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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
88,500 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. vehicle traded (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Aug 012005

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles


Again, Ford said that there was nothing wrong. It stayed until I got rid of the car.

- , Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #2

Apr 022014

Explorer XLT V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,500 miles


I bought the 2004 Ford Explorer for many reasons. It's inexpensive, stylish, ideal size, good engine, and an ideal car to use for about anything. We have kept great care of the vehicle providing it with regular maintenance and even full service car wash treatments from time to time. We have happily drove trouble free since the day we brought it home.

It was not until recently that this beloved vehicle betrayed us. My wife was driving it to work one morning when the accelerator stuck sending the vehicle at full speed down the highway. The brakes would not slow the vehicle down and the shifter jammed when she tried shifting into neutral. Thankfully, she was able to get the shifter in N and the car stopped accelerating. The engine revved until the vehicle was turned off.

We had the vehicle towed and met with the dealer to discuss a possible trade. They replaced the entire throttle unit and put it on the market, and we rode home in a new vehicle.

Not only is this a danger to owners, but also everyone on the road.

- , Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #1

Aug 292013

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

click to see larger images

accelerator stuck

I was driving my 2004 Ford Explorer, Black, to Concord NC. I was on a busy road leading into the City. All of the sudden my accelerator hung up wide open pushing me to speeds of over 95 mph. While this was happenign my transmission was under fire, liteerally. Black smoke and fluid was coming out filling the roadway. The smell filled the cabin and made it really hard to breath. All of the eletrical componets where going haywire and my windows would not roll down. About 3 miles later the transmission finally went out and the vechicle came to a crashing stop at I 85 North, where there is a bunch of construction. I ran over several cones and finally hit a concrete wall. I had called 911 while this was happening and they contacting a near by wrecker for me. They also gave me really good advice on the phone to get it stopped, but the vehicle had total control. All I could do was ride. If anyone you know has a Ford Explorer, get rid of it asap. Your life is more valuable than a pretty car.

- , Catawba, NC, USA

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