fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
75,265 miles
Total Complaints:
760 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 reports)
  2. not sure (204 reports)
  3. replace panel (115 reports)
  4. possible class action lawsuit (62 reports)
  5. call Ford motor company 1-800-241-3673 (27 reports)
  6. do not buy Ford again (25 reports)
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

problem #760

Dec 152014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The plastic panel, under the lift gate window cracked, due to temperature change. This allowed moisture in and caused the latch to stick closed.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #759

Jul 282017

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,400 miles

When the Explorer was bought used in 2015 the cracks that are common in this panel did not exist. We purposely did not open the glass part of the lift gate to avoid cracking it. Eventually it cracked on its own just from opening the full tailgate. Then recently the lift gate latch keeper bolts/studs rusted behind the cracked panel and the glass lift gate released on its own. The interior lights came on as a result. This drained my battery in this summers heat. I had to purchase a new battery.

To avoid this battery issue from happening again, I rigged the lift gate latch with zip ties through the holes to temporarily hold the lift gate shut. It won't hold long like this so I need to fix the attachment parts that rusted behind the glass and then the colored cover panel that is now badly cracked, The cracking of this very poorly designed and poor material choice part let water in behind it after cracking. This caused rust of the latch attachment studs.

Ford's issuance of VSB's about this issue are proof they were aware and should still be on the hook for such poor design of this widespread tailgate issue that is a safety concern.

- , Fenton, MO, US

problem #758

Feb 112009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,140 miles

2004 Ford Explorer rear Ford Panel under the outside window cracked just from shutting the rear hatch.

Seems this is a problem reported by a lot of owners but Ford has done nothing to address this problem.

Devalues your vehicle due to there bad qc control issues.

Waiting on a recall.

- , Delta, CO, USA

problem #757

Dec 272014

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The crack in the panel below the rear window occurred in Dec. 2014. The car was 10 years old by then. I thought I had simply closed the window gate too hard and it cracked because of that. Then I started noticing at least one Explorer everyday with the same crack. It seems to me that Ford should be replacing the panels.

- , Portland, OR, US

problem #756

Jul 042013

Explorer Limited 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have seen many Ford Explorers with this same issue. I don't understand why Ford won't fix this issue it is clearly a defect on all Explorers. I will NEVER BUY A FORD.

- , Keller, TX, US

problem #755

Feb 222012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Looks like a common problem but Ford refuses to acknowledge issue. Very expensive to fix and it re-occurs after fixing

- , Loveland, CO, USA

problem #754

Sep 152010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My 2004 Ford Explorer as of today 10/7/2016 has a little over 80k miles, so not very much miles!!! The crack around the back emblem started in 2010 and is completely around the emblem!! Every Ford Explorer I've seen seems to have this same issue and apparently due to poor manufacturing in that particular area!!! Ford needs to recall and fix this!!!!

- , Lancaster, SC, US

problem #753

Feb 042017

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,111 miles

ford knows about the problem it on all of the cars

- , Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #752

Dec 212016

Explorer Limited 5.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,618 miles

Called Ford Motor about the Explorer, all I got was that they would "note it" for reference and transferred me to my local dealer. Talked to a very nice service rep who tried to get Ford to fix it. A very well known fact that Ford knows about from the beginning and just refused to fix it.

- , Springfield, MO, US

problem #751

Sep 012015

Explorer XLT Sport 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

This was cracked when I got vehicle. Noticed it seems to be common for explorers/mountaineers of the lineage.

- , Egg Harbor City, NJ, USA

problem #750

Jan 022016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

The lift gate cracked about a year ago on my Explorer. I have a friend whose also cracked. I posted on facebook today about it, and there are about 30 people commented that their Ford Explorer liftgate cracked also. This seems to be a problem that Ford needs to correct. No reason for the body of any vehicle to crack like this.

- , Morganton, NC, USA

problem #749

Aug 202015

Explorer LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Crack on rear panel. Notice several other Explorers about the same model year with the same issue.

- , Wausau, WI, USA

problem #748

Dec 102013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,469 miles


- , Byron, GA, USA

problem #747

Apr 152006

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

after 4 years living with the cracks, a rear end accident forced entire door to be replaced. I thought problem was solved. 6 months later, it cracked again. It now has 3 cracks. The panel is now taped on to hopefully stop panel from falling off. It looks terrible and will certainly influence selling or trade-in.I am in Fl., and 98% are craked. Can't believe Ford can get away without solving the problem. Ford has refused to fix it.

