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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,766 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 #2

Dec 272005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,532 miles


: the contact stated while driving on the highway the vehicle started swaying as if it were in a lot of wind. Two days later the vehicle was taken to the dealership. Upon inspection, the mechanics discovered the rear tie rod ends were packed with mud causing the tie rods to corrode and rust. The tie rod ends were replaced. The dealership explained to the contact the vehicle was unsafe to drive. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #1

Oct 302005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact stated the tie rod housing that attaches to the wheel failed, causing the contact to lose control of the passenger's side wheel. This incident cause D an accident with no injuries. This occurred while traveling at 15 -20 mph. The wheel hit the telephone pole which caused major structural damage under the vehicle. The dealership stated they did not know what to do with the vehicle, and urged him to file a complaint with the insurance company.

- Hingham, MA, USA

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