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:
27,800 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

May 022006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


I have two issues with a 2004 Ford Explorer. First issue the system that notifies tire pressure has failed multiple times. The indicator lights go on or off when the tires are properly inflated or not properly inflated. Vehicle is still under original warranty. Dealership will not fix or check the sensors associated with this area they can not recreate the issue. I have documentation from passengers and another tire company of the issue happening. Second issue. 2004 Ford Explorer stalled while turning braking and steering locked up. Identical reaction as to the problem stated in the failure of the camshaft position sensor in other vehicles from Ford that is being investigated.

- Chewelah, WA, USA

problem #1

Jan 112005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,600 miles
I purchashed my 2004 Ford Explorer on January 11, 2005. After the first week I had to take it back to the service department of the dealership, on Saturday, January 22, 2005. I informed them that the transmission is lagging when automatically shifting and that sometimes there is a loud clunk during the automatic shifting and especially when putting the car in reverse. Also the tire pressure warning light has been coming on; so they checked that and said that they replaced the sensors. That light is still staying on. As for the transmission, I was informed that there is a manufacturer defect and that they were going to order the parts to fix it. As of January 31, 2005, the parts still have not come in. In the meantime I am having to continue to drive this vehicle and the problem seems to be getting worse. I do quite a bit of driving on the highway to get back and forth to work and I am very concerned about the transmission as well as the tire pressure.

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

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