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:
Average Mileage:
75,272 miles
Total Complaints:
763 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 reports)
  2. not sure (204 reports)
  3. replace panel (117 reports)
  4. possible class action lawsuit (62 reports)
  5. call Ford motor company 1-800-241-3673 (27 reports)
  6. do not buy Ford again (25 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 11 of 39)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #563

Jan 102012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 248,000 miles


Since this crack appeared, we have noticed similar cracks on over a dozen other Ford Explorers. The majority of the cracks are to the LEFT of the emblem. I cannot believe that Ford has not taken some sort of responsibility for this obvious defect in the construction of the panel.

- , Chico, CA, USA

problem #562

Feb 102012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

LIke so many other posts regarding this problem, we have the same crack on our tailgate near the Ford emblem. We parked next to an identical model with the exact same crack and had a conversation with the owner, who told us she discovered this is a common flaw with this model. Now I'm seeing similar cracks on other Ford Explorers when we are out and about. How can Ford not take responsibility for this? When we called the dealership to find out about having it fixed, they told us it would be at our expense and over $500 to fix it. REALLY??? We have meticulously maintained our vehicle, and now it looks awful! This is just wrong Ford!

- , Canandaigua, NY, US

problem #561

Feb 012012

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I wrote Ford Motor Credit and spoke with them today. I was told this was not a known problem on this model and it was not under warranty at this time. I explained it is a known manufacture defect on this year and model have been told by 2 dealerships and insurance company and they will not offer any assistance in getting this corrected. The truck was well under warranty when the defect was recognized. I want them to stand behind the product and fix it!!

- , Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #560

Mar 032012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles


Well just like some other complaints i had seen 2 blue explorers with a crack in hatch and the next day i had the same thing ironic that thaey were the same color blue , not many major issues other than tran replaced at 185,000 but just weird .

- , Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #559

Oct 032007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I add mine to the # 1 complaint of this vehicle. The part is defective and should be recalled and fixed at no charge to the valued Ford customer.

- , Vimy, AB, Canada

problem #558

Feb 132005

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The crack in the rear below the rear back window.. It's definitely a defect!! I love my ford by I hate how the crack makes the car look.

I cannot believe there is no recall.

I am in Ford country.. Florida. Where ever I turn I see another ford explorer with a crack!! Some try to cover with an awful sticker and other tried to paint it!!

Obviously they don't like either. This is my first Ford.. But I may have to purchase my next car back to Nissan.. Never had a problem.. Ford why not Stand by your name and mission ...

- , Dade City, FL, USA

problem #557

Jan 202012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,124 miles


Had heard from other owners about the cracking of real window panel. After several years (7) ours has finally cracked. Was wondering about Ford repairing as defect or the cost to have repaired.

- , St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #556

Feb 252012

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

Last week I was behind an Explorer just like mine and noticed the crack below the rear window. I had loaded somethings in the back on Friday night and it wasn't there. When I loaded the things back nup on Saturday morning I found that mine had cracked too. I came online to see if there is a recall and I find all the complaints from other Ford Owners about the same problem. How can Ford not do anything to fix this. If I get it fixed myself, I wonder how long before it does it again. Please let me know if anyone gets any solutions to this problem.. I'm also having transmission problems too! I WILL NOT purchase another FORD! I waited for years to get an Explorer always wanted one and now I wish I had never bought it!!

- , Lyons, GA, USA

problem #555

Jan 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I became aware that Ford Explorers were susceptible to cracking of the rear trim panel below the window from observations of other Ford Explorers while driving. I warned every driver of the car to be very careful closing the back lift gate and back window hatch, yet one day a crack was there. As time has gone on, the crack has grown and new cracks have appeared.

My biggest concern is the resale value of the car being compromised. I had initially chosen to purchase a Ford (used with low mileage) because they didn't take government bailout money. But now with this crack issue I've lost a great deal of respect for the company. I used to hate the bulk and rattle of the Dodge Ram pickup trucks, but now am actually considering changing my plans to purchase a Ford truck with the Dodge truck. I'll do a better job of investigating complaints before I buy any car or truck from this point forward; right here at Car Complaints dot com.

- , Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #554

Dec 262011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,600 miles

I also have other problems that Ford fixed and then the exact same thing happened (not fixed yet) and now the rear panel cracks in half. I have owned a lot of Fords, and had problems, but they were so small that i did not even know they were there until i got a recall letter. Now i am having bigger problems,and i find out i am not alone by far, and i can't get Ford to give even a good answer. I get answers like , if it is a real problem, there will be a recall. I am now waiting for Ford to do the right thing and recall and fix all these problems.

- , Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #553

Jan 012012

Explorer 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


I just don't understand how the rear of your vehicle can have a crack in the center of it!!!

it's horrible; I'm worried about it cracking and as the summer months come it will get worst.

- , Katy, TX, US

problem #552

Feb 012012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Vehicle is a piece of CRAP. Already had to have front pinion seal and coolant housing replaced due to blown head gasket. Within 6 months after these repairs the alternator went. A month and a half ago, the tensioner broke. Extended warranty is highway robbery unless you purchase everything meaning very little above was covered. Now the panel on the lift gate below the rear window is cracked all the way down the middle. Tried to buy American, but what a JOKE. My 2004 Toyota Highlander has 105,000 miles and I have not had any of these repairs except the normal maintenance done at their respective intervals. Will never buy another Ford.

- , Harper Woods, MI, USA

problem #551

Feb 152012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.8L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,800 miles

A couple of years ago the hinges on the rear window broke, and now this; not to mention the two wheel bearings that had to be replaced. Considering the initial cash outlay I paid, along with the on-going expenses, I'll think twice before buying another Ford.

- , Neenah, WI, USA

problem #550

Nov 122007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

when i called ford customer service to see if they could help me they said no. now i find out there at that time there was a special assistance program. called them back today to see if i could get my money back they said no they never heard of any program. they just don't want to help because so many cars have this problem and would cost them to must money to help!

- , Glen Burnie, MD, US

problem #549

Dec 022011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

When I first noticed this crack I showed it to my Ford Dealer to see what they had to say. Their reply was yes we have seen this before so it is not uncommon. So if this is the situation and obviously a design defect then why doesn't Ford step up to the plate and put out a recall?? Then just for fun I called different Ford dealers to see if they had the part in stock. Yes they did so that tells me if they are going to keep the part in stock that it definitely is a PROBLEM. I have been treated well by our local dealership but I feel their hands are tied in fixing this problem without any cost to me. My problem is with FORD Motor Co. They need to remember that the best and worst advertising you can get is word of mouth. Personally, unless Ford fixes this I won't buy another Ford product.

- , Entiat, WA, USA

problem #548

Dec 192011

Explorer XLT 4.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,800 miles

Called Ford and "at this time their are no recalls for your vehicle" but I heard that its common. All I have to do is wait and see what course of action Ford takes with this issue. Buy American, lets boost the economy guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Chicago, IL, US

problem #547

Jan 122012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,200 miles

Back lift window cracked through frame. I see why Ford changed this in later models back to the glass lift again. I think they should stand good for this. I see the average cost if we have it fixed is $400 plus dollars. I have spent enough on wheel bearings and oil leaks already and do not want to spend anymore.

- , Redding, CA, US

problem #546

Oct 012011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

FORD ? REALLY ?? I have spent only a few minutes on the internet and found MANY complaints about this issue and Ford is telling people it isn't an "issue". Since my "CRACK" reared its' ugly head I have noticed almost every 2002 - 2005 Explorer with the dreaded "CRACK" and all I am reading is Ford will do nothing about it. I have joined the Facebook page dedicated to the "CRACK" and intend to be as vocal as I can. I am looking for information on how to join the class action suit. Maybe HBO can film a special....."Cracked in America".

- , Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #545

Jul 042010

Explorer ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,500 miles

At first I thought that I did something. Then i started noticing other cars and when ever I seen another car I immediately look at the back panel and sure enough it is cracked under the glass-

It is very annoying knowing that this problem exist and that no one from ford has acknowledged any of the complaints-I will now call ford and report the issue-I will in fact let everyone who i see with the same problem know to call ford.

i would like the problem fixed-this is my only car and would like to keep it-

- , Newark, DE, US

problem #544

Sep 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Back panel cracked and is ugly and looks tacky. Don't know what the complications for leakage into the back door may be. Nice car on the outside except for that. I see the same problem on Explorers all over in just our own town, so there are a lot more of them out there that 543.

- , St. Louis, MO, USA

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