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:
55,700 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Feb 252015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles


I've have my vehicle for 10 years. Paid the dealership $450 to have a warranty for the power train and when I went to the dealership for them to fix it they wouldn't. I find out that my major issues are the mechanical differential. Still having the this issue to this day and can never have my transmission cleaned or flushed because of that. Also, my fuel system gets clogged a lot and gas mileage is horrible. Also, my antifreeze leaks after I paid money to have the cracked seal fixed. This is just scratching the surface. I have many things wrong with my vehicle I feel should be covered by the manufacturer but I would like to know what defects are out there for my vehicle.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #3

Dec 132014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Fuel spill because defective filling hose.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #2

Apr 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
On April 6th of this year I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer. The next day I took the car for city passed. The very next day (Sunday) the check engine light came on. The ABS light would also illuminate. I took the car to autozone to have it diagnosed (egr valve). Only the check engine light could be diagnosed because the ABS light came on at random while I was driving. The car was still under the 1000 mile warranty so the egr valve was replaced and a speed sensor believed to be the problem with the ABS light. I purchased an independent extended warranty so I would be covered for any surprise expenses. I had my chance to use it in just a few months later when the car ran hot. The repair was not covered. This happened in July, just a few months after buying the car. Earlier this month (November 2012) the service engine light came on again but it didn't stay on so I couldn't get it diagnosed. No need to have it diagnosed because the battery light came on too. I took it to autozone once again and the battery tested bad. It wouldn't start at the store. I bought the battery, it was installed and checked again. The alternator showed it wasn't charging. I had to have the alternator replaced. With the cold weather, I discovered the defrost vents don't work. Air only blows from front vents. On the morning of November 19th, I was taking my son to school and the overdrive light started flashing. It happened again while on my way home from work on November 21st. So now I suppose I have transmission problems. Ford needs to answer for their horrible engineering.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #1

Aug 302012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 43,800 miles
Filled up the tank and it registered no fuel, bad fuel sensor.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

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