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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 072004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48 miles


I brought my SUV Dec 2004. I had only 40 miles on it. I now have a little over 7,000. One month after purchasing my SUV it wouldn't start up. I took it in to be serviced but they were unable to find anything. A month later it would stall while driving and when I shift from drive to reverse the whole truck jumps into reverse. It also hesitate to go into reverse. I've been having this problem for the past 8 months. I continue to take it Ford to get service. First they didn't find anything wrong now thye're saying that it's a recall and "fixed" the problem. But I continue to have the problem.. I'm currently in the process of tryimg to get Ford to give me a new truck. But they only trying to offer 2,500 dollars. I don't want the money I want a new truck. I paid for a new truck not a truck that will contiue to have problems. My ABS light keeps coming on too. I'm going to take it back to Ford to have it looked at again. It's such a hassel to keep taking my truck back for the same problems and it's not being fixed. I don't think they know what is wrong with my truck. I have lemon.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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