While the current Explorer is a vast improvement over its predecessor, it competed in a market with many more choices. Still, its steady ride and versatile, well-designed interior made for a well-rounded package. Its main drawbacks were an unrefined V6 engine and unimpressive performance on our off-road course.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags available 1999-2001, standard from 2006. Head protection air bags available from 2002, standard from 2008. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2005.
Road Test

While the current Explorer is a vast improvement over its predecessor, it competed in a market with many more choices. Still, its steady ride and versatile, well-designed interior made for a well-rounded package. Its main drawbacks were an unrefined V6 engine and unimpressive performance on our off-road course.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 4-liter V6 (210 hp)
  • 4.6-liter V8 (239 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Ford Explorer owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"AC does not cool very well. fan blows but does not cool on a very hot day, live in south florida thus we have very hot days."

John R., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Stopped blowing cold air, mechanic had to replace compressor and accumulator, then recharge system (cost around $2000)"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)
Automatic climate control

"Vehicle has a rear A/C control. The rear blower door assembly is defective and keeps trying to open with constant clicking sound. It has been repaired at least 3 times in the past. It has been a problem from the time we acquired the vehicle"

Anonymous, LA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The automatic doors broke controlling airflow"

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Blend door motor"

Everett H., GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Air blend door module failed. Made constant clicking sound. Only blew cold air. Air direction lever broke (small plastic piece that requires replacement of entire duct assy.)"

George J., NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Fan broke...does not blow where I want it to"

Chris J., OK (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"AC only works intermittently now. When in auto climate control mode, it cycles off & on, even though it should be cooling all the time, due to ambient temperature. Air control doors open & close randomly."

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)
Blower (fan) motor

"$80 part. $300 for labor due to difficulty accessing the area."

John D., CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"After two professional repair attempts there is still no noticeable cool air coming into the cabin"

Alison H., CA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"wore out"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"air condition would not work"

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"The blower doesn't have any force and makes a clicking noise"

Scott M., MO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"the blender door broke and the fan stopped working... $275.00 fix.... because the dash has to be removed"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The heat or cool air couldn't come on, due to the actuator that turns was broken -- its 10-11 years old, I just replaced it, but cut open the dash as it was not an easy place to get to"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Unable to clean AC FILTER BECAUSE OF LOCATION, FEEL THAT THE DIRTY FILTER BLOCKS AIR FLOW"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The blower is not putting out warm air and the cold air is limited"

Scott M., MO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Output from vents runs about 50% of capacity. Seems like some obstruction in the system. Extremely expensive to tear out the dash and diagnose so I have not yet done that."

Andrew A., TX (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"something broke inside dash and blocked air from blowing out into passenger compartment."

Anita B., TX (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Heated or cooled seat controls

"Terrible design of the temperature control system. Required dismantling of the dash to change the motor that controls the temperature in the car"

Dennis R., UT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Heater system

"Control flap that changes heat to cool flow has mechanical problem"

Robert G., VA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"The heater doesn't blow warm air to the drivers side, as a result the driver will get cold during winter months"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"servo motor link arm broke off preventing selection of air vent flow direction --no defrost"

Allen B., GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"no warm/hot air on front passenger side. had to replace heater control box ~$1400"

Ted T., AL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"leaks in the thermostats on the top and the bottom"

Dennis R., UT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"air diverter box flap hinge broke , would not dirvert air to defroster"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The defrost door broke. Rather than spending $600+ to have it repaired I set the door so heat/air blows through the floor ducts, dash vents, and defrost vents at the same time."

S D., KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"The air conditioner needs to be recharched every year"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Explorer)

"Refrigerant has gradually leaked out over the last 12 years, and the system needs pressure test, evacuation, and recharging"

Donald A., VA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"2004 Explorer is 12+ years old. It was the first time it needed Freon."

Anita B., TX (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - temperature

"The heated driver's seat quit working after 5 years"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Heated seats do not work"

Dale J., AB (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Rear window fell out, cost over $1,200 repair"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"About a six inch crack developed after about 6 years of ownership in the outside rear area hatchback, just below the rear wiper area on the painted surface panel. I have found out from quite a few other owners of this same vehicle type they have the"

Joseph K., PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"tailgate applique by Ford emblem has a crack in it straight from top to bottom and online numerous owners have complained about this crack appearing from nowhere and ford does nothing about it. previous years to my car have had a recall"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Molding in the rear door had to be rep;aced. It cracked in a perfect line. Is a glass molding. Bought a new one at dealer and had to be painted and glue it"

