The Ford Explorer lands itself on’s list of Worst Vehicles three times. Two of which are in the top ten. The 2002, 2003, and 2004 models were some of the worst years for this model. The 2004 Ford Explorer is at number #7 on the list. Here’s why.

Exterior/Paint Problems

The most commonly reported issue with the 2004 Ford Explorer is a cracked panel below the rear window. has 769 complaints for this defect! To fix the crack and replace the panel, owners can expect a cost of about $460. On average, this problem occurs before 75,000 miles.

Owners also report peeling paint at an average of around 64,000 miles, with an average repair cost of $540. Many owners reported having to strip and repaint their entire vehicle, which can be a real headache. Other than paint peeling, other corrosion and even rust is commonly reported as early as 84,000. This is much earlier than one would expect their vehicle to show exterior damage.


The 2004 Ford Explorer is no stranger to transmission problems. Owners of this model complain of a slipping transmission or difficulty shifting. Often times this is a precursor to transmission failure. On average, the 2004 Ford Explorer begins having transmission issues around 73,000 miles and transmission failure occurs around 84,000. The typical cost to repair is usually between $2,000 and $3,000. There have also been numerous complaints stating that the vehicle won’t go into reverse around 100,000 miles.

There are many complaints regarding the gear shift, as many owners complain of it snapping off around 80,000 miles. To repair this issue, the entire steering column must be replaced and can cost as much as $1,000.

Engine failure or stalling while driving is another issue that 2004 Ford Explorer owners may have. The typical repair cost to replace the engine is $3,700. Owners should be aware that this problem tends to occur around 75,000 miles, which is right about the time that the transmission starts to have issues in this particular model and year.

Another powertrain component that may start to have issues before 100,000 miles is the crankshaft pulley. Many owners reported that the crankshaft pulley failed and needed to be replaced at around 90,000 miles at a cost of around $600.


The 2004 Ford Explorer has a number of interior problems, some of which are quite severe. Many drivers reported the supports for the sun visor cracking. While this may seem like a small repair, it can cost as much as $200 to replace the part!

One of the more troublesome issues with this vehicle model is that the gas gauge is inaccurate. Some owners reported having to replace the fuel gauge and some reported having to replace the fuel pump. Either way, this repair will cost owners about $730 on average.

Vehicle Service Contracts

f you own the 2004 Ford Explorer and you are out of your manufacturer’s warranty, you may want to look into a Vehicle Service Contract (VSC). These aftermarket warranties protect you from mechanical breakdowns after your other coverage has expired. VSC’s give you peace of mind and allow you to budget your money. The only cost you will incur with a Complete Car program, will be the cost of the program itself. There is no deductible for these programs. Covered components are covered 100%.

Complete Car Vehicle Service Contracts also offer Roadside Assistance, so you won’t even have to come out of pocket for towing! All programs are backed by insurance and have coverage in all 50 states. Complete car programs are fully transferable, so they can actually have a positive impact on the value of your vehicle. All Complete Car VSC’s have a 30 day review period and a prorated cancellation policy. Therefore, if you’re unhappy for any reason, you can cancel your program with zero penalties.

Buy Direct &

up to
On Dealer Prices

Get a Free Quote


Leave A Comment

Related Posts

If you enjoyed reading this, then please explore our other articles below:

Back to the Garage