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CarComplaints.com 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.

6.0

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$195.00
Average Mileage:
65,405 miles
Total Complaints:
60 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should replace the piece (26 reports)
  2. replace black plastic panel (17 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 1 of 3)

problem #60

May 122010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

It started off with the panel just coming loose. No problem, I called a friend of mine that works at a body shop and he told me what kind of adhesive to get. It worked for a month and then started coming loose again. I tried to peel it off, but it wouldn't go. Then one day as I am driving down a busy interstate, the panel flies off, almost hitting the car behind me. Now, the window on my liftgate is incredibly hard to close. This is more than just an aesthetics issue, it is a safety issue for every Explorer/ Expedition owner. Almost every one I see around town is either cracked or missing. Ford needs to do something.... It is a liability!!!

- , Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #59

Mar 012012

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Ive tried polishing the black plastic but it continues to fade.

Now some of it is grey.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #58

Dec 312008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

FORD SHOULD REPLACE ALL OF THESE PANELS. YOU PAY TOO DAMN MUCH FOR THESE VEHICLES TO HAVE THEM CRUMBLE APART LONG BEFORE THEIR USEFUL LIFE IS COMPLETE.

- , League City, TX, USA

problem #57

Aug 312006

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Every Explorer I see has this problem. Seriously Ford, take responsibility for a poor quality part and do a recall. This is a cheap problem to fix. I have tried all the "back to black" products, but if the surface is peeling, like mine, it doesn't work. Yet another issue ford fails to recognize as a recall. I am done with Ford Explorers!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #56

Jun 302004

Explorer ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

the black panels in between the doors and on the back, also the black color on the mirrors and on the door handles started to fade and peeling right away. I love my truck but I hate to see this on it. It's not like ford doesn't have the money to fix this problem.

- , riverside, CA, USA

problem #55

Apr 012006

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,855 miles

Again, another insult by Ford on this 2002 Ford Explorer. The rear quarter panels fade then crack. My vehicle has always been garaged! If this vehicle was left outside all the time then I would expect some fading but not to crack. This problem should have been recalled by Ford but Ford believes it is not their concern. What a shame. It's a good way not to buy another Ford product again.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #54

Jan 052010

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I live in a part of the country that has freezing temps in the winter. The cracks have occurred during very cold weather. I have seen many Ford explorers of my cars body type with cracks in the back panel. I got an estimate on it yesterday for 1500.00. I see it a a defect in the car. It's obviously not made for cold weather although it is equipped with 4 wheel drive. The Guy who gave me the estimate said he see's it all the time and is surprised there's not a class action suit against ford for this.

- , Spokane Valley, WA, USA

problem #53

Oct 262009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

All the black pieces the ones in between the doors and the ones on the backside of my truck, besides when the hatch window closes...this is by far the worst "looking" part of my truck!

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #52

Jul 212004

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

I see so many other Explorers with the same problem. I usually drive foreign cars and decided to go with this explorer years ago and I hate it when you mention a problem and you hear, oh yea, those vehicles are "known" for that. With the ball joint issues the Explorers are known for and this cracked rear window cover it is just wrong that Ford has turned their back on this. No wonder Toyota sells so many vehicles and rarely would you hear, they are known for that problem!

- , Wolverine Lake, MI, USA

problem #51

Aug 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

The clear coat started to peel off on the panels between the doors. It was also starting to do this above the rear hatch lid. Took it to the dealer and they said they never saw anything like it (yea right!). They suggested that I buy new pre-painted panels (no estimate). Since I had enough of this Explorer costing in repairs over the years, I decided to get a temporary fix to the problem, so I could trade it in. A local parts store suggested that I use the product called Black Box by Turtle Wax. This product has a cleaner liquid, detailer liquid and a liquid wax. Basically, all the components to this kit contains black paint in the product. It took me almost 4 hours to apply the product and buff, but what great results. The Explorer shined a deep rich black showing no scratches and hardly any nicks. The kit has enough to do actually two Explorers. It also masked the missing clear coat problem. It is by all mean not a permanent fix but I was told it would last a few months. BTW... my roof rack started to peel off paint too. The only way to fix that is to repaint it.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #50

May 312010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

i wish i could find a way to repair or replace the panels between the windows that are fading from top to bottom. it looks LIKE POOP. any suggestions? please help

- , Richfield, MN, USA

problem #49

May 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Gloss paint is disappearing from top to bottom, leaving a lovely junk yard look to my otherwise 'like new' vehicle.......

- , Riverview, FL, USA

problem #48

Dec 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

this seems to be a big issue wonder why ford won't recall it

- , ridgely, MD, USA

problem #47

May 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

all the Grey trim on this vehicle is turning light and dark in places.The plastic is just breaking down.Pretty nice for a garage kept vehicle thats 8 years old with 85,000 miles.

- , Taylorsville, KY, USA

problem #46

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I put that this started in 2006 but it was more like 2004/2005. The car wasn't even 2 years old & the black panels have lost their gloss/clear coat & are bubbling & now the black panels are turning gray. I love my car but this needs to be fixed. I want to drive it for another few years & I know it can look so much better.

- , Lomita, CA, USA

problem #45

Aug 012009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

This is the second Explorer that I have owned. The first one was 1998 Eddie Bower,had no problems with paint, etc. Purchase this 2002 Explorer new and when I took it to have it waxed they began to point out problems with the black panels between the windows, paint chipping off in other places (ex. rear door, front fender and a really bad place near the wheel well on the driver's side) I am considering buy a new vehicle, but right now I don't think it will be a Ford! Also since I am complaining, I might as well mention the drivers seat, vinyl is cracking and the cloth on the seat shows wear really bad. With the cost of an Explorer, you'd think Ford would do better!!!!

- , Peterstown, WV, USA

problem #44

Apr 152004

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

Black rear quarter panels and black panels between side windows looked flaky and were faded in less than 3 years on a new vehicle. I suspect the Phoenix (AZ) area intense sun is not helping. Four panels were replaced by dealer under warranty, but an additional panel on each side now appears flaky over 50% of the surface. I suspect those are the same two panels that were not earlier replaced.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

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

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