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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,084 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

problem #3

Jun 122008


  • 70,000 miles


Vehicle involved in a collision with major front end damage and drivers side air bag did not deploy-the impact however did cause the passenger side air bag to deploy.

- Maybee, MI, USA

problem #2

Jan 072005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,253 miles
While driving 37 mph vehicle slipped on a patch of ice, went over an embankment, and dropped fifty feet. Upon impact, dual airbags did not deploy. Passenger's seat belt broke, and passenger suffered from a concussion, and had to get twenty stitches. Driver sustained a broken back.

- Port Townsend, WA, USA

problem #1

Aug 032004


  • miles
During a 45 mph frontal collision front air bags did not deploy. Consumer sustained minor injuries, and had the vehicle towed. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Brookhaven, NY, USA

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