Manuel P., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Fascia panel on rear hatch cracked, necessitating replacement of entire trim panel. This appears to be very common on Explorers of this generation. Ford refuses to acknowledge as a problem"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The upper tail gate has a vertical crack below the window under the wiper arm shaft"

Bob E., WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"hinges on rear window broke a few years ago, which I had repaired. Replacement hinges are now corroded and loose"

Peter S., WI (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Panel on tailgate window cracked in half"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Body panel on the rear tailgate immediately below the glass has cracked in the center. I have paid to repair it one time already. I understand that Ford has been aware of this problem for years and has offered no solution. The window was redesigned f"

Lindsay B., NC (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Rear window hinges were coming loose"

Anonymous, KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Plastic panel on tailgate under window cracked in half. Many Ford Explorers have this problem. Definitely a design defect"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Split in center between window and latch"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Tail gate window hinges are faulty and needed to be replaced. Tailgate moulding cracks around the "Ford" logo which is a common occurrence on the 2004 Model"

Dale J., AB (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Paint is cracking on the roof. The tailgate lift struts had to be replaced for the third time since owning the vehicle and cost over $200"

Russell R., CO (2004 Ford Explorer NBX 4.5-L V8)

"Rear panel on tailgate cracked in two places"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"crack in the hatchback, researching the internet shows this to be a common problem with 04 Ford Explorers"

Kenneth W., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Plastic panel split below window"

Anonymous, AE (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Hatch cracked below glass"

Michael Y., MI (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The tailgate was badly designed. It is almost impossible to find an 2004 Ford Explorer WITHOUT a crack in the tailgate just below the glass panel. Ford has taken no responsibility whatsoever for this bad design (although the 2005 was redesigned)"

Ronald H., NV (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)
Windows

"Rear windows do not work. Recurring problem since the car was new. Now neither of them will go down"

Robert K., CA (2004 Ford Explorer NBX 4.5-L V8)

"Rear passenger side window regulator failed"

Daniel W., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Windows wont open intermittently"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"All of the power windows occasionally failed to operate. Finally, when the driver's and passenger's power windows stopped working altogether it became a safety issue and the replacements at the dealer were $1000.00 installed. The rear windows are currently inoperative!"

David S., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"They stopped working"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"drivers side switch intermittent controlling the passenger side window"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Ball joints

"wore out"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"have worn out, boots torn"

Claus K., NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Just replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Steering was floating, lots of rattling when driving, grinding sound"

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Needed replacing/also rear differential pinion seal needed replacing"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"AWD is mostly RWD except in inclimate conditions; two yrs ago replaced both front wheel brgs for second time and rear diff wheel bergs last year"

H W., KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Ball joints wore out"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"wear was found during regular maintenance"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Bushings

"Bushings caused the rear wheels to become loose and cause unnecessary wear on the tires."

Dick L., OK (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"Spring over shock broken"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"replaced all four struts plus rear springs in the last year on Ford"

Donald L., NT (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)
Tie rods

"Wore out"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)
Tire wear is uneven

"looks like rear suspension is sagging and not allignment per se"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Tire ware was uneven and required purchase of new tires"

Pat B., MN (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)
Wheel bearings

"having loud sounds coming from rear of vehicle for 2 years. finally nailed down the issue as rear bearings. ride now is quiet and mileage went up a mile and 1/2"

John B., IL (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Driver side rear bearing went and had to be replaced."

Amber Z., CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"front wheel bearings"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Right rear wheel bearing began to make noise. I monitored it for a while, then I replaced the bearing myself. This is not a task for the faint of heart"

Corlee W., TX (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"one wheel bearing failed"

Claus K., NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Wheel bearings in 3 of the 4 wheels needed replacement"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Normal wear I presume - there's al ot of miles on this vehicle"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Noise from the front end that got progressively louder."

Al J., IL (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Wheel bearings have had to be replaced multiple times."

Dick L., OK (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

4WD/AWD components

"Needed to replace rear end and transfer case"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer)
Differential

"car starting making loud clunking noise when backing was repaired and works fine now"

Ray C., KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"The bearings and ring and pinion were all noisy in the rear differential. It whined and vibrated so much that it had to be rebuilt"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Replaced complete rear end for 2nd time. 1st one only lasted 7,000 miles. This one has 3000 miles on it and it's starting to "sing""

SUSn S., WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"at 100k miles the front pinion bearing wore out"

John M., ME (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"replaced differential w/rebuilt unit last year. . Prior to 2014 differential was rebuilt 3 times"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Rear end needed a complete rebuild. It had been whining for over two years before it failed. Not an unexpected repair and it limped home"

E D., MA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Rear end pinion bearing went bad and caused damage to the rear end due to metal filings in the oil"

Anonymous, IA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"I had to have the rear differential replaced in the vehicle twice. Once in April 2018, and once in 2013 or 2014."

