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:
29,000 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Sep 292004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles


2004 Explorer - eddie bauer purchased new on 12/03. At 29,000 miles - noticed that when turning sharp radius in parking lots - felt like the transmission would go in and out of gear. Simultaneously noticed hesitation upon auto shifting, and hesitation upon putting in reverse. Took to dealer replaced solenoid. 2nd trip to dealer - similar complaint - they replaced rear axle. 3rd trip - similar complaint, but now upon heavy acceleration - vehicle pulls hard left. Service manager at Ford says they called factory, but nobody knows why. This is now not only a lemon, but because it's steering has become affected - I believe it is a safety concern. 3 major failures in 10 mos ownership, and some problems remain unresolved. This is not a safe or reliable vehicle.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

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