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:
No data
Average Mileage:
96,750 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replaced plastic trim twice (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 152009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


The biggest problem I have with this cracked, falling off rear panel is that it looks like hell. I took very good care of this vehicle; less than 45,000 miles in 5 yrs and this cracked missing panel looks like crap. It affects the over-all appearance of the vehicle. I would not buy another Explorer if I knew this would happen to it. And this is my 3rd one and I did not have this problem with the others.

- , Mandeville, LA, USA

problem #3

Oct 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

this body defect is very noticeable. I have noticed 75% of this body style on the road with the same problem. I had it replaced under warranty but it happened again. YES ford should be held accountable!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , albertville, 73, USA

problem #2

Nov 272009

Explorer Eddy Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

This is probably the most annoying complaint I have ever had with Ford. There are thousands of Ford Explorers driving around with a broken plastic panel on the rear hatch.

I have had two fixed. Ford states that it is "company policy" not to cover costs of out of warranty auto's. Poor engineering created the problem and Ford should be accountable for problems that they created.

- , Jensen Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 012008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

This plastic (whatever it's made of) panel is 1/2 way hanging off & will probably fall off any day! THEN I'll have to pay for someone elses car to have fixed. I'm a single mom & don't have $300-$400 it takes to fix this. A friend of mine had his wife's fixed & that's how much it cost. I'm PRAYING for a recall & SOON!

- , Greenville, SC, USA

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