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:
60,573 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace the transmission (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 152008

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


Transmission lunges, jerks when shifting gears, especially under load or going uphill / downhill. I live in Colorado and it's not too bad in town, but it's very noticeable and annoying whenever I go skiing, camping, in the mountains.

- , Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 152010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

When gearshift is in R and I start drive that made shock, and when I drive car to forward and increasing speed, the car speed increasing unsmooth as car increase speed suddenly.

- , Salt Lake, UT, USA

problem #3

Oct 142009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

My vehicle vibrates every time I accelerate from a dead stop, but that's the only time this occurs. Has anyone else had this exact problem happen to them? I would appreciate any help I could get.


- , Powhatan, VA, USA

problem #2

Nov 142009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,864 miles

I bought a 04 Explorer in 06, only had like 15000 miles, bought it from a Chevy dealer, Roberts Auto Center in Pryor, OK to be exact. Had the manufacturers warrenty on it & about 2 or 3 months after I got it started cutting out, losing power and died! It left me stuck on a busy hwy, during a really busy time! Had it towed the the dealer, somthing about a sensor was wrong, not under warrenty, so cost like $400 to fix.That was just the start of the problems.

It has been in the shop now, like 6 times, always about the same problem or very similar. They have replaced almost everything, but the transmission now. Right after the first shop trip, it started shifting into reverse with a pause and then a jerk. Had it looked out & supposedly fixed. It stay fixed long. Radio has issues, panel right below the rear window cracked in two places, motor mounts not any good & yet again was stuck on the side of the turnpike last nite.

I bought it at the Chevy place, have taken it back there all but one of the times. Manufactures warrenty gone, Extended warrenty gone & have spent over $25000 to try and keep it running. After the first trip in for repair the Chevy machanics started to get really rude, telling me I could take it any where, even though everything to do with warrenty was thru them, so took it to Ford. Same thing. Not completely fixed or not fixed right.

Yes I know that Chevy shouldn't be the ones to fix it, but my family has always bought there, thats where I got the F**g Ford, but their rude dumb asses, & right now have no idea where to go or what to do. I have over 119000 miles on it but it took a lot to get it there! I also still owe on it & it's not worth a flipping penny. I guess I will have a very expensive lawn ornament, I'm still paying on.

- , Salina, OK, USA

problem #1

Jun 022008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I bought my 04' Explorer in 06' with 14,000 miles on it. Before I hit 30,000 miles I had started having problems with it shifting hard into reverse. I took it to the dealership and they replaced the solenoids in the transmission and this corrected the problem. Since then I have had to replace the fuel sensor, the radio won't eject my cd's, the emergency brake light won't go off and the transmission is going out AGAIN! It has a little over 60,000 miles on it now. I have to play with the gearshift to get it into park and when the engine heats up and you push on the transmission vibrates under your feet. I have not taken it to get it fixed yet because I can't afford to put a new transmission in it. I owe much more than it is worth and am afraid it is not going to last me until I can get rid of it.

- , Pataskala, OH, USA

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