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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,000 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 #1

Feb 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


Auto-transmission hesitates when put into reverse then lunges once transmission is engaged. When shifting from reverse to drive there is a loud clunking sound. Automatic transmission shifts hard sometimes while in drive. Ford service said they could not reproduce and found no problem. This began happening at about 15,000 miles. Vehicle now has almost 36,000 miles and problem has gotten much worse. Engine dies when traveling low speeds and using the cruise control. Each time I try to use the cruise control when traveling 40 mph or less the engine dies. This creates a very dangerous situation when your driving along then suddenly you lose power to the steering and brakes because the engine has died! the seats are also problematic. The 2 back seats fold down. Both of the release mechanisms have been replaced and one needs to be replaced again. Both handles have broken off twice. The leather on the drivers seat has cracked and worn prematurely. The lumbar support knob on the drivers seat fell off but I didn't notice when it happened so it was lost and Ford will not replace it without the defective part. Also the handle that is used to adjust the back of the seat has fallen off. I am a 53 year old women and 98% I am the only one using this vehicle. I do not routinely haul kids or other cargo around in this vehicle so you would think the seats would be holding up much better.

- Dunedin, FL, USA

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