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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,333 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 #3

Oct 012009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


Front bushings broken on 2004 Ford Explorer - both sides. Service rep says that the wheel could pop off and create a serious accident.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 222004


  • miles
I have had many, many problems with my 2004 Ford Explorer. Probably the most dangerous one is the recurring failure of the transmission. This last time that this occurred I was on interstate-85, in morning rush-hour traffic, and all of a sudden my RPM's are flying to the red danger area and I have no acceleration power and am losing speed. There is an 18-wheeler on my rear and I can't pick up speed! luckily, I was approaching an exit and managed to get the vehicle off of the interstate and onto a less traveled road. This is the second time that I have endured this scenario. Once again the solenoid is gone, with repairs estimated at $1255. I have had this problem repaired less than a year after purchase. I have had this problem repaired at 32,567 miles, and I now have this problem again at 76,725 miles. I have had the clutch pack replaced at 24,940 miles as well as the ring gear, pinion, and all bearings replaced at 24,940 miles. At 35,558 miles the lower ball joint had to be replaced. At 64,335 I had to have the pats transponder(security system) replaced. In short I have had the transmission repaired three times the front end rebuilt, the back end redone. I honestly can say I do not feel very safe in this vehicle, especially since I have to use this to Transport my children. These problems seem to be the norm for this particular vehicle, as I have done research on this. I don't understand why Ford is not made to resolve these issues. I have also had to have my heating and air replaced. This occurred in the winter of 2007 and was a safety issue, as I could not defrost my windows.

- Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #1

Oct 152003


  • miles
While driving at any speed vehicle vibrated heavily. Consumer had made contact with the dealer on three separate occasions. But, mechanic was unable to duplicate the problem, which still exists.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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