Anonymous, WV (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Making terrible noises. Had to have it completely replaced."

Anonymous, KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Driveline vibration

"The vehicle vibrates a lot between 60 and 70 MPH and is obnoxious"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Rear axle bearings"

Arlene C., OH (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Driveshaft or axle

"Right rear bearing had to be replaced."

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"Replaced right rear 1/2 axel"

Douglas P., PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"The harmonic balancer pulley disintegrated. It was out of warranty, and Ford wouldn't cover it"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Electrical failure

"anti-lock sensor failure on rear brake system"

Allen B., GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"car would jump when turning slow to park, first they repaired the transfer case, then they removed the ECM (electronic control module), the cost of a new ECM is $1800+ so I have been driving without one installed"

Kenneth W., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Wiring has become brittle and have had to have multiple repairs made. Problems with interior lighting, panel lights, electric door locks, etc"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Ground wire failure from door to main body failed. Electric windows, interior lights and door locks failed as a result"

Michael S., MT (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Wiring Harness Failed twice, problem still unfixed as it can not be traced easily"

Charles M., NC (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)
Transfer case

"you could not turn easily with front wheel transfer case not operating properly"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"grinding noise when turning corners - differential issues in front transfer case"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"plastic panel on rear hatch-back cracked vertically"

Peter S., WI (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Valence under rear hatch window cracked"

Daniel W., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Tailgate trim below window has cracked. This seems to be a very common problem with the Explorer"

Neil S., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"crack in rear tail gate pannel"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"Roof cover material is coming down"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on the top edge of the rear hatch has flaked away. Paint has rust bubbles on the front edge of the the hood. The rear hatch door trim has cracked in half at the emblem area."

Neil S., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Paint on the hood is peeling off"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Any small break in the painted surfaces eventually results in a large area of cracking then peeling. Accumulation of moisture on the roof has caused rusting"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The paint on the roof has peeled off and rusted (about 20 percent of the area)"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Paint bubbling & peeling primarily on the front of the hood above the latch for hood release. Crack on molding just below back window, by Ford logo. I have noticed this crack on a few (4-5) vehicles of this make/model while driving in town"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"had all the rust fixed and vehicle repainted and paint is bubbling again in spots"

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Rust

"Rust areas occurring on right rear above the wheel and both front panels behind the front wheels."

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"Significant rust on running boards. Ideally need to replace them but had technicians paint over them instead for $ reasons"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Ford Explorer)

"aluminum hood corodes"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Rust continues to spread behind all 4 wheels"

Anonymous, KS (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"My understanding is that the paint was contaminated at the factory. Paint under hood and on top of hood is bubbling up with rust"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Big rust hole over rear passenger side wheel well. Rest of vehicle is rust free"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer)

"The paint is bubbled above the right rear wheel well under and slightly to the right of the gas cap door. It's cracking slightly and oozes some rust. I clean it with compound and wax it so it is not too unsightly, but you can see the paint bubbles"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The paint on the front lip of the aluminum hood is blistering up and should be repainted. The paint has not as yet fallen off and I'm trying to decide whether to replace the car before I spend money on repairs"

David S., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"horrible rusted thru and paint gone in numerous areas"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer 4.5-L V8)

"An area of rust occurring on the right rear panel over the wheel. I have noticed the same condition on on many other Ford Explorers about the same age as mine."

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"Rust developed on back passenger wheelwell and needed body work."

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

"Broken planetary gear"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Explorer NBX 4.0-L V6)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"99000 miles transmission was slipping and banging into reverse. went to AAMCO for a complete rebuild. took it on the road the next day, did not get 5 miles before trans gav out and had to tow it back to aamco, shoddy work, went with them because of tour and national warranty. had to use warranty on day 1. I will not consider them again for any mechanical work."

