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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
66,481 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should replace the piece (27 reports)
  2. replace black plastic panel (19 reports)
  3. not sure (14 reports)
  4. i bought back to black by mothers (1 reports)
  5. replaced all the rear doors (1 reports)
  6. used "Black Box" by Turtle Wax (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Mar 012007

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


The paint on the plastic panels just started bubbling and cracking. Dealer said it was a common problem but nothing they could do about it. Referred me to the body shop for an estimate.....FORGET IT!!!!!!

- , Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #42

Dec 222006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Yep, same problem with peeling and oxidization here! It looks bad on the black paint - this should be an issue in which Ford takes some responsibility!

- , El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #41

Apr 032007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

The shiny strips between the front & Back windows is peeling off from the top. At first I thought my detailer had done this with a powered polisher, until I read on your site that other Explorer owners are having the same problem. One would think that a $35,000 vehicle would be made better. This doesn't impair it's performance in any way, but I'm sure it will impair the trade-in value!!! Is there a way we can get Ford involved in this???

- , Burnsville, NC, USA

problem #40

Apr 032007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


All of the black trim on my 2002 Ford Explorer has been fading and cracking. It just gets worse and worse. I see this on pretty much all of the Ford Explorers in my model years. This is very frustrating and seems like something that shouldn't be a problem at 45,000 mile .... the car right now is not even 5 years old.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #39

Sep 012007

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Paint quality on these plastic panels is very poor. They start fading a couple of years ago on a 2002 Ford Explorer.

- , Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #38

May 302007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

When I bought the car the panels were already fading some, at that point it didn't bother me much. Well over time they got worst. So this weekend I was in Walmart buying some car wash stuff and saw Back to Black by Mothers, I bought a bottle for around $5 and pour some on a terry cloth towel and buffed it into the panels, then let it dry. When I washed my car I made sure not to rub my wash mitt over the buffed areas and when I got done washing my car the panels looked GREAT!! I recommend giving it a try instead of wasting a lot more money at a body shop. I just don't know how long it will stay looking new I just have to wait, but I will reapply when its time. Hope this helps everyone else. I love my Explorer, and would buy another!

- , Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #37

Dec 312007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I have a crack in my explorers behind! It is to the right of the ford tag on the back hatch. Have seen it on roads and in parking lots some are way worse than mine. The other owners are aware of it too. I haven't had it fixed because I want people to see ford's attention to detail. I contacted ford directly and they said there wasn't a problem. You've got to be kidding me, really, no problem? I did have it serviced for the recall on the back hinges. Wonder if that puts a shift in pressure causing the crack?

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #36

Feb 072006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Every year, my exterior window panels look uglier and uglier. I think I'll just buy some dupli color black spray paint rather going to a body shop. Ford sucks.

- , Kihei, HI, USA

problem #35

Dec 282006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,500 miles

Yep, I've got it too. Looks tacky as hell. But have many other worse issues, so this can just be-what-it-is for now. A pitty though.

- , Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #34

Apr 182006

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Ford has had a clearcoat problem for years. My 1989 Ford Ranger also has clearcoat peeling on it. This is really annoying since I happen to work for the Sherwin Williams Company in the automotive finishes section of the company!!!!!

- , Berea, KY, USA

problem #33

Jul 312008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


Its annoying and really makes my car look tacky. i wish ford would have done something to prevent it.

- , Roseville, CA, USA

problem #32

Jul 022007

Explorer EB V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Pillar Pealing starting at the top working its way down to the bottom on all pillars

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #31

Apr 302006

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

definitely a quality issue. 60,000 miles & the finish is bad??? You've got to be kidding.

- , St James, MO, USA

problem #30

Jun 152006

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Faded paint between windows on both sides. Clear coat is cracked and peeling. Ford says it's common for paint to start fading on cars more than 5 years old in Texas. This is a 2002 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #29

Jun 192004

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


- , West End, NC, USA

problem #28

Sep 212004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Why does this happen to the Explorers? Did they put all cheap parts on this SUV? This is a nice looking SUV. Both defects take away from the Explorer. Does the Ford place not care? I paid a lot of money for this thing. Never Again!!!!!

- , Kannapolis, NC, USA

problem #27

Oct 012005

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

I had a 1987 ford F-150 SC with a major paint peeling problem in 1991, Ford repainted it. I only found out about the recall when i went to a dealer for an estimate, the body shop told me to call ford. I called Ford and they set me up to have the problem fixed. I was very happy and impressed with the entire deal. Young Ford in Charlotte NC did one outstanding paint job. When it was time to buy a new vehicle, i decided to go with the Explorer XLS. I am not much for all those bells and Whistles. I had the vehicle 2 years and noticed the D pillar plastic covers were starting to fade and peel. I went to the dealer where i purchased the vehicle from, and they replaced them under warranty. Just one month past my warranty, i had the same problem with the B pillar plastic covers. My dealer would not fix the problem because it was out of warranty, even they new it was an occurring problem. Back on the phone with ford, they told me it was not covered and there was no recall, not enough complaints. This brings me to my next point about Ford Motor Co. I had a conversation with a co-worker who is an ordained Minister, and he gave me an insight to a web sight for American Family Association. Mr. co-worker gave me a copy off their web sight back in late 2006, early 2007 about how Ford Gave Millions of dollar to the Gay and Lesbian organization, i was shocked. In December of 2007, my co-worker again gave another copy from the AFA sight, this time it said FORD MOTOR COMPANY offers sex change benefits. What is wrong with this picture? Ford won't fix one of their defects, but will take care of somebody's defect. I have purchased my last Ford product. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, you are disgusting. Oh by the way.there is not one 2002 explorer on the road in NC that does not have this problem.FORD OPEN UP YOUR EYES TO YOUR PROBLEMS, NOT SOMEONE ELSES.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #26

Jan 012005

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,427 miles

The black panels between the windows are faded and make the vehicle look horrible. I asked the Ford dealer why this was happening and they told me it was due to sun. Well, every vehicle sits out in the sun and I don't see this problem on other vehicles. Ford will not accept responsibility for defects in their automobiles. This will be the last Ford I every buy.

- , Valencia, CA, USA

problem #25

Feb 032005

(reported on)

Explorer EB

  • 35,000 miles

The trim piece (color of the body) directly below the window on the rear hatch split one evening when it got down to 15 degrees. I suspect it was from the sold (though I live in Atlanta, so it's not like we're in the frozen tundra). When I brought the car into the dealer, they said they had seen this issue on a few other 2002's but that since I was 2 months out of warranty (though still below my mileage limit) they wouldn't help. Ford refuses to fix what is a CLEAR MANUFACTURER'S DEFECT. I am looking to find other people that have this problem (the service guys at my Ford dealer had seen 3 themselves, and that was at only one dealer) and file a class action suit against Ford.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #24

Jan 012007

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I have a nice automobile and the Ford company is making their product look very bad. I thought Ford stood behind their work. This truck is not old enough to look so bad. Yes I'm shame to say I won a Ford. I usually purchase an Olds Mobile and I should have went with someone else. This vehicle is too nice of a truck to have the panels fade and crack. Shame on Ford.

- , Mobile, AL, USA

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