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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,500 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

Nov 082007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles


My 2004 Ford Explorer has several issues since 38,000 miles, the recent complaint at 57,000 miles is the ABS module and the cruise control. The ABS light came on and at the same time the cruise control stop working. Took it to the dealership I purchased it at. They tried to reset the computer. Advised me I would need a new acs module for the ABS. I contacted Ford Motor Company to try and get the module replaced under warranty. The best Ford would do is to split the cost of the module with me, but I would have to pay for labor to install. When asked how much the module cost. Was told $1160. This would not guarantee that I would not have this problem again. The dealership told me they would try to find a used module. I called back after several days and was informed they could not find one. The next day I got on the phone and within 20 mins had found a module at a local salvage yard. Asked the dealership if they would purchase the used module with the money Ford was going to provide with the new module to fix it. They said no. Ford Motor Company is aware that many of the 2004 Explorer have ABS and powertrain issues, yet they fail to acknowledge. Now I can tell a difference in my braking. Sometimes now when I have to use the brakes, I can feel something is not right. I am worried that when I will need the ABS to work I will not have the ability to stop. I am disappointed that the cruise control has stopped working as well with this amount of mileage. The dealership has been unable to tell me if the cruise control is related to the ABS module. They never check the cruise control problem and was not aware of it till I had called them back on the used ABS module. Ford needs to step up and take care of these major issues with these Explorer....poor parts installed at time of manufacturing. Ford should be liable.

- Fall Branch, TN, USA

problem #1

Jul 242007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Multiple problems with my Explorer. When shifting into reverse car jolts with a clunking noise. ABS light is on and 4X4 high light flashes. Service engine light on but no hose leaks can be found. Wrench light comes on even after tps replacement suggested by obd-II. Very unhappy with this vehicle. I have owned 7 Ford, this is the worst I have owned.

- Yukon, OK, USA

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