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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,900 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 #5

Jun 152009

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 75,200 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving at various speeds, the accelerator pedal would stick and cause the vehicle to lurch forward and sometimes stall. A technician stated that the throttle sensor assembly was the cause of the failure. He further stated that there were only four parts in the United States that were available for the repair. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 75,000 and current mileage was 75,200. Updated 0/01/09 the consumer stated the vehicle has since been repaired, however it took a total of 7 weeks, due to issues with parts. Also the vehicle would stall at times. Updated 09/09/09

- Lanett, AL, USA

problem #4

Apr 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,500 miles
: the contact stated intermittently the vehicle stalls while releasing the accelerator pedal at 20-4 0mph. No warning lights have illuminated. After stalling the vehicle will restart, surge and stall again. The vehicle has been taken to the dealership four times. The last visit to the dealership the element, filter, complete module engine, the key was reprogrammed and the cool return was replaced. The next time the vehicle was driven after the repairs were performed the vehicle stalled while crossing a rail road track. The vehicle has stalled a total of five times. It was towed to the dealership four of the five times. The manufacturer has been alerted. The fuel pump was replaced. Updated 05/02/06.

- Saint Augustine, FL, USA

problem #3

Jun 172005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
The consumer stated that the vehicle suddenly accelerated while coming to a stop. The consumer was pulling into the garage with her foot on the brake. The tires started squealing and spinning. The vehicle then had gone out of control and lunged forward. The vehicle proceeded to go through a set of cabinets and pinned the consumers husband between a wall and the vehicle. The vehicle suffered major damage and was not drivable. The consumers husband sustained major injuries and spent a week in the trauma unit. The accident had been investigated by the police department. Pictures and other documentation are available. There was other property damage. (12/08/05)

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 192005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,800 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. She brought the vehicle to the dealership six times since 8-23-05. The car stalled at 40 mph or less. The dealership replaced the computer chip and an air filter piece. It still stalled. The dealership could not duplicate the problem. The first incident occurred on 8-19-05. There were no lights that come on prior to stalling. The rpms dropped dramatically before this happened. This did happen only when she took foot off of the accelerator. She did not qualify for the lemon law because of the mileage on the car, 25,500 miles. The miles the first time this happened the mileage was 23,800. She spoke to the manufacturer, and said they were not sympathetic.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #1

May 182004


  • miles
I was parking in an underground garage at jefferson/woodward in detroit. I was traveling about 5-7 mph looking for a parking spot. I found and spot and began to turn into it. When I turned my wheel, my truck immediately accelerated and wouldn't stop even though I put my foot on the break. I jumped a curb and hit a brick wall. My vehicle is currently being repaired at ed schmid Ford in ferndale. My major concern is that my insurance premium may increase because this accident is viewed at and at fault accident. Ford is going to send someone out to check out my 2004 Ford Explorer to see if there was a problem with the accelerator.

- Detroit , MI, USA

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