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:
131,236 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Jul 142016


  • 172,472 miles


When driving my 2004 Ford Explorer started making a grinding and humming noise on the left front of driver side tire area. ABS and 4X4 high lights came on instrument panel. Truck felt like it was going into 4X4 mode on its own and braking felt like ABS system failed. Took it to a Ford dealership and I was told that both front wheel bearings needed to be replaced at a cost of $1053. Since this truck uses sensors and traction control the sensor on the left driver side had gone out causing this feature no longer to work. It is a good thing this did not result in an accident since the vehicle was going into 4X4 mode on it's own and the brakes ABS no longer functioned. Just a quick search online will result in many found issues regarding this that Ford has not done a recall on yet. What is it going to take to get Ford to stand behind the safety of trucks they sell?

- Delta, CO, USA

problem #1

Sep 022013


  • 90,000 miles
My SUV shuts off, at full speed!!! I've been in contact with Ford's corporate office, dealerships and other mechanics..... it is an issue that tens of thousands of Ford Explorer owners have had. There are thousands of complaints online! it is so common that mechanics know what you're talking about, before you finish a description of the problem. It's alsoi common for individuals to replace motors and continue to have their vehicles shut off on them, at full speed!!!. I am afraid for my child's safety, as well as my own.

- Waynesboro, GA, USA

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