2004 Ford Explorer 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic
I'm considering purchasing a used 2003-2005 Ford Explorer for my daughter. I'ver heard that those years (starting in 2002 with the introduction of newly designed transmission) have a higher than normal frequency of transmission failure. We are planning on having the vehicle inspected.
My question is: will an pre-purchase inspection find indications of incipient failure or of a unit that may eventuallly fail. Are there things in particular that need to be checked. Is it advisable to take the vehicle to a transmission specialist for inspection.
First, I would always recommend having the vehicle inspected by a third party that has no interest in selling the vehicle. So, yes have it done. As far as the transmissions being a problem within the years you stated, honestly, they are no different than any other year. The Explorer is a good vehicle when maintained and will run for a lot of miles when properly taken care of. However, are not the original owner, so I understand your concern.
I would recommend having the vehicle inspected by both your state inspection mechanic and a transmission mechanic. It would be money well spent. Please remember, a pre-inspection may show no problems, but problems can still come up after the fact that were not detectable during the initial inspection. If the trans is making noise, shifting funny, or the check engine light is on, make sure to have the computer scanned for trouble codes. Most parts stores will do that for free, so there will be no money out of your pocket.
As far as other things, make sure the engine is running at a proper temo and not hot, check the 4wd to make sure it works. There have been problems with the 4wd actuator motor that will cause the vehicle not to go into 4wd. Also, make sure you check for leaks such as oil, coolant, transmission fluid.
Other than that, it should be a good vehicle if all checks out well. My wife and I have had one for 5 years. The only work (other than maintenance) we have done to it was an ignition coil.
Let me know if you have other questions. Also, if you plan to purchase it from a dealer, ask if they will let you drive it for a couple days to make sure you want it. Put as many miles as you can on it to see if it runs well or you find problems.