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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
152,322 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 #4

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 #3

Feb 272014


  • 609,289 miles
Rear lift gate plastic cracked through Ford logo with no contact. Third row seatbelt stuck and hard to release.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #2

Jan 122013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph around a curve and over a pothole, the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle then began jerking and the vehicle flipped over five times while the driver was attempting to complete the turn. The contact was a rear passenger in the vehicle. The contact stated that the rear seat belts failed to secure the passenger's properly. As a result, the contact's head was thrown through the window and stuck the ground each time the vehicle rolled over on the roof. The contact and one other passenger were injured. The vehicle was destroyed. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were unknown.

- Richlands, NC, USA

problem #1

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

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