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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,513 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 #3

Nov 112010


  • 93,000 miles


Were a family a Ford Explorer my family has 4 of them ranging from the years 1996,99,2002,2004 and everyone of these vehicles have serious issues. Ranging from rotting suspension parts, to wheel bearing issues on newer models, rotting fuel and brake lines, this is supposed to be an american made company that is jeopardizing the lives of american and children with total disregard of human life, but I bet you the owners of Ford don't have these issues they probably drives foreign haha but seriously someone will get hurt by this and it costing thousands of dollars out of pocket to fix an ongoing problem with these trucks please do a recall its so unfair at this point.

- Hillburn, NY, USA

problem #2

Aug 232005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,340 miles
We lease a 2004 Ford Explorer [xxx]. the vehicle stalls. We have had duthler Ford in grand rapids Michigan try and repair the problem. They have had it in the shop off and on for well over 3-weeks. We thought it was repaired the last time because we have had no problems over the last 3,000 miles...until yesterday. They vehicle stalled 2-times and lost acceleration 3-times. All the drivers in my family (4) have experienced this problem, and foturnately no one has been injured (yet). Ford and the dealer say they don't know what to do. This is not acceptable. It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Updated 07/19/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Caledonia, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 202004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
On two separate occasions the vehicle ran out of fuel while driving at highway speed (55-60 mph). But the fuel gauge registered a full tank of fuel. The dealer was notified. The dealer informed the consumer that problem was not covered under a recall.

- Linden, NJ, USA

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