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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
131,267 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replaced tiny brake sensor (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Sep 092013

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


So a brake sensor fails (its a f--king $12.95 part) and the SUV will NOT go into gear. It's way to difficult for me to figure out the wiring so I had to take it down to the STEALERship where it cost $350 to replace and install it?? I HATE YOU FORD!

This is my third "American made" car and my last! All these "overseas" manufacture cars are now MADE STATE SIDE, so I will be giving them my sales from now on!

- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #2

Sep 012013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 223,800 miles

Carefully remove the rubber boot off the shifter. Shine your small light towards the front and look for a little silver pin. Take your long skinny screwdriver and carefully tap it while holding the break pedal. If it doesn't drop down, carefully touch the top of it and slide it down and let go of the break.

This solved the problem with the shifter coming out of park for now until I get some WD40 with a long red nozzle and give it a squirt.

Owned more fords than anything else... good luck with that.

- , Manhattan, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 302010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I've had numerous problems with my Explorer, but this one is definitely the worst! Tonight when I tried to back out of my parking spot at the gym, I couldn't get the gear shift to budge out of "park". My husband (who is VERY handy and can fix any car!) came to rescue me, but even he couldn't do anything! We left my car at the parking lot because it will take a certain type of tow truck to move my SUV. My husband did some research on the internet and is actually back at the parking lot (at 11:30 pm, bless his heart!) trying again to fix the problem. I just hope that the darn thing doesn't fall off like others have had happen! It seems ridiculous that Ford has not issued a recall on this issue! Then again, my experience with Ford hasn't been great, so I'm not too surprised. I'm crossing my fingers that my husband can fix it since we don't have the money to take it somewhere and definitely can't afford a new ride!

- , Chula Vista, CA, US

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