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2004 FORD EXPLORER PROBLEMS – SHOULD YOU STAY AWAY?

2004 FORD EXPLORER PROBLEMS – SHOULD YOU STAY AWAY?

2004 Ford Explorer is the second-worst model year for this company when it comes to total reported complaints to the carcomplaints.com  website. This website is designed to allow car owners to report problems related to mechanical issues with their vehicles. Now, it is usually normal for earlier model years to receive more complaints; however, Ford Explorer has modeled since 1991, and there have been lots of complaints reported only since 2002. 


According to carcomplaints.com, about 2,462 complaints were received about the 2004 Ford Explorer model year, which is considered a relatively high number of complaints. Most of the reported complaints have to do with the body and paint, transmission, interior, and engine. While the high complaints number might not reflect a negative impact on a specific vehicle if the repair costs are low, the majority of reported 2004 Ford Explorer complaints required very expensive repair costs. 

Despite the long list of problems reported, the 2004 Ford Explorer is not a terrible vehicle. Several websites indicated that this vehicle provides great riding experience, comes with a very strong engine, contains a user-friendly infotainment system, and has a good record of crash scores. 

The intend of this article is to provide current 2004 Ford Explorer owners with some idea about what type of mechanical problems to expect, what are the suggested repair options, and repair costs. We also target the new buyers and assist them in making a good decision of whether to buy this vehicle or not based on an intensive knowledge of the mechanical problems of this vehicle

In this article, we provide a quick overview of the main characteristics of the 2004 Ford Explorer. Then, we summarize in detail the most commonly reported complaints about this vehicle to carcomplaints.com. We focus on the problem category, problem details, reported repairs and repair costs, problem ranking, and the mileage at which the problem occurred. 

2004 Ford Explorer description

 

The 2004 Ford Explorer marks the 14th model year for this company. This vehicle comes with either a 4.0 V6 engine or a 4.6 L V8 engine. This engine is associated with five-speed automatic transmission and has a towing capacity that ranges from 5,400 to 7,160 lbs. 

The vehicle provides up to 16 miles per gallon on the city roads and 21 miles per gallon on the highways. There are five different configurations that the model provides, including the XLS, XLT, NBX, Eddie Bauer, and Limited; each one has its fuel economy characteristics. 

 

Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2004 Ford Explorer starts at $26,600 and can get as high as $37,555.

2004 Ford Explorer Problems

In this section, we summarize the most reported complaints to carcomplaints.com about the 2004 Ford Explorer vehicle. There is a total of 2,462 reported complaints about this car; most of these complaints have to do with the vehicle’s body and paint, transmission, interior, engine, and AC and heating system.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer body and paint problems

 

 

More than 880 owners reported complaints regarding issues with the 2004 Ford Explorer body and paint problems. The majority of these problems are related to issues with the panel below the window, problems with peeling paint, issues with the rusting body, and problems with glass falling off. 

A very large number of complaints were received regarding problems with the 2004 Ford Explorer panel below the window. Most of these problems were resolved by replacing the panel for $460. The problem was reported mostly by vehicles around 75,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Fairly Significant,” or 6.4/10.

Another group of owners indicated several spots where the vehicle’s paint would start peeling by itself. The problem was resolved by repainting the parts for about $540 on average. This problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 60,000, and it was ranked as “Pretty Bad,” or 7.3/10.

Furthermore, it was reported that the 2004 Ford Explorer has a poor body quality that would allow body rusting in several locations of the car. The problem was resolved by replacing the rusted part of the vehicle. While the website did not include information about repair costs, it indicated that most vehicles who have the same problem were at about 80,000 miles. The problem was ranked as “Fairly Significant,” or 6.9/10. 

The last problem we would like to highlight here has to do with issues with the hood paint. At least eight owners mentioned that the paint no the hood would start bubbling then peeling off. To resolve the issue, they had to either install a bug deflector to hide the problem or repair the hood for about $1,200. The problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 100,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Fairly Significant,” or 5.5/10.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

 

 

Six hundred one complaints regarding transmission problems are a lot! Transmission repairs are the most expensive when it comes to any vehicle’s mechanical repairs, and drivers don’t want to hear about it. The majority of reported transmission complaints of the 2004 Ford Explorer have to do with shifting, transmission failure, issues with reverse, and vibration.

About 400 complaints were reported regarding unexpected significant issues with shifting. These complaints indicated that owners could not switch gears without any previous warnings. Unfortunately, the only way to resolve the issue was to rebuild or replace the transmission for about $2,040 on average. The problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 70,000, and it was ranked as “Pretty Bad,” or 7.9/10.

Transmission failure is not a rare problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer, where more than 150 complaints were received regarding this issue. To resolve the problem, all owners had to install a new or rebuild the transmission for about $2,800 on average. The problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 90,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Really Awful,” or 9.1/10.

More than 20 people reported that their vehicle wouldn’t reverse suddenly without any previous warning signs. The problem was also resolved by replacing the transmission for about $2650 on average. The problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 100,000, and it was ranked as “Really Awful,” or 9.6/10.

