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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,465 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 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 #39

Oct 282011


  • miles


The hinge on the glass hatch broke as I opened the hatch. There was no damage to the hatch hinge prior to this.

- Columbus, IN, USA

problem #38

Sep 022011


  • 92,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford Explorer, about a month ago I noticed the plastic hinge for the back tailgate glass was breaking off. After visiting several Ford used car lots, I seen several Explorer with the broken hinge and realized this is a very common problem. I have contacted Ford and expressed my concerns, but they are standing by their product. I recieved an estimate of $360 to repair the hinges, but being a single parent of four there is no way I could afford to have this repair done. I hope that Ford will step up and recall this issue but no luck yet.

- Washington, IL, USA

problem #37

Sep 192008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 18,499 miles
The brackets holding both the driver and passenger sun visors broke in 2008, just four months after we bought the vehicle (May 2008). We had them replaced on 09/19/2008. The new sun visors on both the driver and passenger side are again cracking as of 09/02/2011, with the driver's side again almost falling off. This will be the third set of visors on this vehicle since we purchased it in May 2008. This is ridiculous. Ford will not replace them, even though they are under warranty. Many other Ford Explorer/Ranger owner's are experiencing the same problem.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #36

May 312010


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact placed the gear shifter into reverse to drive and noticed that the transmission would hesitate before engaging. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technicians replaced the solenoid in the transmission. After the repairs were performed, the contact continued to experience the failure. There was also an abnormal grinding from the rear of the vehicle. The dealer replaced the rear end bearing, three rear axles, the pinion bar and seals and a shaft kit was installed. The dealer also advised that the failure was caused by an over torque by the manufacturer. In addition, the contact stated that the driver and passenger side sun visor joints were failing sporadically and causing the visors to obstruct the contact's vision of the roadway. The sun visors were not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 49,000.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #35

May 122011

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the sun visor came off of the mount causing it to obstruct the drivers visibility. He also stated that as a result of the heat in the vehicle the plastic mount started disintegrating. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who made advised him that there were no recalls related to the failure and stated that the visor assembly needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current miles were 115,000. Updated 08/19/11

- St Petersburg , FL, USA

problem #34

May 082011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 194,198 miles
Pin on rear hatch window broke, which can cause window to fall out.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #33

Apr 072011


  • miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear window on the hatch shattered. The contact looked at the hatch and found a crack on the metal piece of the hatch directly underneath the window. The contacts insurance company inspected the vehicle and said it was a defect. The manufacturer told the contact that this was an isolated incident and the rear window was not under warranty or recall. The failure and current mileage was unknown.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #32

Dec 142010


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was experiencing an intermittent failure in which the headlights, radio and windows stopped functioning while driving at any speed. The failures persisted for a duration of approximately 1-5 minutes. During the failures, the power door locks and instrument panel lighting also did not function. The vehicle was not taken to have the failures diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000 and the current mileage was 98,000.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #31

Jan 222011


  • 99,500 miles
The sun visor on the 2004 Ford Explorer has a weak bracket that holds the visor. If the bracket fails, that can cause the driver to lose control and have an accident.

- Madera, CA, USA

problem #30

Dec 252010


  • 82,000 miles
The tail gate on the 2004 Explorer should be recalled, it will only get worse and lots of people will die when the back windows just start falling out. Every Explorer I see it like this! built Ford guess it's ok for a few hundred to die until Ford maybe recall it, it's there responsibility!!!!!!! I will never buy another Ford till this gets fixed. Think of all the lawsuits in the making Ford..bad business!!! fix my found on road...before you get back window will fall out soon and guess who`S getting sued. Fix your junk Ford you lied to me quality is job 1000 making money and lying is job 1..your sickling boycott Ford I already have 3000 plus with this problem just wait Ford you'll get yours...

- Mechanicburg, PA, USA

problem #29

Oct 132009


  • 110,000 miles


I knew the back rear panel had a crack going down it, but thought nothing of it because most explores have the same problem. It wasn't until I was driving down a very dark road at 6 am and boom! the back glass just popped. I thought it had been shot out. The sheriff's department showed up and he thought the same thing. But the only thing we found was between the hydraulics on the window itself, the crack in the panel and temperature outside it imploded. My insurance in ky paid for it, but it took two windows and it still isn't right.

- Central, SC, USA

problem #28

Oct 292010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Back glass hatch fell off in my hands could have really hurt someone.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #27

Sep 172010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Defroster heat control failed, couldn't see through windshield.

- Middleton, MA, USA

problem #26

May 152010


  • 65,000 miles
Sun visor anchor based of 2004 Ford Explorer cracked and fell out, causing plastic pieces to fall on face, and making visor fall in front of line of sight while driving on highway. Using sun visor is now not possible.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

problem #25

Aug 052010


  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2004 Explorer and I lifted the glass hatch today and it broke and began to fall on my head, luckily I reacted and grabbed it before it knocked me out. I had to get help because it was to heavy for me because I have a bad back, had surgery and was afraid that I was going to re damage. I had to have my husband come up there while we held it because struts would not fold it in. Took it to Ford and am being charged a diagnostic charge to diagnosis it I am not sure that is needed, and parts are going to be $155, and I was told that they are not responsible for the window if it breaks! parts are not available they said they will order. I have no car, no warranty, and a sore back from another problem Ford is aware of but refuses to accept responsibility for. Thank god it did not hit my 11 year old in the head or neck this could be very dangerous even deadly.

- Harrison Township, MI, USA

problem #24

Feb 052010


  • 90,700 miles
Have a 2004 Ford Explorer I bought new. It now has approximately 95250 miles. After washing car 2-5-10, a mild day here in ct though wintertime, I noticed trim panel under rear window showed vertical crack most all the way through. Several days later crack had migrated all the way through to bottom of panel. Contacted Ford customer service online 2-17-10 asking if this was a safety concern as had read others had it happen to them as well on various automobile websites like edmunds. Understood before writing it was not a recall at that time. Got a polite response 2-18-10 that though sorry for the inconvenience, I should bring it to the dealer for assessment. I never thought it was bad enough to warrant such a trip. However, I am noticing that the window how seems to rattle when closing if only the window portion is opened rather than the entire rear door. I really want to believe that the window is not in jeopardy of separating from the frame when I'm driving down the road. Can you confirm that other Explorer owners of this vintage have in fact registered complaints with NHTSA as I am doing tonight. Will Ford be asked to make repairs to owner's vehicles for this defect? thank you in advance for your feedback.

- East Lyme, CT, USA

problem #23

Jul 222009


  • 96,607 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the driver and passenger sun visors were fractured. The dealer advised replacing the visors at her expense. The driver side sun visor was replaced. The contact stated the failure recurred on the driver side sun visor. The passenger side sun visor was never replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were 96,607.

- Mendenhall, MS, USA

problem #22

Jul 022010


  • 88,200 miles
Defective clip/hinge in sunvisor assembly of 2004 Ford Explorer, breaks and cracks with normal use due to faulty design. Safety hazard due to the fact that once it breaks to a certain point the sunvisor will hang in drivers view and impede vision. A large amount of people are having the same problem I am having. Some of their comments can be viewed at to begin your investigation. Luckily ours came apart when the car was stopped, but someone using the visor to increase visibility may not be so fortunate.

- Saint George, UT, USA

problem #21

Jun 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 67,670 miles
While attempting to close the window on hatchback, the window hinges broke.

- Neenah, WI, USA

problem #20

May 172010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Rear window hinges on 2004 Ford Explorer broke.

- Peshtigo, WI, USA

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