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:
79,000 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 #1

Jan 122010


  • 79,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. She stated that when closing the lift gate the hitch snapped and the glass almost fell out as a consequence. The dealer was contacted and they stated that there were recalls for the same problem for the 2002 and 2003 vehicles. NHTSA action number, RQ08003, structure body, hatchback/liftgate, support device visibility glass, side /rear structure body, hatchback/liftgate, hinge and attachments were related to the failure and was closed on October 24, 2008. The contact temporarily repaired the vehicle. The contact is afraid to drive the vehicle since the hinge could snap and potentially cause serious injuries and/or a crash. The failure and current mileages were 79000.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

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