John B., IL (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"First gear on transmission stop engaging"

Clifford A., IL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"It had to be rebuilt cause it didn't move front or back"

Manuel P., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission replaced at 150,000. Understand from the transmission place that this is pretty usual for the Explorer"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"purchased the car knowing the transmission wa bad. It considered in the purchase price"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer)

"Transmission Needed to be completely rebuilt for $3600 and later blew seal again because it was overfilled when rebuilt"

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Total rebuild"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"The transmission mechanic that rebuilt the transmission said Ford had used aluminum sleeve and steel rod and he replaced the aluminum with steel. He said it was a common problem with Ford and they should have recalled all of them"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Had to replace transmission at 135000 miles. I was told by my mechanic that this was typical in a 4wd because ford did not put the proper transmission in the 4wd. I also replaced the brakes at 135000. Excellent for factory brakes. Battery lasted 9yrs"

Paul G., NC (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission required complete rebuild"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission would not engage"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"no problems with replacement"

Carol G., MO (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission was slipping. So it was rebuilt"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"It gave up... The transmission had a problem at the very beginning and it was never really 100% fixed"

Luis R., CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"It stopped shifting"

Ann R., MA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission started to fail at 60,000 miles and replaced solenoid. Complete transmission failure at 93,000. Had to replace transmission"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

"The transmission had to be replaced at 120,000 miles because it just simply stopped working one day. The vehicle would not go into any gear"

Greg T., OR (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)

"I had to have a new transmission installed. The old one stopped working"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Bought a rebuild transmission 25k miles ago - it died!"

Jim T., VA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"abs module failure"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The light was on on the dash, The dealer Auto Nation, estimated $,2200 to fix. I declined. and dove away"

H B., AZ (2004 Ford Explorer 4.5-L V8)

"Abs light constantly comes on"

Dan N., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"ABS unit went out a few years ago"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

"front brakes wear fast"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Brakes wear out sooner because of size, type and weight of vehicle"

Anonymous, MN (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Normal wear"

Anonymous, PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Had to have brake pads replaced"

Dave L., IL (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Parking brake

"Rear parking brake fell off causing loud noise"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"parking brake did not release"

J Z., MO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Premature brake wear

"Emergency brake failure"

J Z., MO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"linings wore prematurely"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Rotors

"Front Rotors excessive rusting had to be replaced"

Thomas Z., NY (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Rotors had to be ground and the bearings replaced. This caused a strange vibration and loose steering. All that play resulted in the tires wearing out early. It was normal wear, but the mechanics at the Ford Dealership should have caught it earlier"

Anonymous, LA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"I didn't experience any problem. The service advisor said that the rotors on the rear were worn and needed to be replaced. So they replaced them. (They showed me the wear on them before the replacement.)"

A T., NJ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Brake pads needed replacing and rotors had to be replaced as well"

Michael B., RI (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Replacing brakes in SUV are part of the deal: the rotors are costly and need replacing every 40-50K miles"

Donald A., VA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"warped"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"I have had multiple problems with rotors having to be worked over the lifetime of this vehicle"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Just wore out"

Anonymous, MT (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"Cds are not ejected , must bang on dash to get cds out, if not fully effected will not play only radio"

John R., FL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"will not read any CDs"

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"CD player wouldn't release a CD. I contacted local Ford dealership and was told it is a somewhat common issue with this player model, and that it'd cost several hundred dollars for them to remove the player & they couldn't guarantee the CD wouldn't b"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"It was a 5 CD jacket and it just quit working. Not all the CD's would play"

Dan C., WA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"CD came off its mount while playing"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"The CD player stopped working about 3 or 4 years after I owned the car. This was also the same time the thermostat stopped working"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Display screen freezes up

"The dial for temperature and gas tank freezes up sometimes .Needed a computer CPM and new throttle body. This was very expensive. Vehicle went into limp mode"

Anonymous, BC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Radio

"Cuts in and out"

Wayne F., AZ (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"The radio volume has begun turning itself up to max volume for no reason"

Lindsay B., NC (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"The radio periodically stops working or the speakers cut out in front. Happens about once every 6 months"

Mark D., MI (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Volume control doesn't raise or lower sound level unless you jiggle the knob with a really secure grip"

Neil S., CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Steering wheel controls

"This is specific to the Cruise Control on the steering wheel. This was previously not working and was repaired but now need to press on/off a couple of times to be engage the system. Sometimes this works on the first try, sometimes requires more"

Mark D., MI (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Buttons now do random things. Sometimes volume control changes volume, some it changes the radio station"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Rough shifting, see previous solenoid replacement. Replacement cured non-shifting, but still hard from 3-4, and clunky from 4-3"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Slipping transmission

"we have once replace the transmission at 62000 miles and we are do another replacement because according to the mechanic fords all wheel drive mechanism performs abnormal wear and tear on the overall transmission"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear almost always results in a large "clunking" sound. Started from day one when purchased and has been getting worse by the year. Took it in several times to Ford dealership and was told that "nothing was wrong""

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"shift soliniods"

Ed M., CO (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

"Transmission sometimes wouldn't go into gear after stopping, especially in reverse and would make a clunking sound when it finally went into gear. Shifting was sometimes delayed and/or rough. Problem gradually got worse over a period of 5 yrs. Shifte"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Transmission will need to be rebuilt"

Anonymous, TX (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"We've had problems with the transmission slipping into the next gear since the second year we owned it!"

