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:
75,318 miles
Total Complaints:
762 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 24 of 39)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #302

Feb 102010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles


First and regularly, the front visor plastic attachments keep cracking -- you would think that Ford would manufacture them out of Nylon and not the cheap plastic that is presently being used -- sounds like a racket to me. Next, the crack on the exterior rear panel where the window is located -- I am afraid that water will seep in and do damage to the interior wall of the back door. Cheap plastic again.

What do I do???

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #301

Nov 212009

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

Apparently there are MANY of us out there with this very same crack on the back panel of our cars! I too have no scratches, dents, etc except for this unsightly crack! This has caused a VERY annoying rattle! I know it's coming from this crack! I'm afraid it's going to rattle so much that the window is going to break. There is not a day that goes by that I don't see another Ford with this crack! Come on Ford...fix this problem!!

- , The Colony, TX, US

problem #300

Jan 162010

Explorer XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Just like the other complainers, I came out of the bowling alley and put my equipment in the back and saw that the panel was cracked in half on the left side of the ford emblem. I thought maybe water got behind it causing it to freeze and crack the panal. But with reading several of the complaints here, I think that this was not the case. I looking at trying to replace this panal myself, if I can figure out how to replace it.

- , Nebo, KY, USA

problem #299

Oct 162009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


I first thought someone must have hit my car with their fist and cracked the back panel but then I began to see more and more explorer's with the same thing. Between this and my visors and my lumbar support and my rear passenger window, I'm wondering what's next? I love my ford but its not loving my back!

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #298

Mar 142010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,691 miles

click to see larger images

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

On Saturday 13 March 2010, my wife and I drove the vehicle and never noticed any defect to the area of concern. But, on Sunday morning around 14 March 2010, as my son and I was packing the vehicle prior to taking him back to college--after his spring break, we noticed the crack. I reported the problem to my insurance company. While returning from my son's college campus, I stopped at Fort Jackson, located in Columbia, SC., to do some shopping and noticed an Explorer that was parked in front of my vehicle had the same crack. So, I took a picture of the defect. While I was taking the picture, the owner of the vehicle walked up and pointed out the crack. The owner informed me that he never noticed the crack before and it certainly wasn't there the day before. This is no coincident--this has to be a defect! Two different Explorers with the same defect, in the same position.

- , Summerville, SC, US

problem #297

Dec 102008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

After a very cold night the next day I noticed three cracks on the rear lift gate window it seemed to have happened over night I called and complained to ford and they said they never heard of anything like this happening and that I was the first to have this problem. Anyways , after traveling around town for the next several months I noticed that It was impossible for them to have never heard of this crack seeing nearly every dam ford explorer on the road seemed to have the same problem. And are you kidding me 400 dollars to fix? I hope they aren't replacing with the same piece of crap plastic again.

- , Lady Lake, FL, USA

problem #296

Feb 212010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles


(Same Complaint about Ford like everyone else ) Ford has around 577 Complaints about Cracked panel below the rear window - 214 Windows Complaints don't Roll Down or Up. ( My Ford Explorer 2004 has both Problems ) Since my Panel Cracked I started to notice several other Ford Explorer Panels Cracked in the same area. Both of my Windows in the back of the vehicle don't roll Down. I went to ford to see the dealer. I told him about my complaints he told me to use my Insurance because these issues aren't on recall ( I Was So Upset ) Ford needs to correct the problem free of charge! This vehicle is a defect. Whoever is reading this please contact you local news for we could get our vehicles repaired. - - tampabay

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #295

Feb 012010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

As per other complaints not there one day there the next . All ford car dealers approached say out of warranty. Stiff. Am considering taking to our consumer affairs people to see where i stand under statutory laws in NSW Australia. Will let you know how i go.

- , Berrigan, NSW, Australia

problem #294

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,542 miles

Never in all my days have I seen a panel on a vehicle just split. This is very strange.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #293

Jan 292010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,800 miles

WOW- I can't believe how many people have the same complaint and still Ford does nothing. I've only owned 1 Ford before this and it was a 1997 Explorer-standard, and as a matter of fact its still running great at 199,000 miles (now needs a clutch) but that was my incentive for buying this 2004 Eddie Bauer. BAD IDEA:( I only drove this truck 3000 miles in a year {used the 1997 for everyday use} and to my disappointment I came out of the store one day (a day it started to warm after several snows) and BAM, there it was next to the Ford logo- a crack from top to bottom, I though someone tried to break in. After inquiring with my mechanic who referred me to a body shop, I took it in to find that it would cost @ $300.00 to fix with NO guarantee it wouldn't happen again, then THE KICKER- he takes me to the lot to show me 3 other 2004 Explorers waiting to repaired for the same problem. Seriously???

