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

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 28 of 39)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #222

Jan 042008

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


My rear panel is cracked and I noticed other

Explorers had the same problem. Ford should

issue a recall and replace the panel at no


I plan on calling Ford this week. I would urge you

to do the same.

- , Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #221

Jun 022009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Here's another one to add to the 'Crack in the Back'. Maybe I can add two as my son's Mercury Mountaineer cracked in the exact same spot several months before mine?

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #220

Jan 152009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I went to get the explorer out of the garage and noticed the crack in the panel below the rear hatch window. It was not there the night before. Of course the car is out of warranty. However sense this has happened I have seen approximately 8 other explorers with the same crack. Therefore this must be a common problem and(SHOULD BE A FORD RECALL)

- , Covington, OH, USA

problem #219

Jul 222009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


One day this summer I walk out to my car parked at work and notice a line running down from under the rear window. Sure enough, a crack. Annoyed, because I knew I did not slam it and nothing else had happened to it, I called our local Ford dealership. They made it sound like that was very unusual. We had purchased the extended warrenty but of course we were over the miles. It was going to cost about $400.00 or more to replace it. Needless to say, it is still there. It really makes me mad to see how many people are having the same issue and Ford is not taking care of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Appleton, WI, USA

problem #218

Nov 052008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Well, I bought my car NEW in 2004. I noticed the crack last winter and also noticed HUNDREDS of others in my area. Ford said they will fix it.....for a nominal fee of course. Arrgghh!! They want to charge me $50 if my mileage is under 70k miles. Which it is, but this is a manufacturers defect, FORD should be paying this!!! I don't think I will EVER own a Ford after this. Found On Road Dead!

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #217

Aug 012007

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

There is a crack on my Ford Explorer 2004 model. I have seen this on all the Ford Explorers I see. There should be a recall, but they have their money and that is that. This is really sad, as it could effect my future decisions and with the Buffalo weather, this is a nuisance too.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #216

Jul 112009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


I live in Warren, OH. The 2004 Explorer is my wifes vehicle. She noticed the crack in the panel below the rear window last month. It was only part way. Before two days were up, the crack was all the way across, and under normal driving conditions. We took it in for warranty work on someting else and I had them quote a price to fix it. And now here I am. Rediculous! This should DEFINITELY be a recall item. I was on my way home from the dealership, and you wont believe this, but I saw another Explorer, about the same year, with a crack below the rear window just like ours! (ok, you might believe it) I didnt realize how common this was till I started doing research on it. I dont anticipate a response from Ford until the economy clears up. Which is never. Workin man gets screwed again!

- , Warren, OH, USA

problem #215

Oct 262007

Explorer LTD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

just really annoying and I see that problem on almost every explorer I see. this should be a recall!

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #214

Aug 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

The panel on our Explorer cracked today. Just like the rest. I was very surprised to find out that Ford is not correcting this defect in both design and materials. I have written to the law firm mentioned in an earlier complaint and will also contact the NTSB. I think I will also make a notice to post in the back window. Maybe a few tag lines will help, I wonder...

"Built Ford tough!" "Except for this piece."

"Ford has a better idea." "It has to do with NEW customers, NOT return customers."

"Quality is Job 1." "Fixing this is Job # 807."

"There's a Ford in your Future." "Wanna buy this one?"

- , Marshfield, WI, US

problem #213

Jan 142009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

When calling Ford Customer Service they said there was no recall or customer satisfaction complaint ever filed . . . WOW ..... do they think we are stupid????? Do they choose just to ignore the issue? When you see 9 out of 10 Explorers with the same problem to they think we are making it up? My confidence in Ford is definately not what it used to be :-(

- , Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #212

Feb 102009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,154 miles


Like many others have said about this problem, one day I went out and the crack was there. I was always careful when closing the door so nothing like this would happen. I check out all 2004 Ford Explorers that I see and 9 our of 10 of them have the crack in the same place. Come on Ford. Do something about it.

- , Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #211

Jul 072009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,600 miles

Crack under rear glass of our dark blue explorer just showed up one day. In past two days, I have seen two other dark blue explorers with exact same form of crack. Seems like ford needs to make it right for all of us.

- , Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #210

Jul 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

I'm having the same issue as everyone else. I have a crack that has suddenly appeared this month on the rear panel below the window and to the left of the Ford logo. I purchased this vehicle new in 2004 and just paid it off this past May. I just saw another Explorer about the same model as mine, a Red one, that had the same exact crack as mine. That led me to do some checking online and it appears to be a widespread problem. Why hasn't a recall been issued? I have treated this rear door gingerly all these years and for this to happen really ticks me off. My car is silver and the crack really sticks out.

- , Clinton, MS, USA

problem #209

Jul 082009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I just bought this vehicle and noticed this crack before I test drove it. I thought before yesterday that maybe the prior owner had cracked the panel under the rear window. Yesterday I went shopping at sam's club in Savannah, GA and parked next to a Ford Explorer that had a crack in the SAME EXACT place as my Explorer. I spoke with my uncle today and he said that he saw a Ford Explorer in Claxton, GA today that had the SAME EXACT crack on it as well. I don't think that it is coincidence that three vehicles within a 50 mile radius could have the SAME EXACT crack in the SAME EXACT spot on the panel under the rear window of the vehicle. I think that ford should recall these defective rear window panels.

- , Reidsville, GA, USA

problem #208

May 082007

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

We bought our '04 Explorer used & noticed the cracked rear panel. We wondered how in the world you would get a crack there then we saw another Explorer on the road with the same crack. I "googled" it today & found this was a common problem. So does Ford just say "tough luck" you're out of warranty??

- , Brookville, IN, USA

problem #207

Sep 102008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This vehicle has never been hit and one day I shut the back end and the crack was there. Called Ford and they said well to bad it will cost about 600.00 to fix. Don't feel that I should have to pay out of pocket to fix I didn't do anything to damage it. Guess What I won't buy a ford again and all our life we have been a ford family. This to me is a defect in the construction of the explorer not my fault. I paid the price for the vehicle that they wanted and I made every payment on time. On the other hand If I had only sent 1/2 payments they would have done something to me. I kept up my end for the payment why can't they admit there is a problem on there end and fix my car. That's all I want is my car fixed and don't think I should have to pay for it.

- , Lone Grove, OK, USA

problem #206

Oct 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Like everyone else, my crack occurred out of nowhere. I recently called Ford customer service number and the man on the phone looked up the year and model to verify that no recalls had been issued. No recalls had been issued but he also said there were ZERO issues similar to mine!!! Are you kidding me????!!! Has anyone had any kind of resolve lately??

- , Edmond, OK, USA

problem #205

Jun 052009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


- , Hollywood, FL, US

problem #204

Jun 272009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I've owned this vehicle for approximately two and one half weeks. Today I drove it to Walmart to purchase grocery and when I returned to my vehicle to put my grocery in, I noticed a very noticeable crack in the rear panel. I'm not sure what could have happened to cause the crack parked in Walmart's parking lot. I would like to know if Ford will repair this or if this will be my expense. If the panel cracked from being parked, this will be the last Ford that I will ever purchase.



- , Sunbury, NC, USA

problem #203

Jul 152008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Service mgr said it wasn't covered by warranty and was only superficial. I spoke with another Ford owner whom told me she knew of two other Ford Explorers with the same exact problem.

- , Galveston, TX, USA

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