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:
1,095 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 082004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,095 miles


Car has a hard time engaging into gear, when backing up it feels like I've hit another vehicle. The vehicle just jumps in revers.I have almost ran over someone because of a delay in engaging into reverse. In drive it does the same thing. I worry that I am going to hit a car that might be parked in front of me or even a person. Not only that I worry that if I did hit another car I wouldn't know that I did it. The car has had problems starting. It has left us almost stranded twice. The cars battery has died for no reason, even after driving a couple of hours prior to trying to restart it. The front and rear window motors have gone out, the rear windows were stuck open in a rain storm with my two children in the back seat. The vehicle has lost power driving down the interstate and a warning light came on in the dash, the vehicle had only 5,000 miles on the odometer. The keyless entry quite working, wich also kept our key chain lockers from working. The car would not turn over, it would just make a click, when it would turn over, it sounded like gears were grinding. The vehicle went in for to be serviced for the first time a month after we bought the vehicle, Dec. 5, 2003 and has gone in atleast once every two months since. The car has been in for servicing a total of 3 months out of the year that we have owned it. We have requested since it has been for the same problem 8 times and it has not been fixed that the dealership lemon the vehicle. But nothing has been done about it. The dealership doesn't know what the problem is and they have told us that they cannot fix it.we still have the same problem now. It can potentially hurt someone.

- Boise, ID, USA

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