dec. 2006 from a used car dealer, the nightmare started the next year, I had replaced the alternator, 1 front wheel bearing passenger side ( 65,000 miles), the blend door actuator is broken, so no heather in the front ( safety issue in cold weather,, I live in Massachusetts) I'm a hard working father of three, with 2 jobs to support my family doing a lot of sacrifices to send my oldest son to college, Last year the driver side wheel bearing was gone, and also an annoying sensor light on my dashboard ( door ajar) and all the doors and locks are ok, to make the story short, I can not afford spend a lot of money to fix all the problems, I went trough a lot of problems already, with an unsafe and unreliable car for my son, he is traveling 100 miles a day ( round trip) to college in an old Nissan Frontier 2000 who's doing the job very well with no problems for a 225,000 miles old truck, I will not buy any Ford car again, I'm sad, I will like to support the economy in my country, but the last time I had visited a ford dealer I had found that the New scape 2013, the motor is made in Spain, the transmission in the UK, and the tires in China....???? Thank you.

- , Winchendon, MA, USA

problem #30

Sep 282012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

So this vehicle is overseas and will not pass the german inspection until it is fixed. I've owned cars older than this one and still have them and have never had to replace the bearings. Ford Sucks!! I've had sooo many problems with this vehicle that I have a bad taste in my mouth about Ford vehicles.

- , Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #29

Apr 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

At 100,000 miles both front wheel bearings went out. We continued to hear such a loud roar you couldn't listen to the radio. Replaced the tires that were relatively new thinking they were making the noise as it began being noticed a short while after new tire purchase. Tire replacement didn't help. An incident while driving one day made me realize something was wrong. My husband was able to purchase new complete tire bearings and install them himself which saved a tremendous amount of money. We have only owned Ford products and only would until this time. This car has been a disaster in a multiplicity of ways besides this problem and the major crack in the body below the window which is a common problem I understand. It has never been abused by children as is sometimes the case. We are an older couple and take perfect care of our car. It looks brand new on the inside and outside as far as care but approximately 6 major problems with the cars interior that are completely broken and affecting our ability to enjoy and use the car normally. I will never ever purchase another Ford product or recommend one after this.

- , Pass Christian, MS, USA

problem #28

Apr 012012

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Let me say this...I would rather push my Ford than drive anything else...but...this wheel bearing problem is getting annoying! First the front bearing (right) went out but we replaced both. AT 70,000 the rear bearings went out...Ford fixed it. Then at 80,000 they went out again..still under warranty. Now at 96,000 they are making noise again...I hate to sell it cause it's such a great dependable vehicle but it's really getting to be a nuisance.

- , Huntley, IL, USA

problem #27

Dec 052011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Ford used light duty bearings instead of the heavy duty ones they could have installed.

Sell your Explorer now, don't wait.

- , Quincy, Massachusetts, USA

problem #26

Feb 062012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000,000 miles

Took my 2004 explorer to dealership just been told my whole rear end has to be replaced and it will cost me 1,200.00. How does your whole rear end go bad on a vehicle that is hardly driven.

- , Spring Lake, NC, USA

problem #25

Jan 012009

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,552 miles

I have had to replace the front wheel bearings three times.

- , Welch, WV, USA

problem #24

Apr 052011

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

BOTH front wheel bearings went bad at 50K. Are you kidding me. When Ford came out with an assembly they said it would be more money than just a bearing and race but would last forever. RIGHT. JUNK FORD

- , West Springfield, MA, USA

problem #23

Apr 062011

Explorer Eddie Bower V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I love my Ford Explorer, but as my husband said, "don't bring it to the dealers." He could have fixed the front wheel bearings but doesn't have the time with his work and all. So, I brought to the dealers and they screwed me by charging $750.00 for the two front wheel bearings. I should have listened to my husband, but I'll never tell him that. After reading on the web that most people paid around 300 for this type of job, I feel really screwed.

- , Amesbury, MA, USA

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