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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
4,339 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

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 #3

Jan 092004


  • miles


Problems with the starter and wheels not returning to center position after making a turn. (nar) there was a possibility that the wrong type of sway bar had been installed on the vehicle at the factory. The power steering unit was the problem. The problem still existed. The steering wheel did not return to the center after turning, especially when turned to the right. The consumer would have to physically bring the vehicle back to the center, or it would continue running of the road.

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

problem #2

May 242004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
Power steering fails when driving at all/various speeds. Failure is felt during/attempted turning of the wheel in either direction while driving. Steering becomes very difficult and suddenly power steering kicks in and becomes unsafe as great pressure is being applied to steering wheel to overcome power steering failure. Dealership claims no known failures and cannot find problem with my steering system. As a systems safety engineer, I suspect defect in system and manufacture has yet to admit. Request assistance to force manufacture/dealership to investigate and determine problem.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #1

May 122004

(reported on)


  • 16 miles
At slow speed when turning the steering wheel shakes and vibrates. Consumer took the vehicle to the dealer. However, dealer is unable to correct the defect.

- Dallas, GA, USA

Not what you are looking for?