Ronald H., NV (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)

"Had the transmission rebuilt about 3 months after purchase in 2013, and transmission repair in 2018."

Anonymous, MO (2004 Ford Explorer)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"solenoid replaced cost 800"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"The security system would go off periodically with out cause"

Scott M., MO (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Cruise control

"Intermitantly it fails to activate"

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)
Headlights

"i am having problems with the how wiring system the wires are breaking croaking and generally failing everywhere i love fords but this wiring system on this one sucks"

Pat T., (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Heated or cooled seats

"Driver's seat would not turn off the heat system--broken switch??"

Jennifer G., MT (2004 Ford Explorer Limited)
Interior lights

"Part of the dashboard lights have been out for years?"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Explorer)

"Dash lights no longer function & have not been able to resolve"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer 4.0-L V6)
Warning lights

"Wire harness on driver's door has documented problems with wiring being too short (wire breakage or worn our) and this causes door alarm showing door ajar. This also keeps interior lights on as well, even if vehicle is shut off"

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)
Wiper motor or washer

"Failure of the windshield washer fluid pump."

Anonymous, TX (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"After scheduled service (spark plug change) the spark plugs worked their way loose (5 out of 8) and one blew out while driving resulting in stripped threads"

Rick S., PA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)
Head gasket

"Left side had to be replaced"

A T., NJ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Timing belt or chain

"Chain broke"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"timing belt guide broke in the engine, messed everything up but I'm very happy with this vehicle. I got 265000 and it's still going"

Anonymous, NH (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Timing chain cassette failure"

Everett H., GA (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

"Timing chain broke and had to be replaced"

Robert K., CA (2004 Ford Explorer NBX 4.5-L V8)

"Idk whats wrong with it...have not taken it in"

Chris J., OK (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"At approximately 120,000 miles, I experienced some sort of noise when driving. I had taken it to the dealership who found nothing wrong with it. I took it to another service repair place, and they drove it around trying to find the problem. When they accelerated, the timing chain broke and I had to get a new engine"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"Failed after 140,000 miles. Replaced by self"

Michael B., RI (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

"Dahn warning light came on and we took it to the dealership. Had to replace the alternator"

Randy J., NV (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)
Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"had to be replaced"

A T., NJ (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Electronic ignition

"Failure of one or more of the spark plug coils."

Anonymous, TX (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)
Engine harness

"the same the hole wiring harness is failing front to back wires are cracking and breaking everywhere from front light to tale light to fuel pump power it seems the all the insulation is breaking down and the factory wiring diagram dose not match up with how the wires are run"

Pat T., (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)
Spark plugs or wires failure

"stripped threads and blew out of engine"

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Had to recoil a spark plug. It actually somehow came out of where you insert the plug and had to be rethreaded"

Dan C., WA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"The seals around the windshield deteriorated and I had to replace the windshield. The door seals are beginning to fail and will need replacing within the year."

Mike M., MO (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.5-L V8)

"Rear liftgate leaks water into the rear compartment. The plastic trip piece below the rear window is cracked from the sun; heat expansion rate of the glass is different than the plastic trim piece glued to it. This is not related to the leak."

Anonymous, WA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Drain hose for sunroof disconnected and was draining into my driver side floor. Drain had to be replaced."

Amber Z., CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Sound light the rubber bushing on the front and rear of the suspension are squeaking"

Bob E., WA (2004 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0-L V6)

"Suspension constantly squeeks and makes noise; 3rd explorer we've had that has done this from the 04 model year"

Charles M., NC (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Replaced catalytic converters after 260,000 miles"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.5-L V8)
Fuel injection system

"Electronic throttle body (throttle motor and sensor) experienced both open more than commanded and closed more than commanded; triggering fail safe mode. Replaced both motor and sensor"

Anonymous, SC (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.5-L V8)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"The fuel injector fuel pressure line sensor constantly flips whether the pressure is correct or not"

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"Bad hoses and or clamp failure"

Anonymous, UT (2004 Ford Explorer NBX 4.5-L V8)
Thermostat

"Had to replace"

Joyce G., IN (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"Large surpentine belt was shredded for air and fan belt"

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0-L V6)
Oil leaks

"Oil leaks from the valve covers just started a few months ago"

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

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