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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
82,558 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace rear windshield (10 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replaced rear panel under window & rear window (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #12

Feb 172017

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I lifted the top back hatch to review some paperwork in my car. While the window was suspended in the air for about 5 minutes it exploded all over me randomly and shot several feet towards the front of my car on both sides. The explosion was so violent that glass was embedded in hands. The bottom of the top hatch contained a serrated edge of glass that fell on my neck and upper backā€”if I was not wearing a jacket at the time the wound would have been life threatening.

- , Providence, US

problem #11

Jan 082017

Explorer XLT Sport 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear windshield blew up

Drove to take kids sledding, roughly 20 degrees outside. No one near the vehicle, rear window just shattered. Had been sitting for about 20 minutes.

- , Egg Harbor City, NJ, USA

problem #10

Apr 042015

Explorer 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Dangerous mother f*cker glass covered everything. People in backseat had glass in their pants

- , Middle Point, OH, USA

problem #9

Oct 022013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


The SUV was parked in the garage when the tailgate window blue-up/broke. We got estimates and had it repaired because it was out of warranty.

- , Shaker HTS, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 122010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,700 miles

My car was sitting in the parking lot and someone came in and told me that my rear glass had just blown up. I thought they were kidding....but I went out and the glass had blown out across the parking lot. I was happy that it didn't happen while I was traveling down the road. I hadn't been back in the building but about 15 minutes when it happened. I know of 5 Explorers that are owned by friends that have had the back panel crack and I am just awaiting for theirs to do the same thing! The hydraulic lifts literally pushes the window and causes it to blow as the panel gives. This is a serious defect!!!

- , Clarkesville, GA, US

problem #7

Jan 042012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up

While at work my rear lift gate window exploded. At first site I thought it was vandalism but nothing (car chargers/CD's/road side kit, ezpass, etc) was taken. After further investigating, things just didn't add up nor were consistent with the site of my destructed rear window and uplifting of the panel underneath the shattered glass (which was mostly on the ground as opposed to being inside my vehicle.) Take a look at my pics and tell me what you think....

- , Bronx, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


click to see larger images

rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up

My entire lift gate now along with the window needs to be replaced. Ford should Pay my deductible!

- , Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 182010

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up

I bought my Ford Explorer-Eddie Bauer Model from Village Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. I live nearby. While it was a "Manager's Special which meant that he had driven it for two years or so, it was still $18,000 (Eighteen Thousand Dollars) and it had 32,000 miles on it. Overall I have had no complaints at it until...... As has most Warrantees happen, on the stroke on midnight on the day that the warranty expires I had some problems, but they were not too costly. Then one day my wife noticed that a crack was in the rear panel that was just under the window. It was right down the side of the Ford Emblem. There are numerous complaints about this same problem. I agree with one complaint I read about this problem. I think that we should do a class action suit. Does anyone know of a bottom feeding lawyer that would take on this case with payment only it we win?

So now I call the Insurance Co., (AAA) who agreed to pay for it. Of course I had to pay $250.00 deductible. The total cost was $581.00 of which I had to pay $250.00.

So yesterday on Jan. 18, 2011, after 86 days since the repair, (I hope I have a 90 Day warranty period) I went to my Employer parked in my driveway and found the rear window shattered with half the glass on the driveway and the other half in the back car floor. The panel that I and the Insurance Co. had just paid to have replaced was bent outward with the hydraulic lifters pushing on the two ends. Is this a stupid design or what? These lifters actually are connected to the rear window as well as the back panel that I had replaced. What sort of Engineer would bolt a powerful hydraulic lifter to a glass pane and not build a frame around the glass and bolt it to the frame instead? Better yet, why not just save the customer a lot of money and not even have the back glass open separately from the lift gate? How many dollars has this engineering miracle cost the good Ford Customers?

I have an appointment next week to have my repairs appraised at the same Ford dealer who did the repairs to my cracked back panel. Let see how much luck I have in getting them to repair the shoddy workmanship in repairing that panel.

- , Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #4

Aug 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up rear windshield blew up

As with every one else I had the same problem with the cracked panel about a month ago and was told the same bull and also started notice more and more Explorers on the street with the exact crack in the exact same spot and like many yet pist have endured the situation, that is until yesterday. My kids and I had just left Walmart and was stopped and waiting at a red light no more then a block from there when we were frightened with a loud noise almost like firecrakers went off. Glass flying every where I thought I had been hit but there was no car behimd me. I pulled over not sure what the heck had happened and more worried about my son who was sitting in the third row seat.I had to take my son to urget care and thank god only needed a few sticthes. But know this I am fired up beyond belief and will be raising hell til something is done.

Maybe Ford is waiting for some one to be killed, I hope not, but MY SON was injured because of your negleance to a more then obvious defect. OH I ASSURE YOU WILL BE FIXING MY CAR AND PAYING FOR MY SONS HOSPITAL BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , West Covina, CA, USA

problem #3

May 042009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

I thought that it was something that i did, but now that I am looking to replace the rear window in the car I am seeing different - - did my window shatter because of this panel thing going on???

- , Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #2

Aug 142008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

I think ford should pay for their mistakes. I have been a ford owner for 40 years but the is the last time I buy a ford. They make me sick. They should go out of business - they stink. Now I know why people buy foreign cars. The American car manufacturers are putting themselves out of business and they deserve it.

- , Parlin, NJ, USA

problem #1

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

mom and dad were doing their regular Saturday routine when mom went outside she saw something wrong - dad's back windshield was smashed into a billlion pieces inside and out, pieces all the way up to the back right seat head rest. took it to a glass repair shop and cost a bundle. dad got mad on a SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Trooper, P. A. 1, USA

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