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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,238 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 #1

Jul 082004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,238 miles


While driving at approximately 20 mph other vehicles were pointing at consumer's vehicle, indicating that the vehicle was on fire. Smoke was coming from the hood, the base of the chassis, the vents, and from the tire hub. The hub caps melted. The fire also disinterested the brakes. Vehicle had to be stopped by the use of the emergency brake. Consumer took the vehicle to a Ford dealership, who advised the consumer to take it to the dealership where it was purchased. This dealership provided no assistance. Consumer refused to drive the vehicle to the other dealership because of the condition of the vehicle, which was currently under warranty. Dealer stated that the cause of the fire was undetermined.

- Katy, TX, USA

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