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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,104 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

May 312011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 56,185 miles


2004 Ford Explorer XLT side air bag deploy without any reason.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #4

Feb 082007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
- the contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer with an odometer reading of 38000 miles. The contact stated that while driving, both side airbags deployed for no reason. The contact had the vehicle towed to the dealer, and when the dealer diagnosed the vehicle the computer indicated that the vehicle was in a crash. The contact and the dealer knew that the was no crash and when this information was given to the manufacturer, they stated that the diagnoses machine was the information that they considered and that it was no longer their problem.

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #3

Feb 082007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
Side air bags deployed while just driving down the road. That's what happened to me and Ford is not willing to help at all. They say it's not their problem. They will not pay for anything. (repair or rental).

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #2

Aug 212005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
Side curtain air bags popped out after the passenger side door was shut.

- Odessa, FL, USA

problem #1

Jul 022005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,333 miles
My wife was involved in a fairly severe side-impact collison that knocked our 2004 Ford Explorer, equipped with optional side-impact curtain airbags, 4 feet sideways, destroyed the driver's door (direct impact to the driver's door) collapsed it into the driver's seat, and resulted in $6,000 of insurance-estimated damage. The side curtain airbags failed to deploy. The local Ford dealer that has the vehicle for repairs indicated that they have no idea why the side curtain airbags failed to deploy, and that the on-board check system does not indicate any faults. My wife did knock her head on the driver's side window during the collision, but does not appear to have sustained any lasting injuries. I'm very concerned that this safety system we paid extra for does not operate as intended, and does not appear to afford the protection promised by Ford. I have digital pictures of the damaged vehicle and the accident if your department would like to inspect them...just need to know where to upload them to.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

Not what you are looking for?