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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,406 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

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

Apr 152011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 28,819 miles


2004 Ford Explorer XLT, mileage at time of failure 28,819 left front bearing hub failed prematurely vehicle started to pull to the left. No injuries, repair cost $270,00. Vehicle off warranty due to age. All vehicles should be warrantied for 36,000 miles or more with no years. Wheel bearings should last at least 75,000 miles.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 062007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,900 miles
I purchased my 2004 Explorer and at about 36,000 miles I had to bring the vehicle in to have the wheel bearings replaced. Now at 65,000 miles once again the wheel bearings are going bad. I have never owned nor have I ever heard of a vehicle where the wheel bearings only lasting about 30,000 to 40,000 miles. The first time the dealer replaced the bearings however this time the vehicle is not under warranty. To buy a new vehicle and have to replace the wheel bearings every 30,000 to 40,000 miles is not acceptable.

- Van Buren, AR, USA

problem #1

Mar 302007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,500 miles
Both front wheel bearings failed the week before last on the 2004 Ford Explorer XLT I bought new from Ford Motor Company about 2 years and 45,500 miles age. I replaced both after a diagnoses of failure by a Ford dealership by going to a private, non-Ford repair shop at a cost of just over $ $781. The labor here was $ $142 - the balance was local taxes and the replacement bearings which were only available from and purchased from Ford Motor Company. The dealer also diagnosed a defective ring and pinion gear which is not the case - yet. Didn't even get to the driver's front seat back which has collapsed without accident on the door side.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

Not what you are looking for?