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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,262 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Dec 092014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 20 mph, a rattling sound emitted from the vehicle. After parking and inspecting the vehicle, the contact discovered that four lug nuts were detached from the rear passenger tire and two of the rim spokes were cracked. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Allison Park, PA, USA

problem #6

Sep 042014


  • 119,884 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle shook and vibrated. The failure occurred twice. An independent mechanic replaced the studs on both front wheels. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 119,884.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #5

Jul 302010


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving less than 10 mph and approaching an intersection to attempt a left turn. Suddenly, the front end of the vehicle collapsed and the front passenger wheel fractured from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer yet the technician was unable to locate the problem. The manufacturer referred the contact to an independent mechanic for further investigation. The vehicle was repaired for the front end damages and the technician was unable to provide an explanation to the cause of the failure. Through research, the contact discovered the failure was a common occurrence with this model, as a result of defective wheel lug bolts. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer and the lug bolts were replaced on the four wheels. The failure mileage was approximately 77,000.

- Newington, CT, USA

problem #4

Jan 312010


  • 79,950 miles


The driver owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The driver stated that four of the studs on the right rear rotor broke off and that the wheel almost fell off. He heard a loud noise while driving approximately 25 mph. The vehicle was towed to a repair shop. A local mechanic informed him that the studs broke and replaced all five studs. The contact neither took the vehicle to the dealership nor spoke with the manufacturer to-date. The current mileage was approximately 80,000. The failure mileage was approximately 79,950.

- Mount Pleasant, PA, USA

problem #3

Jun 142009


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer which was purchased in September 2007. While driving 25 mph and making a right turn, the rear driver's side wheel came off of the vehicle. The vehicle hit the ground and would not move any further. The lug nuts and bolts sheared off of the wheel assembly. The vehicle was towed to a local service center where they replaced the lug nuts and bolts. On a separate occasion, while driving at speeds of less than 30 mph going through an intersection, she heard a loud noise. She then maneuvered the vehicle to the side of the road where she found the bolts had sheared off into the wheel cover and caused the lug nuts to come off of the passenger's side rear tire. There were no recalls for the failure. The contact was awaiting repairs a second time. The failure mileage was 39,000 and the current was 56,000. The VIN was not available.

- Prather , CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 022007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Right-rear wheel fell off while traveling 40 mph. Fortunately nobody was hurt this time. After reading other posts about problems with wheels falling off and with lug:nuts I decided to post our incident too.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #1

Feb 162007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
Without warning the rear wheel of my 2004 Ford, Explorer broke off going 65 on the interstate. All five lugs snapped off. No one took responsibility. I had to pay for repairs. It was either a defect or negligence on the part of the dealer where I had it serviced.

- Laurel, NY, USA

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