Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2002 Ford Explorer is hands-down our worst vehicle on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2003 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,038 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Feb 032007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,230 miles


Subject: Cracked panel below the rear window (tailgate appliqueé) where: 9 degrees temperature in shiloh, Illinois (15 miles East of St. Louis). Vehicle type: 2002 Ford Explorer XLS 4 door wagon 6 cyl 4.0 SOHC 51,101 miles. What: The plastic appliqueà panel below the glass on the liftgate has developed one vertical crack, approx 1/8th" in diameter running the length of the panel (approx 4.5 inches) to the right of the "Ford" emblem. Background information: After doing some research on the internet I found over 75 owners with the same problems, most in the last 3 months (cold weather). This repair is not covered by Ford extended warranty (esp). Please visit the website listed below for other customers comments. cost/comments: Auffenberg body shop (belleville, il 618-234-0330) repair cost $380 if rear window breaks add an additional $1100. Ford definitely has a quality problem with this cosmetic defect part. After contacting Ford prior approval department (800-321-7790 option #3) and customer center (800-392-3673), both offices informed me that this defect is not cover under the esp warranty. Action: Ford Motor Company should replace the panel at no charge. I look forward to your reply and a resolution to this problem. A copy of this letter will be forwarded to the Consumer Affairs, better business bureau, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office Of Defects Investigation.

- Shiloh, IL, USA

problem #5

Nov 052006


  • miles
Lift gate causes the body frame to split.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 162005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
Crack in liftgate that occurred spontaneously when weather became winter--rear wipers were used and crack occurred. Recall was done at this area dealer summer 2005 prior to correct liftgate recall.....we inquired about possible over tightening during recall service and it was denied. We have had this car since the summer of 2002 and have had it in cold weather before and up until the recall fix it never cracked. Concerned about glass falling out since the tailgate is cracked from top to bottom. The dealer asserted that it was a known problem with cracks in liftgate... since we are not under warranty we had to pay $600 to get this fixed. Mileage on the car is only 23000!!!!! it is the safety issue of glass falling out while driving or falling into the car upon my children that concerns me. Many internet websites I have been to discuss other such cracks occurring in the tailgate I don't understand why some dealers are willing to help and others don't. the prices vary too which amazes me.

- Mystic, CT, USA

problem #3

Sep 272003

Explorer 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


My 2002 Ford Explorer had it's rear glass fall off when I attempted to open it 2 days ago. I called Ford and they sounded surprised. I called them back with the information about the 50,000+ vehicles recalled for this and they remain unimpressed. I'm looking for some help. I called winchester Ford, (winchester va) 540 667 4434. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks very much, ben

- Berryville, VA, USA

problem #2

Mar 212003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have had my vehicle into the Ford dealer for the same problem at least 4 times with no success it is still under manufacturer warranty and is a 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 202003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I bought a 2002 Explorer on May 23,2002. In the past 8 months, the vehicle has been towed in because it woudn't start--acomputer chip was replaced. My A/C made a high pitch squeal and after at least five times of trying to repair the existing A/C clutch, a new one was finally put on. My front end suspension has been fixed. My midlift gate cracked in November and a new one was put on. I have had daily problems with the driver's side seat not fully going into position when I start my truck and this problem has not been fixed as the service dept. That I deal with nevers seems to be able to see the problem. Funny how it does it every day for me, though. My blinkers will sometimes stick and stay on without blinking--this also has not been fixed. At the beginning of January,2003, on the way home from a trip, my husband and I noticed that every time we slowed the truck down, there was a blast of air from the upper vents in the vehicle. This happened no matter what setting we had it in (ie. Defrost or floor vents). This past Thursday, Jan.16, the suspension was repaired and supposedly the heating system was as well. Now the air doesn't seem to leak out the top vents, but continuosly comes out of the floor vent, no matter what setting the heat is on. I have a rental vehicle once again, while they keep the vehicle overnight tonight to see if they can hopefully fix this problem. Needless to say, we are currently checking into the lemon law for our state!!!

- North Mankato, MN, USA

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