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:
Average Mileage:
98,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace the brake stop lamp switch (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Nov 012014

Explorer XLT 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


Real pain in the ass, had to jump start the truck twice in the last 5 days!! What will fix this problem???

- , Howell, NJ, USA

problem #1

Feb 032010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

The brake lights stay on and drain the battery until the battery dies. I found out the hard way when this happened on a very cold morning. I was able to get a jump start and be on my way.

The problem occurred again a few days later and that's when I brought it into the dealership in Middleton, WI. The dealership told me that it was the 'brake stop lamp switch' - part $95 and labor $50. I looked this problem up on the internet and there seems to be a cheaper fix: if you pull the part yourself and clean up the connector ends and simply put the part back in.

- , Madison, WI, USA

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