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:
37,333 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 #3

Mar 142008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


2004 Ford Explorer with seals leaking. Consumer states that the front axle seal and pinion seal were replaced. The rear axle seal was leaking and also was replaced. Consumer would like to be reimbursed for the charges. The consumer stated on March 31, 2008 the rear axle seal on the passenger side was found to be leaking, after having the front axle seal and pinion seal replaced 2 weeks prior.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #2

Oct 312007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Rear axle noise/whining.

- Hartville, OH, USA

problem #1

Oct 242004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While turning the vehicle in either direction the front axle locks. Owner contacted the manufacturer, who sent an engineer to evaluate this problem. Currently, manufacturer does not have a solution for this problem.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

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