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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,833 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 #3

Dec 092014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 20 mph, a rattling sound emitted from the vehicle. After parking and inspecting the vehicle, the contact discovered that four lug nuts were detached from the rear passenger tire and two of the rim spokes were cracked. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Allison Park, PA, USA

problem #2

Aug 192005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,500 miles
I noticed an increasing noise coming from my front tires of my 2004 Ford Explorer 2wd eddie bauer on 8/18/05 - 8/19/05. I checked and discovered that 2 of the 5 right front wheel lugs nuts were broken off. When I further checked the tension of the 3 reamining lug nuts, I disoverd that 2 of them were also broken off but wedged in the rim. I had one lug nut holding the wheel on in place. Needless to say, this could have resulted in a terrible accident as I drive home from my employer aaa Michigan at speeds of 55 mph. I rotated these tires 1,000 miles ago, just as I have rotated tires on 20 cars over the course of 35 years. I had hand tightened the lug nuts. Someone needs to check the quality of these lug nuts for potential defects.

- Berkley, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 012005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The chrome on the wheels was chipping off and the consumer feels that he should not have to pay to get them fixed and that the cracking is a safety issue. The dealer says that the warranty expired and that they will not fix them for free. The manufacturer said that they will assist the consumer in paying for the problem but the consumer turned them down.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

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