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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,667 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 #3

Jan 282011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer from a Toyota dealership on 1/28/11. The car was a certified / warranted vehicle. I was assured by the Toyota salesman that any problem with the car would be fixed under the warranty. Several problems which the car has include: Mismatched tires, inoperable sunroof, leak in the differential seal & noise in the differential. I had the car inspected at a Ford dealership & was told these problems needed repair. The Toyota dealership has not returned numerous phone calls, emails & when I brought the car back to them, I was told all these repairs had been fixed & later found out that nothing was done.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #2

Dec 072007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was quality checked with a 115 point inspection; however, she was later notified that the vehicle was in a major crash. The driver side door is misaligned. The sunroof was replaced with tape. She doesn't know if the vehicle is equipped with air bags. The windows have condensation on the inside of the vehicle. The speedometer does not register the proper speed in the vehicle. The approximate speed can range from 20 to 50mph. The fuel pump and sensors were replaced. The vehicle was purchased March 20, 2007. The dealer stated that the vehicle is currently operating normally. The dealer has diagnosed the failure on several occasions. The failure mileage was 20,000 and the current mileage was 23,000.

- Burbank , IL, USA

problem #1

Jun 302004


  • miles
While pressing the remote key to open the sun roof it would not close completely on its own. Consumer has to play with the remote key in order to close it properly. Consumer drove the vehicle to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic deetrmined that this vehicle was operating as designed.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

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