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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
72,376 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace sensors (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

May 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


The backup sensor just randomly one day decided to stop working. Of course I noticed it while in the middle of backing up. Thankfully I had plenty of room so it wasn't an issue. I did like the luxury of knowing when in a tight spot if I was close to maybe bumping something, but it hasn't been a huge issue. Just another thing that has completely stopped working on this Explorer. It has been good to me for roughly 6 years, but now everything is deciding to fall apart at once. No more Ford's for me.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #3

Oct 012014

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,506 miles

Our Explorer came equipped with the rear-park aid (RSS) when we bought it in 2005. Since then, they have slowly declined in performance and started to work intermittently - occasionally sounding a false beep when placed in reverse.

It got to a point where they would not come on at all, and suddenly start to work. I took it for repairs and they found one of the sensors had gone bad - replaced it - and worked fine for about 2 months.

I had gone to the store one night and had backed into a parking space. The sensors failed, sending me a false alarm I was farther away. I accidentally hit the railing behind me, causing $200 in damage.

Not a good system...

Update from Oct 1, 2014: All the sensors were replaced this time under the warranty (not-factory.)

- , Catawba, NC, USA

problem #2

Nov 072010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

After 5 years, everything seems to stop working. All these little problems are really adding up and am no longer a Ford fan.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #1

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles

I feel this is a serious safety concern and a factory recall should take place. Dealer says wait until it stops altogether. I could back over someone before then!

- , Paradise, CAA, USA

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