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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
96,042 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replace serpentine belt and tensioner (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 152011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,178 miles


Whines nonstop from when turning the car on all throughout driving.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #2

Jan 302011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,947 miles

I have had this whooping noise in my explorer for a couple of years, it's really annoying. The first time this happened I looked around for the police (sounds just like there sirens). The noise comes and goes, there's no particular pattern. The whooping noise some times seams to be lasting longer and getting louder.

If any one has had this problems fixed I would really appreciate the info.

My husband said it sounds like it may be a leak in a vacuum line.

- , Wellford, SC, USA

problem #1

Sep 032010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I own a 2004 Ford Explorer and today the problem is... Louding squealing noise coming from under the hood. Took to my borther a certified automechanice and her replaced the serpentine belt and the tensioner ($67 for both parts) and I drove home just fine. The very next morning headed out and the steering got stiff, the battery light quickly flashed and then I noticed smoke coming from the hood. When I got out to inspect there was coolant dripping onto the ground. Fortunately I was just 3 blocks from my home and able to safely drive back home. My husband briefly inspected and noticed rubber shavings from apparently the belt rubbing against something. He then noticed the belt was coming off the bottom pulley which he believes is the crankshaft.

I am in the process of waiting now for my brother to return Tuesday to resinspect and diagnose this problem. Until then my truck sits... I have also wrote Ford about my exstensive problems since just one year after I purchased the vehicle. I urge all others to take just a moment to write Ford and make a complaint. It can't make matters worse to write and it may even encourage them to take action.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

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