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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,257 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 #3

Mar 302006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


:the contact stated that the battery on the vehicle ran out due to the driver leaving the lights on overnight. However, when the vehicle was given a jump-start, all the dashboard lights came on, but the motor did not start. The battery was replaced with a semi-used battery, and the vehicle still did not start. No mechanic was consulted.

- Red Oak, TX, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Jan 092004


  • miles
Problems with the starter and wheels not returning to center position after making a turn. (nar) there was a possibility that the wrong type of sway bar had been installed on the vehicle at the factory. The power steering unit was the problem. The problem still existed. The steering wheel did not return to the center after turning, especially when turned to the right. The consumer would have to physically bring the vehicle back to the center, or it would continue running of the road.

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

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