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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,150 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

Jun 042004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles


- the contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving at 60 mph the contact felt the brake pedal shutter when the brake was depressed. Also, the contact felt the steering wheel vibrate. The dealer stated that the problem was due to the rotors. The dealer resurfaced the rotors at 12,000 miles. Approximately eleven months later the contact experienced the same problem. The dealer stated the rotors needed to be replaced. The dealer replaced the rotors at 24,000 miles. Two months later, the dealer replaced the rotors again, and the rotor assembly at 26,000 miles. Four months later the contact had the same problem. The dealer resurfaced the front and rear rotors at 30,000 miles. There have been no further occurrences. The vehicle currently has 36000 miles.

- Tulare, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 112005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
After only 300 miles on the odometer---discovered the 2 front rotors were warped and the car shook when braking. We asked that they be replaced. Ford area rep would not allow it...the dealer, instead, "turned" the rotors by taking off 50% of surface. Ford said this still met their spec for warranty repair. We believe it is unfair!!

- Austin, TX, USA

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