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:
78,876 miles
Total Complaints:
617 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should pay for it (396 reports)
  2. not sure (85 reports)
  3. paid to have rear panel replaced (47 reports)
  4. file complaint with NHTSA to get a recall issued (26 reports)
  5. start a class action suit and get damages reimbursed (16 reports)
  6. dealership replaced the entire panel (10 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 22 of 31)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #197

Jan 032008

Explorer EB 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


'02 Ford Explorer rear hatch trim panel cracked yesterday. Wife noticed and called to ask if I'd backed into anything. I had not and upon looking at rear hatch, the panel has multiple cracks at left of emblem. The car is pretty dirty at the moment and there were clearly no marks indicating it had been hit or touched. Only my fingerprints!

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #196

Aug 062006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This problem is widespread and should stimulate a class action suit or recall

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #195

Dec 272007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

While washing my explorer in colder temperature I noticed this crack below the window on the rear panel. A pretty substantial crack. I noticed it practically closes up in warmer temperature. But, thats not the point, this definitely should be Ford's repair. I have garaged this car from day one, I live in Southern California and the temperatures are mild, no salt. This is a joke. I am seriously doubt I will buy another ford after the amount of issues I have had with this one. Frustrating!!!!!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #194

Jan 022008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,469 miles


noticed crack in the back and was extremely pissed off because of the fact that it was'nt therea couple of hours before. The crack was very huge any way the weather did get extremely cold but I'll have to wait to see what the Dealer will do, when I called them and reported the problem they said to bring it in to see if Ford would be willing to pay for it. Hoping they will it's a 2002 ford Explorer. Have had it for two years now and I hope that it doesn't become a real pain in my pocket.

- , Ridgewood, NY, USA

problem #193

Nov 222004

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles

I purchased a used 2002 ford explorer in 2004. low millage 18,000 to be exact. that November i noticed a crack on the panel below the rear window. it extended all the way down to the ford emblem. Called my dealer said it was not covered. called ford customer service main office. I was told it was not covered and there was not a recall on it. I was told there were no other complaints of that problem. I suggest they look at the internet on sites like yours how many owners were having the sto see same problem. i was told that what is put on sites is not considered complaints, they are usually people just sounding off. I then said well i am call you and i want something done about this. I was told to add a complaint and it will go into the data base. that i did and still nothing is being done. Now in 2007 i have another crack and they fill with water when it rains ..... one only knows what it is doing to the inside of the lift gate. Ford should make good for this with a redesigned panel since i see that others who have had them repaired are expierencing it again with a another crack in the new panel.If there is a class action in the making please let me know ...... this is not a cheap vehicle.

- , Medford, NY, USA

problem #192

Dec 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Cold weather set in one night and when i woke up my panel was cracked. A line starting from the middle of the back glass down to the right side of the ford symbol to the end of the panel then stops. My whole back part of my car fell off one day too and they didnt fix the recall right. If thats not bad my freaking transmission blew up, but thats a different complaint. POS car!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #191

Aug 152006

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles


We've had the same problem with the cracked panel under the rear window. Extended warranty did not cover and it happened after I brought my car in for the recall. The cracks are identical on both sides and recently cracked to the bottom and are very wide. It's very unattractive and at first I thought somebody had tried to break into my car! In addition to this problem the check engine light and overdrive lights are constantly flashing or on even after getting them checked out! I really wanted to purchase a Ford Expedition next but there is no way Ford will be receiving my business again. Please contact me if there is a class action suit.

- , Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #190

Dec 172007

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I am very upset that the BODY of the Ford 2002 is only under warranty for 36,000 miles. I will never buy another FORD. This should be recalled. There are antique cars out there whose bodies are intact--why is mine falling apart after 5 years and being garage-kept?

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #189

Dec 202006

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. The piece gets cold (and wet from the rear glass cleaner) and the plastic makes a huge Y-Crack. I talked to the Ford dealership and they gave me an estimate of $350. Talked to Ford customer service and they said they knew of no problems and there are no recalls on the vehicle. The real reason they won't recall it is because there are so many of them to fix.

- , Wadena, MN, USA

problem #188

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This is crazy that this many people are having the same problem and Ford hasn't done a recall yet. I haven't done anything with it yet. I guess I should start complaining to Ford. I've had so many problems with this 2002 Explorer, I will never buy another Ford product. My first and last!

