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:
39,400 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Mar 042006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


We know now that the back lift gate window is crooked because of the break in the frame, eventually the window will shatter when being opened or closed. We are very very careful and actually try to avoid using it, but Ford should never have allowed this frame to make it to the showroom floor.

This happened multiple times until our mechanic finally found what caused the plug to the computer to melt. See below:

Sick to death of all the problems. Ford just throws these things off the assembly line and then says "Oh so sorry, it's out of warranty". We actually won a lawsuit regarding a 2002 Explorer. The tailgate window exploded in my hand when trying to shut it. The car dealer knew it was a piece of junk and the judge called his selling it to us "the most egregious case of taking advantage she'd ever seen".

We had to replace the transmission in this 2004 model, replaced the visors and interior overhead console, one back seat belt doesn't work, again a cheap plastic problem, and the electrical/computer problem where a plug next to the computer melted and caused the engine to cut off while driving down the road, well that almost got us all killed. Turns out there is a group of wires near the rear and they were supposed to be suspended in some sort of harness and never were, so over time, the plastic coating rubbed off and caused at least one wire to ground out, which caused the plug near the computer to overheat and slide out of its socket, causing the engine to shut off. Once it cooled, sometimes the motor would start again. This cost us more than one battery, lots of time, being stalled at 2 in the morning with our daughter in the back seat. After $2500 spent in multiple visits trying to fix the electrical issue, and another $2600 for the transmission, and just under $1000 for the interior console and visors, add more $$ for visits to check out the Check Engine light and the ABS light... wonder what I'm leaving out... ? Oh yes, the air conditioning has been blowing hot on once side for quite awhile. The crack in the back window frame on EVERY SINGLE EXPLORER I see reminds me of the Ford Grenada back in the 80s.

Does anybody else remember the Ford Grenada? The gas cap was located behind the license plate and on every single Grenada, the spring on the license plate broke so they all drove around with their license plate facing the ground, wide open. We have no idea why the Check Engine light stays on. No idea why the back passenger windows quit working years ago. No idea why the cruise control works about 1 out of 20 times you try to use it, and no idea why the volume control on the radio slips deafening everyone in the car.

Owning one of these Explorers is like being in a club with other unfortunate individuals who have found themselves wondering if the $9,000 they've spent on repairs makes it worth keeping the car now. My mechanic calls it the "Ford Exploder".

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #4

Jun 162009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Taking to Ford service for repair---concerned they will find a problem not covered under my ESP warranty.

- , Galveston, TX, USA

problem #3

May 162008

Explorer XLT 4.8L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

I've had problems with the rear power windows. One wouldn't roll down, i took it in under warranty and they replaced the motor. It wasn't 3 months and the same window wouldn't roll down. I was past my 3 yr warranty, but the dealership replace the window motor because they have a 1 yr warranty on their parts or something. Now, I'll try and roll down my rear windows and every once in a while, they won't roll down.... A few days later i'll try again and they will work. It's messed up and a pain in the ass, but not worth my money to have it fixed.

- , Carrollton, IL, USA

problem #2

Aug 292007

(reported on)

Explorer Edie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Rear driver's side power window stopped working after owning vehicle a little over 3 years.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #1

Mar 302007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

My windows stopped working at about 15,000 miles. It was covered under Warranty. Then about a month after the warranty expired the back windows stopped rolling up and down and my side mirrors do not work. Also my driver side front speaker goes in an out.

I grew up on Ford vehicles but after this I don't think I will buy another one!

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

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