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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,150 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 #2

Dec 172009


  • miles


I have a 2004 Ford Explorer which while driving last year I was told that my hub assembly on my driver's side was bad and that I needed to replace it. I replaced it with a hub assembly from advance auto parts in Jan 2010. I just had to replace this part again in Dec 2010. I lost breaks. I also have a horrible jerking when I am backing up from a tight spot and the wheels are turned sharply. My door ajar light and all interior lights do not go off when the door is opened or the vehicle is cranked unless I turn the interior light switch to the off position and back to the on when the doors open position. I have had the electrical issue reviewed twice in the past. I have had the jerking looked at with no reason given more than once. I had my vehicle inspected on Nov 30th and nothing was mentioned about the terrible condition the hub assembly was in nor the bearings that a mobile mechanic showed me were terribly worn. I am replacing them soon. It seems to me that Ford must know about all of these problems and it should be something that they are willing to help the consumer in fixing since most Ford buyers are diehard Ford owners like myself.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #1

Nov 232004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,300 miles
Complete failure of the gauge pod, radio, interior lights, power windows at 2,300 miles. No speedometer, odometer, tach, fuel gauge, temp, oil, battery, radio (nothing in the dashboard functions except the airbag light). Ford dealer in allentown pa was very rude and went out of their way to not work in a timely manner and keep us in the dark. Drove vehicle to Texas (with no gauges) to dealership where purchased. At the shop right now. Transmission also hesitates excessively between shifts.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

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