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:
Average Mileage:
47,380 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace sway bar bushings and rods (1 reports)
  3. replaced front sway bar bushings (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer suspension problems

suspension problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Mar 152016

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


If you have creaking, or squeaking of your front end suspension when you go over a speed bump, or a dip in the road, or other, that would cause the front end to go up and down, replace the sway bar bushings(all of them)and rods.

I went online and found someone who suggested the fix. At first only the outside rods and bushings were replaced. that fixed 80% of the creaking. We returned to the mechanics, and had the center bushings that mount to the frame replaced, and that fixed the rest of the problem. Finally nooooo creaking. yippee!

It is apparently something that happens at least once. The mechanic suggested that stuff, especially on ford explorers, starts to creak and squeak and wear out because they 'replaced' some designs that required 'lube' with crap that doesn't..

Now, because things are either dry, or in a 'boot' with grease, it doesn't take all that long before something wears out and/or a boot tears. At the time, I also had one CV axle joint replaced(for half the cost of the dealer quote), and that too had a torn boot. The cv axle joints are yet another issue with early ford explorers. Since the early 2000s, most explorers have independent suspension, you don't have to replace both cv axle joints if one is ok. they are 'independent'.

If someone tries to up-sell you on struts, ignore them, and find a place that doesn't try to sell you something you don't need. struts are like shocks. if you front in is doing a lot of bouncing and doesn't feel stiff, then consider struts. My Explorer has 96k miles and still doesn't need them.

- , Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #4

Feb 122009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,900 miles

Everytime I go over a bump,etc the front end squeaks. Going to the dealer next week..

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #3

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

first the transmission problems, then the suspension. when you go over a bump or a pot hole or any thing the dam suspension squeaks like crayze!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Trooper, P. A. 1, USA

problem #2

Jun 292006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Front suspension squeaked, almost from the day it was new. Well they finally fixed it by replacing the front sway bar bushings.

- , Burnaby, BC, Canada

problem #1

Jul 062005

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 24,000 miles

we are set to go on vacation and they cannot pinpoint the problem. says it must get worse before they can find it. one mechanic can hear it, one can't. hopefully, they will figure it out soon. Sounds very similar to the screech of a smoke detector with batteries going dead.

- , Appomattox, VA, USA

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