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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,667 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Apr 042013


  • 183,000 miles


I was closing the upper door on the back of my SUV when the right hinge broke and the door almost dropped to the ground. I managed to wrestle it back up but the hydraulic shock on the door broke and leaked fluid all over the car. I cannot get it back into the window opening properly it is open about an inch. I am afraid to drive the car in case the window falls out.

- Blacksburg, SC, USA

problem #2

May 102010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Letter to the deputy administrator from senator burr on behalf of constituent concerning a crack in the plastic surrounding the rear window of her 2004 Ford Explorer

- Windsor, NC, USA

problem #1

Dec 072007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was quality checked with a 115 point inspection; however, she was later notified that the vehicle was in a major crash. The driver side door is misaligned. The sunroof was replaced with tape. She doesn't know if the vehicle is equipped with air bags. The windows have condensation on the inside of the vehicle. The speedometer does not register the proper speed in the vehicle. The approximate speed can range from 20 to 50mph. The fuel pump and sensors were replaced. The vehicle was purchased March 20, 2007. The dealer stated that the vehicle is currently operating normally. The dealer has diagnosed the failure on several occasions. The failure mileage was 20,000 and the current mileage was 23,000.

- Burbank , IL, USA

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