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:
No data
Average Mileage:
78,333 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Dec 102013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


When I turn on heat my switch makes a thumping clicking noise, at first I thought I had a cat under my hood! When it's turned to heat guess what, no heat, cold air blows out and if a/c knob is turned even just a bit the thumping and clicking continue. I had no heat all winter and if it's cool in the morning I can't put defroster on because I have no hot air, this suckssss.

- , Chester, VA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

the a/c in this car really stinks, there is not enough vents to cool off such a big car. Plus is makes so much noise I can't hear the radio

- , Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #1

Jul 232007

(reported on)

Explorer ES V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles

It started out as every time the air conditioner compressor turned on there would be the awful noise/vibration that would shake the whole car and actually scare people outside the vehicle because it sounded and felt as if you hit something. I turned on the air conditioner one time just as my husband was turning a corner and it sounded so bad he hit the brakes because he thought we had an accident, which we almost did then because the car behind us didn't expect us to slam on our brakes. They keep telling us this is normal. We have never heard of anyone else having this problem and they have changed the compressor 2 times now. It is now out of warranty.

- , Ames, NE, USA

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