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:
39,500 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Mar 082008


  • 67,000 miles


My concern is in regard to an ongoing problem that my vehicle and thousands of others like it have; the lack of safety one may be faced with if the rear on these vehicles fail due to substandard parts used in the rear differential on the Ford SUV's and F-150's. my understanding is that the costly repair that is required the manufacture will not honor after the basic warranty is over even though this is an ongoing problem. On these vehicles. I was told today that if I continue to drive the vehicle to the point of complete failure I risk the vehicles back wheels locking up. My question to the NHTSA is why has there not been a recall on these vehicles knowing that this is a major problem in the drivetrain of these vehicles. I have 79K on my vehicle and a friend had their rear differential replaced at 22K and the problem is prevalent again on that vehicle again as well. In my estimation this could result in serious injury. What does it take to get a recall on this problem" does hundreds of people have to die or suffer serious injury for something to be done? I have had my vehicle back to Ford for one bang or clang or another since the vehicle had 18K on it. Will the NHTSA ever see fit to make a re-call on these vehicles or again does several people need to suffer injury or loss before something is done"

- Wanaque, NJ, USA

problem #3

Sep 012008


  • 47,000 miles
Of the numerous issues with this vehicle, the worst is the transmission (40,000 miles ). same old story. Started with clunking and hesitation and surging when shifting into reverse and now is 'clunking' into gears 2 and 3 during normal driving. The rear drivers side window motor has been replaced twice. The rear window panel has a vertical crack to the left of the Ford symbol that just mysteriously occurred even though we don't even use the window. The truck stalls when the cruise control is applied below 45 miles an hour. My wife and I really loved this truck but like many others we have become embarrassed by our purchase. If this kind of fraud were to occur with any other product we would have some sort of recourse but not surprisingly the motor company's seem to enjoy a certain level of protection. The 'better business bureau' won't even listen to car complaints. Given the severe and ubiquitous nature of the complaints about this vehicle it comes as no surprise that no remediations is forth coming from this organization, the manufacturer or any other. The cost of these vehicles is a burden to say the least and is financially devastating to those of us who purchased them in good faith only to have a 30,000 dollar vehicle become useless and dangerous before reaching 50000 miles. Like all the other 'victims' of fraud, I am wasting yet more of my time by complaining about it.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 142004


  • 44,000 miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer had to have the complete rear end fixed. It has only 40,000 miles and should never have had to repair this part of a automobile. Especially a 2004. The repair shop said they have never had to repair a rear end and they have been in business for 30 years. There has to be something wrong that Ford did to my vehicle to have this break this soon. It cost me over $1200 of which we are on a fixed income. We had to sell things, borrow money with interest and with my husband so very ill that his medicine for 7 pills every three months is over $700 a 3 month. Someone had to make a mistake. I have driven Ford since I started drive over several years ago. Matter of fact the first car I drove was the Ford push button. Please find out if there is someone that can help us with this extremely high repair bill. This car is our only transportation and is very wrong for us to have to pay this much for repair for such a new car. Thank you, norma grotberg

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #1

Oct 112004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car was parked in a driveway with rear window towards garage door. The back window of the car along with a piece of the actual door exploded off. The piece of the door flew up into the air and came crashing back down onto the car. Their was glass everywhere. Had anyone been facing the car it could have caused some serious bodily injury. Or had the car been in motion anyone inside the car could have been hurt or anyone driving behind could have been hurt.

- Spotswood, NJ, USA

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