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:
66,400 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. take to dealer; have key or get new keys re-programmed (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 022011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,800 miles


While I was in Florida with my daughter who had to have major surgery, my husband used my Explorer to go to a Benefit for Handicapped children "Breakfast with Santa" and he was playing Santa, well the Explorer wouldn't start so he had to find another vehicle to use. When he returned he found out that the Explorer forgot the code or the pats code, which cost $130 for a new key and programming, two weeks to the day the Explorer again forgot the code for both keys this time which cost us $120 for a locksmith to come to our house to reprogram the keys again. We have been told that there is no way around the pats code. Thank you FORD, I will never ever buy a FORD again.....

- , Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #1

Mar 142009

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

The battery died and could not be restarted with a jump, a new battery, or even a new starter. Finally, I had towed to dealer and found out upon my battery dieing and being jumped the truck thought it was being stolen and shut down. Had to get 2 brand news keys re-programmed. The cost for the primary repair was 350 but in the process of finding out the real problem I paid for a brand new battery 110, starter 150 and towing 160 twice...

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

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