Needless to say, I did NOT fix it as I did not have $300 spare dollars to throw away IF the repair didn't take. Seems to me that quality is NOT a priority for Ford anymore. I will be going back to a Dodge after this truck. Sad stepdad and sister BOTH work for Ford :(

- , Roxboro, NC, USA

problem #292

Feb 212010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

This piece was fine one day, cracked from top to bottom the next. What's so aggravating about Fords is it's the small stuff that ends up costing a fortune that break. This is inexcusable.

- , Denver, NC, USA

problem #291

Mar 052010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Same as the others...just out of the blue I noticed a crack in the rear panel door just below the window and to the left of the Ford symbol. The crack was not there last week when I checked for it after reading all of the complants, but today it is. I am really, really disgusted with Ford right about now.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #290

Feb 092010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I see I'm not alone, walked outside the beginning of Feb and saw the crack identical to most of the pictures I see here,,had first thought someone had attempted to break into my Explorer but now see its just another issue with Ford

- , Hampton, VA, US

problem #289

Nov 202009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I also discovered a crack just to the right of the Ford logo. The entire panel split straight down. There was no apparent cause, no collision, the hatch wasn't slammed, it wasn't cold out. We just walked out one morning and found the part split. Of course it is a poorly designed part, and of course Ford knows the part is flawed. They make more money selling parts to replace poor design than they do selling the car in the first place. I understand that sometimes parts will not last as long or be as robust as the design team envisioned, but the fact they have failed to redesign this part is what bothers me. They have known for several years now that the part is bad, but instead of beefing it up, they keep selling the same old crap. I have been a 7 time Ford owner, but I am pretty tired of the crappy service from the dealerships. My military career has caused me to live in 10 different locations, and not a single time have I had a dealer say, Yeah, we have a problem with that, we'll take care of you. Even with warranty items they try to charge some fee to drag money out of you. Fortunately for me, as a skilled mechanic, I will perform my own repairs. But for people who are not capable, it is a real problem. I won't say Ford is worse than any other dealer, but they are bad.

- , Rocklin, CA, USA

problem #288

Dec 192009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

yep, like everyone else, happened out of nowhere. First snowstorm of the season, and crack there it is. Unbelievable, not on recall list. Ford, very disappointing!

- , Highland Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #287

Aug 022008

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I encounter a crack that started right underneath the rear window and run all the way down to where the door starts. I took it to Ford and was told it was not a defect on the vehicle and there were no recalls. The paint also started to rust in the front of the hood.

- , Rio, TX, USA

problem #286

Jan 012010

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Well Ford, You borrowed all the money you possibly could including leveraging your Ford name just before the credit markets shut off in late 08. Luck has it that the other more strongly positioned auto manufacturers did not. Thus they could not refinance their debt and had to get a public bail out. Your product still SUCKS. You might be the last manufacturer standing, but it has nothing to do with the quality of your cars. To that end among all the other issues I have had with my 2004 Explorer, the back hatch has finally cracked just the same as all the rest of the people have reported. While I expect normal wear and tear, I don't expect my body panels to explode. I don't expect my transmission to fail, I don't expect my paint to peel off, I don't expect my fuel gauge not to be accurate, I don't expect my rear differential to need replacement, I don't expect my wheel bearings to need replacement, and I don't expect my chrome wheels to disintegrate, all within 36-70k miles.

FORD PRODUCES CRAP. They benefit from all other auto makers going bankrupt. Then our Government who owns most of the auto industry goes after Toyota. Pure LUCK. FORD: Your cars are still the WORST BUILT cars on the road. Honda and Toyota is all I will ever buy again after owning a Lincoln LS and two other Ford pieces of crap.

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #285

Dec 192009

Explorer XLT Flexfuel V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Well it sounds like I'm not the only one where one day it's fine and the next day there is a stress crack (with no signs of impact or reason) right below the rear window where the locking mechanism is. Not sure of the reason but it just appeared one day and I am worried it will ruin the metal that was protected and affect the ability to unlock/lock the top back gate...bummer, I would have thought for sure this is a recall as it looks like the plastic can't hold up in the cooler temperatures....

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #284

Jan 202010

Explorer XL 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,800 miles


- , Dunedin, FL, USA

problem #283

Jan 282010

Explorer XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,286 miles

Since my panel has cracked I have noticed several other 2003 thru 2006 ford explorers on the road with similar cracks. There is definitely a defect that ford needs to address.

- , Grandview, TX, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?