Lastly, several owners reported that their transmission would start jerking, vibrating, and lunging when shifting gears. Although the website did not include information about repair options or repair costs, the problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 60,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Fairly Significant,” or 6.4/10.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer interior problems

 

 

The third most reported problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer has to do with the vehicle’s interior, with a total of 324 reported complaints. These complaints were related to issues with the O/D light, problems with the sun visors, issues with some gears, and problems with the gas gauge.

A large group of owners reported that their 90,000 miles 2004 Ford Explorer would have a flashing O/D light continuously without a clear reason. After taking the vehicle to the mechanic, it turned to be the transmission. Unfortunately, the problem was resolved by replacing the transmission for about $2,2420. It was ranked as “Pretty Bad,” 8.3/10.

Several complaints were also received regarding a broken plastic mount that holds the sun visor. As a result, the visor got shattered and caused a distraction to vision. The problem was resolved by replacing the sun visor for about $170, and it was mostly reported by vehicles around 70,000. The problem received a ranking of 7.6/10 or “Pretty Bad.”

Furthermore, several owners mentioned that they had issues with the broken vehicle’s gears. This problem happened suddenly while some of the drivers were in the middle of the street blocking other vehicles. To get the problem resolved, they had to replace the steering column for about $1,010. The problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 80,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Really Awful,” or 9.0/10.

The last problem we would like to highlight here has to do with the fuel gauge. Many owners reported that their odometer gage is malfunctioning and doesn’t report the actual numbers. To solve the problem, they had to either replace the fuel pump, the fuel filler neck, or the entire fuel gage for about $730. This problem was mostly reported by vehicles around 50,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Fairly Significant,” or 6.1/10.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

 

 

Similar to transmission issues, engine problems are also the type of problems that require high repair costs. For the 2004 Ford Explorer, more than 144 complaints were received regarding issues with the vehicle’s engine. The majority of these problems have to do with complete engine failure, crankshaft, the problem with the timing chain, and issues with the harmonic balancer. 

Complete engine failure is not a rare problem with the 2004 Ford Explorer, especially with more than 40 similar reported problems. The owners of these vehicles reported sudden engine failure despite the regular maintenance indicating major issues with the engine’s quality. The problem was resolved by replacing the entire engine part for about $3,770, which is a very high price. Most vehicles with similar problems were at 90,000 miles, and the problem was ranked as “Really Awful,” or 9.4/10.

Other owners mentioned that their crankshaft pully got damaged without any previous warning signs. The problem was resolved by replacing the crankshaft pulley for about $560. This issue was mostly reported by vehicles around 90,000 miles, and it was ranked as “Pretty Bad,” or 7.6/10.

A failed timing chain guide was also reported by about eight owners of 120,000 miles 2004 Ford Explorer. To resolve the problem, they all had to replace the timing chain guide for about $3,470. This issue was ranked as “Really Awful,” or 9.2/10.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer other problems

 

 

In this section, we group other less frequently reported problems with the 2004 Ford Explorer. These problems are related to the AC and heating system, windows, brakes, and suspension.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer AC and heating system problems

 

 

About 110 complaints were received regarding issues with the AC and heating system of the 2004 Ford Explorer vehicle. The majority of the issues are related to broken blend door, heating system blowing cold air, blower not working at all, and issues with the defroster not blowing any air.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer windows problems

 

 

Windows problems were also reported several times by many 2004 Ford Explorer owners. Some of these problems include rear window has defective hinges, some windows not working at all, windshield blow up suddenly, and cracks in the rear window.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer brakes problems

 

 

Fewer complaints were received regarding issues with the 2004 Ford Explorer brakes. Some of these problems are related ABS lights turn on without a clear reason, problems with the emergency brakes, issues with the antilock brakes, and premature brake wear.

 

  • 2004 Ford Explorer suspension problems

 

 

Similar to the brake problems, few complaints were received regarding the 2004 Ford Explorer suspension problems. Most of these complaints indicated issues with the ball joints, hearing some squeaks in suspension, and issues with broken coil springs.

Conclusion

 

The 2004 Ford Explorer is the second-worst model year for this company when it comes to the total number of reported complaints to the carcomplaints.com website. On this website, people can report any information about the mechanical problems they face during the lifetime of their vehicles.

Unfortunately, the majority of reported 2004 Ford Explorer problems were related to the transmission and the engine, which required high repair costs. Additional commonly reported issues are body and paint, interior, and AC and heating.

In most of our articles, we mention that a high number of complaints doesn’t mean a terrible vehicle if these complaints require easy fixes. However, in the case of the 2004 Ford Explorer, the high number of reported complaints is a real concern because most of these complaints required high repair costs indicating significant issues with the quality of this vehicle. 

The goal of this article was to educate current owners about the different types of mechanical problems in the 2004 Ford Explorer. Furthermore, this article helps new buyers decide whether to buy this car or not.