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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,100 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

problem #2

Jun 032005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles


There have been several issues with my 2004 Ford Explorer. 1st) my transmission has been making a clunk or thud sound almost everytime. The dealership replaced the solenoid assembly. I still feel some of the same symptoms when reversing and slowing down. 2nd) my Explorer now fails to start. I drove to pick up some friends. I drove a maximum of 40 miles that day before I went to his house. After 30 min I came outside and tried to start my vehicle but it would not even turn over. There is enough power, the battery has a green light, and the fuse is good. I used to be a loyal Ford man but after these problems I am seriously thinking of trading this vehicle in for a different brown.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #1

Dec 022004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
Since new, I have intermittent hard start issues with the vehicle. On about 7 occasions, the dealer was notified and they simply told me since it started that there was nothing they could do since there wasn't a light on the dash did not come on. Therefore there would not be any codes. Finally at 10,345 miles, the car broke down. They replaced the throttle position sensor. The kept getting about 4 or 5 codes and they were unable to clear them. Replaced the ECM and reprogrammed. I still have the intermittent hard start issue which is intermittent. The ECM has been updated 3 times. I also have an issue with the tire pressure indicator light flashing for about 20 seconds after start up, they claim, unable to duplicate. I also had a exhaust gasket replaced as there was an annoying noise that would go on and on while the vehicle was left running while in park. Lastly - transmission issues. The vehicle has poor shift quality. It likes to hang up and hesitate in 3D gear, you will be running 55-60 and go to pass another vehicle and doesn't want to shift until it hits 80-85mph and by then you are at 6 on the tachometer.they have replaced the solenoid body and the hydraulic pump and the car still is not fixed. It also likes to hesitate when accelerating from a stop sign or stop light. It is currently in the shop as we speak. I purchased the vehicle new in November of 2003 and the current mileage is 12,850.

- Metamora, IL, USA

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