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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
49,750 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. repair hose 450.00/150.00 for labor (2 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replaced entire assembly (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 032009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


I Am upset that I purchased this SUV 4 years ago and it has given me nothing but problems. As soon as the extended warranty ran out my problems began with the A/C. Ughhhh!

- , Sharon Hill, PA, USA

problem #3

Sep 212008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

We live in Hawaii, and it gets pretty hot over here. We can't have the windows down all the time cause it also rains alot over here. It just sucks and it's another expense...

- , Wahiawa, HI, USA

problem #2

Oct 252008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

It gets really hot in Menifee, CA (110*). There was a tiny hole in the hose which caused a leak. Ford charged me $450.00 for a stupid hose and another $150.00 for labor. Even if I had an extended warranty it wouldn't have been covered. The car is only 4 years old. I have had cars that were older and never had a problem with the AC. We will never buy another Ford again. This isn't the first or last problem we have experienced with the car.

- , Menifee, CA, US

problem #1

Aug 122006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

My Explorer has front and rear air. It began not cooling very much. My mechanic tried refilling the coolant material and said to come back if it didn't work. I did come back and he suspected it was the motor leaking. He estimated the repair at $1,200.00 and suggested that I take it to Ford to see if they would cover it under warranty or if it was a recall item. I took it to two separate dealers and they both said it wasn't covered (not surprising) and estimated the repair around $2,000.00 I took it back to my trusted mechanic and he repaired. He also noted how many problems they are seeing with Ford Explorers in general. Again, this will be my last Ford.

- , San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

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