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 8 of 39)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #622

Sep 202013

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Happens to all of them. should have been a recall.

- , Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #621

Oct 312012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

I like having my vehicles look like new. With this problem, I think it looks awful and make it look bad for me and the manufacturer. Since I have been reading online and seeing other vehicles like mine on the road with the same issue. I wish Ford would recall this issue.

- , Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #620

Apr 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

Add me to the cracked panel club

Came out of nowhere- just noticed it yesterday

- , Danvers, MA, USA

problem #619

Jan 152011

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


I'd like ford to recall since it is a model wide problem.

- , Morehead City, NC, USA

problem #618

Dec 042011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Too bad Ford made such a piece of @!%$# SUV . I loved my F150 - it was good to me for many years. As for the Explorer... Never Again!

- , Warwick, RI, USA

problem #617

Feb 292012

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,700 miles

I own a 2004 Explorer and a few months ago I noticed the crack in the back panel of it. I am not happy at all about this. I believe Ford should recall this & fix the issue. Driving around I know look at other Explorers and notice the same crack. FIX THIS FORD. I KNOW I WILL NEVER buy a Ford again !!!

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #616

Jan 102012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


As I can see how many people have filed this complaint about the back cracked panel by the Ford Emblem - I also have the cracked window hinge and waiting for the back window to fall off!

Two other people at my company have the same '04 Ford Exp and have the same issue - we all showed up at our local Ford dealer when we ALL purchased and got the same thing - we will replace - but we have to pay!

Been a Ford driver my whole life and will rethink my next purchase unless Ford steps up on this! Was proud of them for not taking the bail out..but now this - UNACCEPTABLE!

- , Bowdoin, ME, US

problem #615

Sep 012012

Explorer LXT V6, 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Ford needs to recall this problem. Back panels crack below the rear window. I have spoken with many people with this same problem!!!

- , Torrance, CA, US

problem #614

Oct 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

One day when I was putting groceries into the back I noticed this big crack below the back window. I first thought someone hit it with something then I noticed a line that was apparently there from the factory that had opened up. I began noticing other cars with the same problems. I started taking pictures of them but then hesitated thinking it might make others suspicious of me taking pictures of their cars and the tags associated with them to show this was not on one car but on a multiplicity of them. Now my friends have even started noticing other cars with this problem and tell me they have seen lots. This needs to be recalled by the factory. We have owned Ford Motor products all our lives and have 3 in our possession now. We have bragged on Ford to everyone and made the statement "we would never have anything but a Ford". That's not the case now. There is a multiplicity of major problems with this explorer who is owned by 2 older people and who has never been used by children which sometimes explains abuse to autos. The interior is falling apart in about 6 different and major ways and areas. I am furious!

- , Pass Christian, MS, USA

problem #613

Feb 172012

Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,934 miles

This panel is plastic, and subject to jarring every time the rear window or lift gate gets shut. It should have been metal.

- , Abbotsford, BC, canada

problem #612

Dec 242012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I paid 34K for this Explorer. This is not my problem to fix. My problem was to pay for the car, not pay for defects in the car. It looks like other years have had the same problem. My insurance company has turned me down for repairs, due to a defect in materials. Now I am expected to to pay for something that was not caused by me. This is truly unfair. I have bought Fords for years. I had 2 Ford trucks that had defects in the engine and have pay for 2 engine replacements for both of our 1997 pick ups, but if I have to pay for this defect, than I will no longer be a Ford customers. If I have to pay for this fix, this is the last Ford defect I will pay for, it is completely unfair.

- , Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #611

Dec 192012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I bought my with the crack-figured someone had done something to it beforehand. After reading up on it....apparently this is an ongoing issue. It's only a minor issue, but for so many of them to be doing it-it must be a design flaw. If I had bought it new-I would be mad as a hatter.

It's so, so, so wrong of car companies to know of an issue and not fix it. It happens over and over with cars. You get a car. Something goes wrong. You look for information on it. Find out millions of others have the same problem. Then you find out the manufacture isn't acknowledging the problem or doing anything to fix it.


- , Jonesville, KY, USA

problem #610

Mar 102009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles

Spoke to Ford Rep. they stated that if it cracked with less then 12,000 miles they would fix it. They basically said they know there is a problem but won't do anything untill ordered to.

- , Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #609

Mar 152012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

This is really irritating because the dealership told us that if we get it fixed, it will be expensive and will just crack again. This car has been with us for nearly ten years so we won't bother to fight the fight - on top of the peeling paint problem and all the other issues with this car over the years, we plan to vote with our feet when it's time to replace this Explorer.

One day, we just came out and found the car sitting in the driveway with the cracked panel. The car had not been out and we didn't understand it, until we started seeing matching Explorers on the road with the same peeling paint and cracked rear panel.

Come on, Ford! Own up to your mistakes.

- , Lincroft, NJ, USA

problem #608

Jan 102013

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,386 miles

Since this happened I have noticed several other explores with the same issue. I just became aware of the huge problem.

- , Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #607

Jul 012008

Explorer LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

2004 Ford Explorer rear hatch was cracked below rear widnow had dealer fix before buying the vehicle used with 14000 mi on it. It broke again sometime soon after buying vehicle. I see many Ford Explorers with same defect on the road. Have not seen any recalls regarding this vehicle. Have not had repaired.

- , Watauga, TX, USA

problem #606

Jun 072007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,400 miles

on my wayback from the mail box, I noticed what seemed like a string hanging from the the glass part of my lift gate ,acloser look confirmed a crack in the panel below the glass.When I took the truck back to yhe dealer, I was told my warranty would not cover the replacement. When I , called FoMoCo and Ford Credit ,I was told the same thing. After all that disappointment, I went to the dealership body shop to find out it would find out the cost of replacement. Thinking it would only replacing onr plasttc panel with another, imagine my surprise when I was told it would would cost about $600.00 and included in that was more than $100.00 for that dang Ford logo. But that was not the end. The first crack was on the left side of the oval, then about eight months later I return from getting the newspaper from the driveway and find there is another crack on the other side of the oval. There should be no doubt that all these incidents are a result of material / design flaws. Ford should fess up and do the right by offering some form of compensation and "loyalty" to their loyal customers. As I type this, there are three Fords in my driveway: two Explorers and one Edge.

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #605

Jun 202010

Explorer XLT Sport 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Extremely disappointed to see this occur after I've tried to take such good care of the exterior.

- , Columbus, MI, USA

problem #604

Mar 252010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

This problem is definitely a Ford problem!!!!! When I brought it to the attention of the Ford body shop they were aware of the problems with this panel. They said the Ford dealership has not received a recall notice, this was in 2010. An independent body shop said this was a result of the adhesive that Ford used which didn't allow the expansion of the body panel to the glass in heat and cold weather periods.

I have owned Ford's most of my adult life, WOW what support the customer gets? Still waiting to see if Ford will do a recall?

- , Asheville, NC, US

problem #603

Apr 182013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,748 miles

Purchased this explorer used on 4-19-13 and had noticed 1 crack left of the Ford emblem. This morning at a closer look there is one also about 8 inches from emblem to the right. Both cracks top to bottom of panel.

- , Whittier, CA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?