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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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

Aug 122005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


There is a whine or "howl" coming from the rear axle of our 2004 Ford Explorer with less than 9000 miles on it. We brought it back to the Ford dealer in camdenton, mo where it was purchased and explained the problem that there is a loud whine coming from the rear axle at speeds between 50 and peaks at 62. They said that they were having problems with those and said something about that it would probably need a rear pinion seal. After having the vehicle for two days and having given us the impression that it was going to be fixed, they said that the problem isn't bad enough to warrant repair and that it needs to be broken in longer. I was told that twice, once on the phone and once in person when I got there to pick it up. I told the man that I didn't believe that and that the whine is getting worse, not better.

- Sunrise Beach, MO, USA

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