- , Holiday, FL, USA

problem #746

Jan 012007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

have repaired several times...

- , Stratford, CT, USA

problem #745

Jul 212007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,500 miles

I have contacted Ford about this problem and I was told they had no complaints. Just about all the 04 Explorers I have seen have the same problem. Ford needs to take care of this as good customer relations. They must have had many complaints about this problem. From 05 on the gate design has been changed. FORD ... ARE YOU LISTENING ...???????

- , Clarksville, MD, USA

problem #744

Mar 022016

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

My Explorer has the crack on the rear hatch just right of the Ford logo, which appears to be a VERY common flaw. Ford needs to make this right!

- , Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #743

Jun 192015

Explorer XLT 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,370 miles

So when is Ford going to make good on this. I asked at my mechanic shop and they tell me they have a couple of customers who had their glass shatter after reporting the rear trim plate had cracked. I think that once the trim cracked it causes some stress on the glass and can make glass explode. I am concerned that it could happen to me.

No one seems to offer a fix except to replace panel. It looks like the panel is glued to glass underneath and this would take a special procedure to remove it. Can't seem to get any answers. The dealer tells me it will cost about $500.00 to replace and will not cover it under any type of recall or warranty.

When is Ford going to live up to their defect and issue a recall? I have owned 3 Explorers all from new and This is the first I've seen this happen. Will think twice before buying a new one this year.

- , Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #742

Feb 022009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,500 miles

It seemed like my panel cracked because of the cold since it was just there when I woke up one morning. Every Explorer of the same vintage that I see on the road has the same crack. Ford wants owners to be loyal, yet they let this widespread problem go unresolved.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #741

Jan 192016

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Well, on January 19, 2016, I joined the thousands of explorer owners who have had their rear hatch panel crack from bottom of rear window, to bottom of panel. I have a 2004 with just 96k miles! Nope, it's not freeze related, so don't believe that crap. I'm in Wa, and there was no freeze. No it isn't the wiper motor, as some have claimed. In the morning it wasn't there(45 degrees), and in the midday(50 degrees) it was cracked. I believe it's a material fatigue. Why didn't jerks at ford just use aluminum or some other metal instead of some stupid hybrid formula. Considering all the use a hatch panel gets, you'd think someone would have a brain, but apparently collectively, they didnt. I researched the class action suit going on, and it's a joke. ford managed to get the critical fix part of suit dismissed, so I doubt we'll get jack. I also did research on the fix. The only one out there worth anything is a plastic after market panel. To get it all done is still over $200ish for panel, install, and painting. not sure I will do it, but will wait until summer when weather dry and sunny. I haven't heard or read anything that guarantees the replacement will be crack free for life. If I had known the problem spanned 4 years of models, I wouldn't have bought it. A friend of mine owns a 2003, and his crack is far worse, and he never got it fixed. In 2004, or so, ford changed materials, but found it still cracked, and still no recall. I believe that since it's a body defect, ford should step up and pay for the replacement panels, and installs. Part of me wants to join other thousands and leave the crack for all to see. Would I buy another ford? well yes. And that's because other automakers are just as bad, and sometimes worse. A crack in a back panel wont kill us, unlike other problems with other vehicles. I got this explorer in 2008, but there wasn't enough on the internet to suggest I shouldn't buy it. Now there is. Time tells. When this vehicle croaks, if I don't first, I'm not sure at this point what I would get. It's rare to have honesty in manufacturing these days, so it's buyer beware for virtually everything. I bought my explorer used, and can say i'm really glad I did. Can you imagine outlaying a small fortune, and possibly still having payments and having this happen? sucky. When and if, I get the panel repaired, I will post the outcome.

Oh, and before I forget, I got some silicon seal that stays flexible, as you really should seal any cracks anyway. Plus, I sealed the lower rubber of the window, just to be sure all would stay dry. There could be more problems if moisture gets to motor, or wiring, or whatever, so don't put it off. So far the clear flexible seal is working thru tons of rain. And, by the way, my friend who has a 2003; his crack went down the center and affected his locking the hatch. i'm fortunate as mine was to the right side of the ford logo(awful reminder), and so lock not affected. But, there's no guarantee another crack wont show up somewhere with material fatigue. That's what makes this whole problem with us owners, irritating. Ford should fix all their major complaints for everything!!!

- , Lynnwood, WA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »