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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,600 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Sep 012012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles


I had to have the heater blend door replaced on my Ford Explorer. The cost was over $1000. The entire dashboard had to be removed. I know that a tsb was issued by Ford on this problem, many owners have had the same problem as I did. This is an engineering/manufacturing defect that is not only costly to repair, but in my opinion can cause the windshield to fog up while driving because you can not control the heater function. This can lead to a poor or non visibility situation and could cause an accident. Please look into this problem to avoid any possible accidents. I have read numerous reports from other owners online regarding this problem.please contact Ford about this potentially hazardous problem and issue a recall notice. The blend door is not strong enough to withstand the blowers air pressure. Thank you for your help in this matter.

- Sandy Hook, CT, USA

problem #4

Feb 062012


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that heat no longer flowed through the vents and she was unable to defrost the windshield. As a result, her vision was obstructed while driving. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and they informed her that the blend door needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified and they offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 36,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 122009


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The glass for the rear lift gate has developed cracks in it. The rear defroster was also inoperative. He notified the dealer, and a technician stated that it would cost $500 to replace the component. The technician also added that they were aware of the failure. No repairs were made. The manufacturer was notified, but no assistance was provided. He has pictures of multiple vehicles with the same model type, including his vehicle, with identical failures. The failure mileage was 55,000. The current mileage was 65,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #2

Feb 012008


  • 31,000 miles
The blend door behind the glove compartment won't close. This prevents proper defrosting, heating and cooling regardless of the weather. In the winter freezing air blows through, chilling all passengers. In the summer, all the heat from the roads comes through. Our Ford dealer says they can fix it for over $1000!! there are too many of these defects on the road and Ford knew of the defect at least 2 years before my SUV was even made.

- Whispering Pines, NC, USA

problem #1

Jun 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Air conditioner and defroster are moldy, causing illness.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

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