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:
74,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. dealer says pcm module (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Oct 062014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


The last time I drove the Ford Explorer was four months ago and it was in very good condition. Have been recovering from illness in another state so the SUV has not been driven in four months (in garage) We have purchased Fords and Lincolns for over 30 years and have not had major problems.

When I returned home this weekend the SUV would not start. Called AAA and the technician was not able to start the car. He indicated that there could be problems with gasoline. Although the SUV is old but it has been serviced properly. Shall I just have it towed to the dealer?

- , Shaker HTS, OH, USA

problem #1

Jan 092009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Module has 80,000 mile warranty. Dealer says has another Explorer with same problem. They have had my car since Friday trying to diagnose. Since they have to order the part, they expect to have it ready on Wednesday. We will see--communication with service dept. has been disappointing.

- , Edmond, OK, USA

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