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:
72,333 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 #3

Sep 072015


  • miles


Transmission went out at approx 93,000 miles, heat went out around 85,000 miles, seat belts have been replaced once under warranty and again don't work, electric seat doesn't work, misc. Other things

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #2

Apr 152015


  • 119,000 miles
My rear hatch in the back of my Explorer has a crack in it. Which I think has caused the back window to shift which in turn has caused my door ajar light to flash while the door chimes go off and the interior flicker while you are driving down the road but there are no doors open. The lights flickering make it hard to drive in the night. I think Ford should fix this problem for everyone.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #1

Dec 142010


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was experiencing an intermittent failure in which the headlights, radio and windows stopped functioning while driving at any speed. The failures persisted for a duration of approximately 1-5 minutes. During the failures, the power door locks and instrument panel lighting also did not function. The vehicle was not taken to have the failures diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000 and the current mileage was 98,000.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

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