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.

6.5

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$449.00
Average Mileage:
79,067 miles
Total Complaints:
621 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should pay for it (396 reports)
  2. not sure (86 reports)
  3. paid to have rear panel replaced (48 reports)
  4. file complaint with NHTSA to get a recall issued (26 reports)
  5. start a class action suit and get damages reimbursed (17 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 23 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #181

May 222007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

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

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

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, US

problem #177

May 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I took it to a dealer because I bought the extended warranty. Surprisingly, the cracked lift gate was not covered under EXTENDED WARRANTY. I was told to take it to a local body shop and have it fixed. The dealer didn't even offer to fix the problem. The bee-atches.

- , Rio Rancho, NM, US

problem #176

Apr 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,500 miles

rear panel below liftgate cracked and busted looked like someone hit me when i wasn't looking.... but come to find out i'm seeing it on TONS of explorers so it has to be a defect they aren't willing to claim yet again!!!!! BYE BYE Ford you are worthless

- , Hannibal, MO, USA

problem #175

Dec 012007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

We had the problem fixed once at the dealer under the 3 year/36,000 warranty; the crack has re-occurred. Unlike virtually all body repair shops which provide lifetime warranties on body work, Ford dealers do not. I assume that instead of re-engineering the faulty panel, they continue to re-install faulty panels until the vehicle is out of its warranty period. I wonder why American auto brand names have negative images?

- , Mpls, MN, USA

problem #174

Nov 272007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,642 miles

Took the explorer to the body shop to get fixed, but not for the cracked window problem, I had to get rock chip repairs, and the autobody washed the vehicle and took it out into the cold and shouldn't have, the back panel then cracked. Ford said it was not their responsibility. The vehicle is on extended warranty. and if it is a known problem ford should recall this and let people know, or at least fix it for free. its bull . i would gladly sign up to a class action against ford.

- , Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada

problem #173

May 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

This crack just appeared one day on the plastic panel below the rear window of the back hatch. It goes all the way down right across the Ford logo. There are also a couple of other minor cracks a few inches from the Ford logo. I guess I will have to have it fixed!

- , Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #172

Dec 012004

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

Same as most everyone else. I bought the vehicle used in 2004 with around 30K miles. About two months later I noticed a short hairline crack just below the glass. I've watched it grow since that time to a point just below the ford emblem. I noticed today that it now seems to be growing wider. I have not taken the time to take it to a dealer and, judging by the feedback here, doubt that it would be worth the effort.

- , Boiling Springs, SC, USA

problem #171

Nov 302003

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

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

The molding below my back window cracked after an ice storm while parked at the airport. The dealer repaired it under warranty around 2003. About a year ago it happened again during the Winter. The dealer hesitated and then repaired at no charge. I always ask if there is a recall on this and told that isn't. I've pointed this situation out to many Explorer owners in parking lots who have cracks in the molding.

- , Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #170

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

When I took the truck to Ford Body Repair, they told me it looked like a stress problem and should be covered under my 100,000 mile warranty, but I had to go through the service department. The service department said it cracked due to cold weather (this was November in Maryland - I don't think we had even a frost yet that year). I wrote to Ford motor company - they agreed it was due to cold and my 100,000 mile warranty would not cover it (I had 93,000 miles on the truck). So - if you live anyplace where it gets cold, don't buy an Explorer!

- , Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #169

Nov 102005

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Sign me up for the Class Action. I was actually flagged down by another owner who told me his dealer fixed it for free. No luck for me and Peachtree Ford in ATL. I even called Ford who said they had no complaints and no recalls!

- , Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #168

Jan 152007

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

A large crack appeared in the panel during below-freezing weather. Based on the responses here, I am not optimistic about dealing with Ford. I was a life-long Ford customer, but I have finally had enough! Last month I traded in my Ranger for a Cadillac, and when I finally trade in the Explorer it will not be for another Ford.

If anyone has started a class-action lawsuit please post...there are plenty of folks interested.

- , Sherman, TX, USA

problem #167

Nov 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,500 miles

was fixed,last year and today 11/04/07 I found it did it again

- , Keene, NH, USA

problem #166

Nov 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

Here I go again. The molding below the glass on my hatchback has cracked for the second time. I was told again that Ford Assistance Program will pay for part of the repair. It's going to cost me 125.00 and ford will pay 355.00. Again, I feel as though I should not have to pay a penny towards the repair of a Ford Defect. My husband was wanting to buy me a new Expedition, but I a not sure if I want another Ford.

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #165

Nov 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,068 miles

It''s defanatley a defect in the Explorer. I feel that I should not have had to pay anything.

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #164

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

Had it fixed by Ford but it cracked again. This time Ford says it is out of the extended warranty period they put on the panel. Therefore I am not getting it fixed and will give Ford the free advertising for the crap they sell and don't stand behind. I ended up with this, my last Ford ever, because a compassionate Ford dealer was the only one who would give me anything for my previous 1985 Windstar that died with 70,000 miles. I've learned my lesson, no more Fords.

- , Lino Lakes, MN, USA

problem #163

Oct 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else here. I bought a pre-certified 2002 Exporeser 3 years ago and it developed a small crack on the applique panel last year which is about 4 inches now and growing longer every week. Both Ford and the dealer admit it is a common problem but want me to pay to replace the panel.

Ford are taking us for a ride. This is why the Big 3 will be extinct before too long. Shoddy products with no back-up for FACTORY DEFECTS. Who here would buy another Ford or stand idly by while a family member or friend buys one? You patronize their business and they screw you with glee. What a joke of a company!

- , Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

problem #162

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Same problem as all the others, two cracks on each side of the plastic panel. I have no intention of paying to have this fixed am just worried that water damage might occur. Ford will not pay for it. This vehicle has been out of service for extended periods of time for numerous driveline / transmission issues (transmission out & rebuilt 3 times). Thank God we bought the extended warranty (It has still cost us over $600 for the small deductible each time a repair is made. This will be the last Ford that I buy.

- , Monroe, CT, USA

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