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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,634 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 #7

Sep 052016


  • 157,000 miles


While parked in my driveway the back window (lift gate window) was raised to remove things from the back of the vehicle as soon as the window was being closed about halfway down it exploded and sent glass flying all around outside and inside the vehicle. The bottom piece of the window with the wiper was hanging from the electrical cord everything else was gone. There was no force on the window and nothing obstructing it the whole thing just exploded for no apparent reason. It was very scary and could have caused serious injuries. Luckily no one in this situation was injured. My family have spent hours removing all of the shattered glass from the driveway and yard. It sent glass flying as far as to the front of the vehicle.

- La Rue, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 022016


  • 206,000 miles
When I turn my windshield wipers on they stay on low and will not go off unless I turn the truck off with the wipers in off position. My O/D off light started blinking when I was driving down the road when I turn the truck off for a few minutes it goes off, but comes on a little bit later while driving.

- Albertville, AL, USA

problem #5

Feb 162015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
While pushing up on the rear panel the glass making up the rear window exploded - shattered.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #4

Nov 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


Crack in rear lift gate panel that led to shattered rear window upon normal closing.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 142013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 140 miles
At approximately 12:30 pm, a brief rain shower began and the windshield wipers failed to operate. After replacement of the wiper motor, and significant troubleshooting, it is likely that the GEM module is defective. There had been several days of light, moderate, and heavy rain preceding this issue, during which the automobile was not driven. After this incident, the door-ajar light stays on, the automatic door locks do not work, and there are other electrical issues.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 140,738 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the lift gate window was shattered on the ground. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. After diagnosis they advised him that the hinges fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 140,738. The current mileage was approximately 149,229.

- Ludington, MI, USA

problem #1

Feb 102013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 98,559 miles
We opened the rear window to get something out of the trunk, lifted the window and the window exploded and crashed on my husband's head. It seems as if the hydrolics failed on each side of the rear window. Glass just shattered and was everywhere. My husband's hands were cut and his head was banged up.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

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