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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
127,909 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Dec 202004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,770 miles


Vehicle has been in repair shop three times for not starting. The starter was replaced. Then, second time, a computer chip was replaced. Dealer has the vehicle after being towed, and the defect could not be found.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #2

Nov 232004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,300 miles
Complete failure of the gauge pod, radio, interior lights, power windows at 2,300 miles. No speedometer, odometer, tach, fuel gauge, temp, oil, battery, radio (nothing in the dashboard functions except the airbag light). Ford dealer in allentown pa was very rude and went out of their way to not work in a timely manner and keep us in the dark. Drove vehicle to Texas (with no gauges) to dealership where purchased. At the shop right now. Transmission also hesitates excessively between shifts.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #1

Nov 012004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
The consumer experienced a problem with the cruise control. The consumer would set the cruise control and then it will shut down by itself. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer who as of today, was unable to find a defect. The failure resulted in a life threatening situation when the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 mph on it's own while hitting the resume button in cruise control. The vehicle had been in to the dealer for the repair of the braking and tire pressure gauges, throttle control, transmission slippage, cruise control, traction control default, general computer defaults and the rear trim piece at the liftgate opening was distorted.

- Long Lake, MN, USA

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