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:
12 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
20 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,814 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Jan 312007

(reported on)


  • miles


The consumer was involved in a single vehicle rollover accident in his 2004 Ford Explorer limited in which the seat belts failed to properly restrain him. The air bags also did not deploy. The seat belts had been recalled and fixed prior to the accident. The consumer was not seriously injured and only sustained minor scrapes.

- 9999, DC, USA

problem #2

Mar 252005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,722 miles
Consumer was hit head on by another driver that was heading South and went left of center, hitting consumer who was headed North. This caused consumer's vehicle to become airborne, flipping, rolling and landing on passenger side.

- Hillsboro, OH, USA

problem #1

Mar 072005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 Explorer 4dr; driver's airbag poor fit, coming off steering wheel.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

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