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:
102,962 miles
Total Complaints:
58 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replacement hinges (28 reports)
  2. not sure (14 reports)
  3. replaced with hinge kit 2l2z-78420a68-aa (7 reports)
  4. replace bracket (4 reports)
  5. repair but Ford says problem will recur (3 reports)
  6. adjust hinges (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Dec 212011

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


How can Ford install such awful hinges on an Explorer? They had recalls for other years for this same condition. I cannot open the back window for fear the glass will fall off the car. I purchased replacement parts but have no idea on how to install them. HELP!

- , Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #37

Nov 132011

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I noticed that the pins on the liftgate window were breaking through. When the gate was pushed down to close the window on the back of the Explorer, it broke free from the window hinge and nearly hit my head and also damaged other areas of the rear liftgate.. We were able to lift and push (with great difficulty) the part with the pin into it's broken bracket, however, it is not safe because the window hinge is broken where the pins are held in.. Not sure how to "rig" it so the window does not come out again, until we are able to get the necessary parts to repair this (Sunday afternoon). This is obviously a defect in the hinge that secures the window in place and is not safe. It needs to be replaced/repaired by Ford Corporation at no additional cost to the owners of these 2004 Ford Explorer defects..

- , Osceola, IN, USA

problem #36

Jul 242011

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

The passenger side hatch hinge broke when my pulled down on the hatch. We were unable to shut the window so I had to remove the support struts and the other hinge. When I unfastened the other hinge the window hit my wife in the head as she was holding it. It left a nice size bump on her head and a scratch. I think it could have been worse. Crazy this is not covered under a recall. It absolutely makes me rethink buying from Ford again.

- , Indialantic, FL, USA

problem #35

Jul 212011

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles


It is not fair when you have a United States made vehicle Ford explorer 2004 a well to do car manufacture would help resolve a problem. My 2004 Ford Explorer rear door hinges glass can cause an accident due to neglience in the manufacting of all Ford Explorer with this problem. Ford should replace these Hinges for everyone's safety on the road. A recall should be established immediately.

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #34

Nov 032011

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

I had the same thing happen...when to get something out of the back of the SUV, went to shut the window and the right hinge broke...I was alone, but somehow managed to get it back down, but not fully closed. I'm unsure where to take it, I don't want to go to the dealership. At least I now know it may be able to be fixed...I can't afford a new car.

- , Washington, DC, USA

problem #33

Oct 092011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

So, like everyone else, I too had my hinges break to my back window/tailgate on my Ford Explorer 2004. I was alone with my kids, at a grocery store, loaded all my groceries into the trunk, and then my 12 year old daughter went to shut it and the left side came unhinged making the left side fall down. I ran to help my daughter because she was yelling for help. We tried to get the window/tailgate back into the hinge, but while doing that the weight of the window caused the other hinge to break. Then myself and my 12 year old daughter are holding this very heavy window/tailgate, and a nice woman who saw what was happening also tried to help us. We used a shopping cart to hold the window up so it would be less for us to carry. I called my husband who was home (45 minutes away), and he called his brother-in-law who was closer. My brother-in-law was able to come, and then he took the shocks off the window/tailgate and put the window/tailgate into the back of the Explorer so I could at least make it home.

I have contacted Ford about everything, and they say that they stand by their product and there is no recall on this. So, I have submitted a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association via, which Ford did include in their email to me. Ford also told me to save my receipts for repairs in case eventually there is a recall on this.

If you haven't done so already, you should report this to the website for the NHTSA as well, because the more reports the better chance of this actually becoming a recall situation.

- , Bakersfield, VT, USA

problem #32

Mar 012009

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


this problem sucks went to the ford dealership sad it was not cover

- , Hot Springs National Park, AR, US

problem #31

Oct 052011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

I came to the site on a whim to see if anyone else had this problem...guess so! It appears that other people have had this problem at roughly the same age of the vehicle. We all have 2004 model years, and we are all having problems with this within months of each other.

My story is not that different from others, put something in the car while at the store, got home and tried to open it again and it fell off in my hands. The left hinge snapped off and was hanging by the cable. We had to take off the strut to make the window close. I feel lucky that mine broke in my driveway. Mechanic tells me the repair kit will cost about $275 parts and labor...have no choice because the car won't pass inspection with a broken window.

Although I did find it interesting when he said that there was a "repair kit" specifically for this I understand why.

- , Kingston, MA, USA

problem #30

Jul 072011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

when you are packing to go to the lake and the window nearly falls off because a PLASTIC hinge on an 8 year old car snaps, ok 1 why plastic!? two why a hinge!?!? on a tahoe there's no hinge like that and its not plastic!

- , Fisherville, KY, US

problem #29

Aug 062011

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I have a 2004 Ford Explorer and the rear window hinges just corroded. The window came loose, but did not break. If this is a common problem, why has there not been a recall on it? Is there an inexpensive way to correct this problem? I thought buying American was the way to go. I realize nothing lasts forever, but some things are just ridiculous. Thanks for listening.

- , Warren, MI, USA

problem #28

Jul 052011

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles


My wife was unloading the vehicle when the glass fell and hit her on the head. She started SCREAMING for help.. LUCKILY the glass did not break. She caught it with her arm and had bruises on her.. It SCARED us two death. It happened unexpectedly. Cannot use the back lift because the glass will fall and break.. I am afraid it will leak also. I was planning on going on vacation but afraid to drive it because I am afraid it will fall out.

Never seen any recall or anything.. Could have been some serious injuries if one of my children were unloading the vehicle. I seen several others with the same problem here.. and the factory said it was corrosion. I think they should have a recall. because someone will get hurt the next time.. Thank GOD no one did this time.

Thank you..

- , Bypro, KY, USA

problem #27

Jul 092011

Explorer LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

I was at the grocery store, had loaded my groceries in the car, went to close the rear window gate and it busted loose from the right hinge. I tried to get it lined up with the hinge again and noticed that the right strut was not decompressing. I tried to push it back up manually it wouldn't budge. Then it busted loose from the left hinge as well. So it's hanging there by the struts. I secured it by wrapping rope around in and tying it to both back seat door handles and drove to the Ford dealer. The first young man said he really didn't know much about mechanical issues and he was nice enough but even he figured out what had happened. He then went to get his supervisor who came out and said he'd never seen or heard of this kind of thing happening before. He could give me no recommendations as to what I might be able to do except, to take it to a body shop and have them take the whole thing off so I could get it repaired on the following business week. Then I drove home and researched this thing online and find complaint after complaint after complaint from others who have experienced the same problems. And there's no recall??? That's just wrong!!!

- , Willard, MO, USA

problem #26

Jun 262011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

It's good to know I'm not alone. . .but it's INFURIATING to know I'm not alone. On the way home for a lacrosse tournament with my 16 year old son, we pulled off the highway at a Bass Pro Shops. After a quick purchase, he opened the rear liftgate window to put the bag in the car. . .then I heard, "Dad, Dad. . .I need some help. . .Dad!" The entire window had fallen off the rear of the liftgate and was in my son's hands. We figured out how to disconnect it from the one side that was hanging on by a thread and put the entire window on top of our luggage in the rear compartment. After driving over 200 miles during the trip, I wondered what would have happened if it had broken loose on the interstate. Would Ford have responded when my liftgate window crashed through the car behind me causing an multiple car pile-up? When can we, as American Consumers, demand some level of quality, safety, etc from our auto manufacturers? The truck is at a Ford dealer now, I'm waiting for the damages. I'll keep you posted. If anyone has gotten a response from our friends at Ford, please let me know. Thanks for being there today! So sorry, we're all in the same "broken latch" club!

- , Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #25

May 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My son & his wife have a 2004 Ford Explorer. This last week the left hinge on the rear window lift broke while they were in a store parking lot. It was a very windy day and my son had trouble hanging onto the window until help could arrive. My son's wife called my daughters husband and when he arrived about a half hour later they were able to get it back in place enough to drive home. Now the right hinge is also developing a fracture. My son has called many auto shops trying to locate a hinge kit because apparently Ford is not standing behind the obvious hinge flaw that they were not able to or felt they didn't need to fix from the 2002 & 2003 Ford Explorer recall. He has had no luck in finding the hinge kit. There is an obvious flaw in these hinges as indicated by the 2002 & 2003 models. It's time Ford owns up to it's mistakes in the 2004 model as well. I will be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection and whomever else we can. Vehicle manufacturers charge enormous prices for their vehicles, provide shoddy workmanship and don't stand behind their products. Dealers charge an arm and a leg to fix something that should never have happened in the first place. Frankly I'm tired of it.

- , Janesville, WI, USA

problem #24

Jun 152010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,234 miles

The back door window would pop open on it's own - I would be driving down the road and would hear a click and the door open light would pop on, next thing you know, the back window of the car was swinging up. I would pull over, close it, and few minutes later, the same thing. I took it to a shop that stated it was something to do w/ the circuits---they disconnected it . I cannot use the button the. door but can use the key attachment to pop it open

- , Dallas, GA, US

problem #23

Jun 242010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Fortunately, this happened while my husband was with me. He was able to maneuver the tailgate closed and got an appointment to get it fixed the next day. I found out that this had been a recall on other explorers but not mine. Don't know why.

- , Merritt Island, FL, US

problem #22

Apr 162011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Typical Ford -- ignores a glaring problem with a poorly designed part used in many model years (other models recalled), and likely to cause damage and bodily harm. Are there any lawyers reading this?!

The rear window hinge gave out on my wife while opening it on a windy day. She had to hold it up (to keep it from falling completely out of the remaining hinge) until a passerby stopped to help her secure it temporarily.

A quick inspection of the hinge assembly told me what a crappy design this was -- an under-engineered part used to support a heavy piece of glass. This site convinced me that this is a known defect, yet Ford does nothing to help it's loyal customers. This will definitely be my last Ford.

- , St Cloud, MN, USA

problem #21

Aug 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

NOT SURE why this happened out of the blue, not only was it a pain, it took the ford dealership over a week to get the part and took them way to long to fix .

- , Corona, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 102011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

"Ford may not need a bailout", but my 2004 ford explorer needs a bailout from Ford Company Motors LOL. My ford have a large crack on the center of the emblem and

back window hinge broke . Ford needs to step up and offer to fix with no charge to vehicles

owners. Never again will I buy any model from ford! They fall apart in a matter of months.

- , North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #19

Jan 122011

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This is the second time the hinge on the window breaks. The first time it was almost a year ago and it was the driver's side. Today the other side broke while I was driving. Being a single mom - I need a dependable car and that is why I invested in this car. With car payments who has money left for repairs? Ford please do something about this problem.

If you drive the street - 95-100% of the Explorer you see has a crack to the left of the ford symbol???????????

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

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