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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,650 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Feb 232008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,300 miles


I own a 2004 Ford Explorer, purchased in August. The truck sat for 16 months while I was deployed to iraq. While driving on a 3 hour trip, I heard a metallic "clatter" noise from my vehicle. I took it to the dealer and was informed that the "#2 wrist pin" had failed., requiring replacement of the engine. Total cost would be $5500. This seemed excessive for such a young vehicle, considering that is was driven infrequently for over a year, and most of the mileage was highway. Mileage at failure: 55,300.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #1

Mar 192007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
We have a 2004 Ford Explorer eddie bauer, originally purchased in May 20'06 with approximately 30,000 miles. At approximately 36,000 miles in August 2006 we were told that the harmonic balancer needed to be replaced. That was about $500. My husband drove it to work on 3-19-07 and everything was fine. He took it to lunch, everything was still fine, and when he came out, he tried to start the vehiclem and it would not start. There were no check engine lights, no noises, nothing out-of-the-ordinary at all. We had it towed to a Ford dealership, who ran some tests, and initially could not figure it out. They ran more tests, and came to the conclusion that the cams are not working. They told us that the engine needs to be replaced. $5,600 to replace the engine with 46,000 miles. Ford is not offering us any help. They refuse to stand behind their product. They said if we had the extended warranty it would be covered. But the point is that it has 46,000 miles. I need someone to help me before I explode!

- Assonet, MA, USA

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