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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,039 miles
Total Complaints:
11 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace all front hubs and bearings (4 reports)
  2. replace rear wheel bearings, hubs, knuckles, trailing arms (4 reports)
  3. replaced left rear wheel bearing assembly (2 reports)
  4. fixed all four hub assemblies (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #11

Jun 132009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,452 miles


Wow! I had forgotten about this one. Found it while looking for more service repair orders in my file. This repair of LEFT REAR WHEEL ASSEMBLY was done at the Ford Dealer in San Bernardino, under warranty. So this was the first of FOUR failures of the same wheel.

Fairview Ford 909.884.9261.

- , Twin Peaks, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 182013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Driving engine light came on and I stopped after that car wouldn't move, if it did, it make a grinding, sputtering, lurching motion. It felt like I was pulling a barge. I had it towed, it was wheel hub. 2 weeks latter same thing, it was another different hub, really ?? I have never ever had this issue with any other vehicle. I think Ford is living up to its name by selling crap.

- , Chester, VA, USA

problem #9

Jul 122013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

I bought a 04 Explorer over a year ago, since then I have replaced the front hubs 3 times. Now the driver side is going out again after 3 months. If this is such a common problem why can't Ford pay for this. I drive this truck everyday and this is getting really irritating.

- , Freeport, TX, USA

problem #8

Jan 092012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,455 miles


So I was driving and i heard a faint noise that sounded like grinding. I have heard this noise before and it was a brake pad that had fell apart, but this time I saw nothing wrong so I kept driving. So the next day the ABS light comes on and the grinding sound gets worse and only when i turn the steering wheel, when I am going straight i hear nothing. I saw some forums online and came to the conclusion it was the ABS sensor or the wheel bearing assembly. So I had it towed to the dealership and the tow guy could only to it with the front wheels on the ground so I said ok.. bad idea. When it got to the dealership the bearing had been totally demolished causing the wheel to move at all angles which tore up the brake pads the rotors the calipers and the whole wheel hub. So I could have bought the stuff to fix it myself for like 150 or so but ended up having to pay 1000 cause i decided to have it towed to get it fixed by the pros. :(

- , Fort, Worth, USA

problem #7

Oct 052011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I had to replace both front ball joints because I was having a lot of squeaking and when that didn't work I had to replace both front wheel bearings and everywhere I go I keep hearing that I am going to end up replacing those every 50000 miles because bearings are bad on ford.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #6

Apr 052011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

This is the 7th wheel hub assembly I've put in this piece of crap!! Also 2 rear differentials! For some reason the last one didn't even last 3 months! This thing is the biggest piece of crap, I'm glad my father isn't alive to see what has become of Ford, since he is gone I'll never buy another Ford again! Sorry Dad.

- , Nelson, NH, USA

problem #5

Jul 092011

Explorer XLS 4DR 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,000 miles


went out on a trip, bought hub a NAPA for 250.00 and had Portable Mechanic install it at 12 Midnight at the Marriott Courtyard till 3AM. Drove home at 4AM! these hubs suck! no way they should fail at these miles

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #4

Sep 062010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

At 68,000 miles, I replaced the front two wheel hub assemblies.

At 85,000 miles, I replaced the transmission.

At 96,000 miles, I replaced the rear two wheel hub assemblies.

The a/c keeps going out.

This vehicle is the worst vehicle I have ever purchased. I will never own another Ford again.

- , St. Rose, LA, USA

problem #3

Jul 072008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,526 miles

Have already experienced two rear differential failures @14,900 miles. A wheel bearing @45,526 miles?

- , Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #2

May 132003

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

All of these have bad rear bearings, and a defective ring and pinion set. I have repaired about a hundred of them just by myself.

- , Manassas, VA, US

problem #1

Oct 252008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

So I bought this car in January of 2008 for my birthday. Easily the worst present EVER!! Since the day I have gotten it I have had nothing but problems. New transmission at 43000 miles, new calibers and brake pads the third day I got it, new tires because of the grinding noise, rear differential on its way out and oh did I mention that NOW I have a new problem with the front wheel hub and bearings.....just had the left side replaced six months ago now again!!!! 700 bucks that I don't have and have to borrow just to fix this piece of %#$@, I will never buy a Ford product again......I cannot believe were bailing out this crap and I'm from Detroit. Its too bad I owe too much money on it because it would be gone real fast!!! DON"T BUY EXPLORERS@!!!

- , Detroit, MI, USA

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