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:
102,250 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replaced function switch (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 152011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,500 miles


This model has the rotary climate switch gear not auto climate control. I don't know if this is the same on auto climate control but I think not. The switch that directs airflow of heated or cooled air to the floor, dash, and windshield was only directing air to the floor no matter what position the switch was in. I originally feared the blend door was bad which I'm told requires removal of the dash and costs a small fortune. Luckily (although in reality this part shouldn't have failed at all) it was only the function switch and didn't require removing anything but the trim plate around the climate switches and radio and of course replacing the bad switch. Although I'm not pleased about having the problem in the first place, I am grateful it was not the blend door as originaly suspected. The moral of this story (and I can't stress this enough) is to be sure the mode select switch is functioning first before letting someone gouge you for the blend door job, which would have been a big and very expensive job that ultimately wouldn't have solved the problem. Something tells me I wouldn't have gotten a refund for the blend door job if I had OK'd it and later found out it was not the problem. Most mechanics I took it too including Ford assumed right away that the blend door needed replacing. Thinking they were right kept me from getting it fixed alot sooner.

- , Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #1

Jun 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is really bad when I need to defrost my window or when I want a rapid cool down in the summer. System blows air from floor, vents and defrost at same time so the flow is diminished.

- , Moore, OK, USA

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