- , Ballwin, MO, USA

problem #187

Sep 122006

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


I have been watching/reading the autobeef complaints. I also have 2002 explorer with a cracked rear panel under the rear glass. This is utterly ridiculous and an obvious Ford goof and defect. I am in the market for another vehicle, guess what? It will never be another Ford. It is no wonder they are loosing the auto market. Have you driven a ford lately? What a joke. Class action, yes.

- , Parma, OH, USA

problem #186

Dec 172007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

If Ford wants to continue losing customers, all they have to do is nothing. This Has

been a big problem for a lot of people and Ford should not forget us. After all if it

would not be for us they would not be around.

- , Madawaska, ME, USA

problem #185

Dec 012007

Explorer XL 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

As with many of you that may have the same problem Ford will not repair it out of warranty. I took my truck to the dealer, who sent me to his body manager. I began to tell the manager I have a 2002 Explorer and the back window (he stopped me and said it

cracked and the bad news is if your not under warranty you have to pay to have it repaired). It would cost me $300.00 + for them to repair it and they won't guaranty it will not crack again. My truck has 73000 miles and no dents, dings or scratches. He also told me that he has many customers come in with the same problem. Ford will not own up to the problem and won't give the dealer the authority to repair it at no cost to the dealer.

I think Ford should repair this even though it is not a safety issue but there may not be that many owners that have this problem which is a defect in design or material so it woiuld cost them all that much. It is a problem that Ford should own up to and repair it.

- , Coventry, RI, USA

problem #184

Dec 122007

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,500 miles

Is there anyone pursuing a class action suit or something to force Ford into paying for this. This seems to be a very widespread problem.

- , Altoona, PA, USA

problem #183

Dec 172007

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,500 miles

Just noticed the other day that the rear panel was cracked completely through. I'm fed up enough with this car that I'm about to get rid of it and buy a Honda before the transmission fails. Of course this issue happens just as I'm about to get it appraised for the trade value.

Ford has lost me as a potential customer with this and other issues. Until I can log into this site, and see 2 complaints for a Ford as I do with Honda/Toyota's, I'm going to be buying those brands.

- , Lyndhurst, OH, USA

problem #182

Dec 302007

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,422 miles

Well, my problem started just like most of you a hair thin crack on my rear panel (actually, there are several cracks). I ignored it for a really long time but after months go by the crack just seems to get wider and wider it is not to the point where I can see through the crack, I have even been flagged down by 7 FORD EXPLORER DRIVERS WITH THE SAME PROBLEM!!!!!!! I took my car in for the rear hatch recall and I asked the mechanic what they can do about my cracked panel, I got a good laugh out of him and he stated to me that my car is no longer under warranty and the repair would have to be out of pocket. Not to mention my sidepanels falling out, my fading posts between the doors, my rusting running boards, my bad ball bearings, my bad tranny, bad air bags, the freaking check engine light that wont come off even after I've changed the sensors, and to add to all my car problems and frustrations FORD HAS THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!! If any one goes for a class action law suit PLEASE SIGN ME UP ( Thanx!

Anabel P

Frustrated Ford Driver

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #181

May 222007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I pulled in behind the Explorer one day and noticed a streak about three of four inches to the left of the emblem on the liftgate. Closer inspection revealed a perfectly straight crack. When I took the car to the dealer, their reply was that the crack was caused by (get ready) "the ambient temperature!!!" Now I have a crack on the right side. I get so pissed off when I see the cracks. I have owned several Fords in the past, but never again.

- , Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #180

Apr 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 5.9

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

2002 XLT Explorer... go to shut the hatch back ... and baaaaaaaammm... the panel below the window right next to the Ford emblem cracks down the panel section... whats up with dat! faulty polymers? no stress testing? I've seen quite a few on the road like this too!

- , Elsobrante, CA, USA

problem #179

May 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I thought I was alone with this problem, then my wife said she noticed two other Explorers with the same problem. Even though the vehicle had about 75,000 miles when the crack appeared -- all at once on a very cold day -- given that this is clearly a widespread problem Ford should fix it. I asked a corporate contact and was turned down. Other than that, I really love the Explorer. I also have a 2003 Mach 1, had a Probe before that an original Mach 1 and a 64 1/2 Mustang. Doesn't loyalty count for anything?

- , McLean, VA, USA

problem #178

May 242007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

If there are so many complaints about this crack, then Ford should be responsible for the damage as that proves that it is a Manufacturer error & not an owner error. FORDS SUCK!!!!

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

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