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 13 of 39)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #523

Nov 152011

Explorer EXT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


Just one of many explorer owners with this problem.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #522

Sep 192011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,059 miles

Just woke up this morning and seen crack beside emblem on rear pop up window all the way through! This is my 3rd Explorer and I'm really pissed! Obviously Ford won't do anything!

- , Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

problem #521

Mar 092011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Quality is JOB 1 ??????? The panel below the window on the back hatch split in two! Did they not know that it would be open & shut and needed to be designed to take it ? It was purely shoddy product!

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #520

Aug 122009

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


Just about every Ford Explorer in model years 02-04 seem to have this issue. I see one or two Explorers every day around town that have this crack. Seems that Ford should at least come up with a solution to have it repaired...not like I'm just going to buy another piece that'll just do the exact same thing.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #519

Nov 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I went to a body shop. They told me it happens all the time. Go to Ford.

I went to my local Ford dealer. They told me it happens all the time. Go to a body shop because Ford does not cover.

I called my salesman. He said Ford knows. Call Customer Service.

I called Ford Customer Service @ 1-800-241-FORD. CSR(Tracy) said that there were no previous complaints. Ford would not fix.


- , Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #518

Oct 212011

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Went to open the door and there it was, cracked from top to the Ford emblem then within a few days the crack extended from top to bottom. I have multiple problems with my Explorer that is now out of warranty. When it was under warranty, I had issues that they fixed and refused to refix because "it had too many miles on it now to cover". he chrome wheels started cracking and splitting and they were replaced and the new ones started doing it during the extended warranty when I was told they wouldn't replace them again. The low tire sensors are faulty. Paid Ford multiple times $50 on extended warranty to fix the dvd player and it would work for 1-2 months then quit. When I complained, I was told there's a lot of vibration on a car to affect that dvd player. Back up sensors never worked correctly and were so confusing when they worked part of the time and sometimes when they shouldn't have, I was relieved when they quit. Door codes stopped working this past summer. Sun roof leaks into the pane that opens and closes it when it rains water drips out of the switch. Had that fixed under warranty also. Handles that lifts the seat to get into the rear seat broke and I can't find one to replace it. I give up on Ford.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #517

Nov 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


have seen a crack in others. now mine cracked in a parking lot!!!! was thinking of buying a new explorer. screw it i am done. now to sell my FORD STOCK.....

- , river forest, US/IL, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #516

Nov 202011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

I also have a cracked panel under the rear lift gate window. Looks like crap. Just happened and I have not gotten an estimate yet. I will be looking into it as well.

- , Kaukauna, WI, USA

problem #515

May 012011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles

This is the second time the rear panel has cracked, the first time I had it replaced while my Explorer was in warranty, now only two years later the newly replaced panel cracked again. This has happened twice on the same vehicle, clearly a manufactures defect which Ford should honor.

- , Pilot Mountain, NC, USA

problem #514

Aug 062011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,723 miles

I also had an '02 EB and had to fix this same problem with a body shop. They told me that Ford now only sells the replacement panel with the glass lift door. My "like new" '04 came with the same kind of crack. I've seen many of the same model years (2002-05) with this problem. Obviously a design failure! And Ford ducks out of the way! Would be nice to have made in N. America mean something!

- , Plymouth, MN, USA

problem #513

Nov 152011

Explorer XLT 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


I have been a Ford person for 50 years. This will be my last one if they don't issue a recall.

- , Paradise, CAA, USA

problem #512

Nov 012011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,500 miles

love the truck hate the gas guzzling. but this crack that seems to be so common on these explorers really goes up my ass backwards. im all for any solutions that can take care of this problem. thanks to all and keep me informed ill do the same. waffen ss.

- , Saugus, MA, USA

problem #511

Feb 122011

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,145 miles

It pisses me off that FORD knows this is happening to their Suv's and they aren't repairing them before they put them on the lot so in my book they are selling DAMAGED GOODS....I paid almost 30,000 for my SUV and I take VERY good car of my car and to have a huge crack down the middle of my hatch by no fault of my own is CRAZY and the best part is it will cost 450.00 to repair. We my family own 5 Fords and I truly havent had any issues with Ford but this is putting a very bad taste in my mouth I am truly not sure if I would buy another Ford because they should fix this PROBLEM they need to OWN up to it and REPAIR if for FREE.................Its the RIGHT thing to do!

- , Kennebunk, ME, USA

problem #510

Oct 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I heard it is happening to a lot of Explorers and no recall.

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #509

Jul 202011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Went to pop the hatch...and noticed a crack...near the Ford emblem. Where the heck did that come from? I wasn't there the NIGHT before. Makes noooo sense. My 95 Explorer looks better than this one! Sooo many quirky issues! Looking into buying a CHEVY!!

- , Litchfield, NH, USA

problem #508

Dec 002010

Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The cracked panel is causing it to not close easily, have to try

a couple of times.

I e-mailed Ford a while back and they said there was not any complaints

that they knew of........ so I have assumed it was just my car until I found

this site.....

Florence T

- , broken bow, OK, USA

problem #507

Jun 152007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Apparently this rear panel crack is quite common. Over 380 complaints on this site plus, just in my neighborhood going to and from work, I came across 4 other vehicles with the same problem. I've called Ford and they won't do anything. I definitely think this is a common enough issue for them to do a recall and fix these things.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #506

Jul 262011

Explorer Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

Add me to the growing list with this crack , was thinking it might not happen. Then in July panel cracked about 6 inches from bottom or window. A guy at work had same problem so it was just a matter of time . This and hood that the paint came off ,ford would not fix but lots with the same problem. Will be my last ford

- , Wisconsin Rapids, WI., USA

problem #505

Jul 152010

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

my 2004explorer has cracked panel under back glass. I called customer service to complain but they there was not any thing they could do.

- , Paris, KY, USA

problem #504

Oct 192011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

seen so many complaints about the rear door cracking and no recall from ford.

- , Sumter, SC, USA

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