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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
78,700 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace ball joints and control arms (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer suspension problems

suspension problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 112010

Explorer Super Duty V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


This is another complaint I have, my 2004 explorer needed upper ball joints and control arms. Everything starts going at the same time, which is very early in the life of the vehicle. It is not even "broke-in" yet @ 53,000 miles and it is already falling apart. Again, What is wrong with Fords products? I want BETTER relyability from the company that I like. Get with it Ford!!! I would like some reimbursment for my vehicle, about this complaint and the complaint about the rear differintial.

- , St. Petersbugr, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 132007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,401 miles

There is a fairly loud clunk that comes from the passenger side front when I make a sharp left hand turn, it happened only two times, and there is a much smaller clunk or click when I go over a speed bump slowly ( 5-10 mph ). The truck does pull to the right just slightly, but when it is corrected it is just fine, IT DOES NOT jerk when corrected. I am wondering if I have a ball joint problem or a shock/strut problem. When I inspected underneath the front end I saw that the tie rod arm that connects to the top of the ball joint on the passenger side (the drivers side looks fine) was tilted back, slightly rotated, instead of being level on top of the ball joint it was tilted towards the rear. I have not jacked it up and tested for movement yet, but with the truck on flat ground there was no play from the tie rod arm. Can anyone tell me if the ball joint is bad or if I need to check the shocks and struts.

- , Norman, OK, USA

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