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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,536 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 (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Feb 182010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 71,500 miles


Left side front and rear wheel bearing needing replacement. The rear wheel bearing was so bad it was actually wobbling.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #9

Nov 232009


  • 100,000 miles
First the ABS light came on. Then a loud noise came from the front. After the auto shop called and informed me that it was all wheel bearing and backing plates went bad and$1500 dollars later I looked into problems on line with Ford Explorer I seen over 42 complaints with the same thing. That is a lot of money seeing as how im still paying of the loan!

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 012009


  • 53,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford Explorer. I have had to replace both front bearings and now the rear bearings are bad and I was told that they need to be replaced. Apparently it is a safety issue and Ford is doing nothing about this. Do you have any suggestions as to what can be done before an accident occurs with my vehicle. I cannot afford the repair. What steps can be taken to have Ford recall the Explorer with this problem. It seems that there are many out there with the same issue.

- North Granby, CT, USA

problem #7

Oct 102009


  • 52,000 miles


I took my car for a new set of tires at America's tire (discount tire). After changing the tire, one the technical noticed I have a "loose hub assembly" on my left rear wheel and he suggested that I should get that fixed immediately because it's a safety issue. There is a possibility the wheel may come off at freeway speed. I took my cars in to my mechanic the next day, and he jacked up my car. The mechanic put one of his hand at 12 and the other at 6 O'clock on the tire, and rocks it. The tire was wobbling back and forth when he did that, which suggested a bad wheel bearing, or possible bad hub assembly. At the end, it was determined that I had a bad wheel bearing, which was replaced for $400. Usually a hub assembly/wheel bearing should still be in good condition at 52,000 miles. I guess because it's a Ford. I have many problem with this vehicle, the rear right window sometimes doesn't work, the fuel tank system malfunction (changed it under warranty), the "service engine soon" light comes on every 5,000 miles. I'm not buying another Ford. I thought american cars' quality is now comparable to the Japanese, unfortunately they're still lagging.

- Saratoga, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 202009


  • 50,457 miles
Loud wheel noise. Increased / decreased with speed. Front and rear bearings had to be replaced at 50,000 miles. Ford has a tsb for the replacement. Lemon state lawyer stated they have had hundreds of calls for same problem, at same mileage.

- Congers, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 082009


  • 60,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer factory installed chrome wheels have severe peeling, cracking and flaking around lug nuts including inside, outside and top of rims on wheels. Possible consequences cracking, peeling and flaking of wheel materials could result in failure of wheel and /or tire seal failure while driving. Ford service tech stated the all wheels must be replaced for safety reasons.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #4

Dec 222008


  • 61,000 miles


I drive my car like a normal man would. I don't take it off road and don't abuse it in any way. I have already had wheel bearings replaced before now they are going out again. Ford Explorer seem to have this problem often and I am afraid taking this car on the road that the wheels are just going to come right off with me driving on the freeway because the bearings and hubs on these vehicles are improperly assembled and it is only a matter of time before mine go out again with me in it driving at a high rate of speed and being killed. I am not the only one with this problem!! Ford needs to do something quickly before someone is injured or killed.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #3

Oct 312008


  • 82,826 miles
I was driving to work when my 2004 Ford Explorer lost the rear passenger rim and tire. The car rattled and then there was a loud thud and sparks coming from that area. This has only occurred once but it stripped and broke some of the studs were the wheel attaches. I had the car towed where I had the tires replaced, brakes checked and fixed, alignment, and broken studs fixed and replaced.

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #2

Aug 092008


  • 42,000 miles
Rear right tire came off SUV as I was traveling with 3 children and wife in SUV at 60 mph in a 55 mph zone, as per the tow and mechanic person they stated we could have been killed due to SUV going from one side of the road to the other on coming traffic side, my son is having nightmares about this.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #1

Jan 032006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 Ford Explorer limited-owned SUV for 38K been in shop repeatedly-from minor to major things. SUV is a $ 34,000 turd. Currently needing to go back to shop for multiple repairs. The day our warranty expires car is gone.

- Indianola, IA, USA

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