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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,000 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 152004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles


The car will not start in the mornings, and sometimes when it sits for a while it will not start. Consumer had the vehicle into dealership for this problem. Dealership could not find out why it will not start. Dealership kept the vehicle for a week, and vehicle started correctly after that. After a couple of months this problem came back. Owner has not taken the vehicle back for repairs yet. The rear brake light cover is lose and coming off. The consumer bought the vehicle in January of 2004. The consumer has not contacted Ford at this time. Ford was contacted with the first time when the vehicle was in the shop. The consumer has not filed a complaint with Ford, but wa going today.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

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