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.

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:
$450.00
Average Mileage:
78,907 miles
Total Complaints:
618 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should pay for it (396 reports)
  2. not sure (86 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 24 of 31)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #158

Oct 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

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

I haven't had mine crack YET! I sure it's going to happen after reading all the complaints.

I had my panel fall off. luckly it didn't break just simply fell off as I was shutting the window. Not even the whole hatch, just the window part that isn't even connected to the panel. I have always had Fords. NEVER AGIAN WILL I WASTE MY $$. We bought used 5 months ago and I can't wait until we can trade it in...

- , Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #157

Oct 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

This is my last Ford. This kind of design defect is not acceptable for a $30,000+ car. As with everyone else, I've seen this on most '02 Explorer models. Ford is not working to keep loyal customers and will continue to lose it's position in the market place.

- , Aurora, CO, USA

problem #156

Oct 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Sounds like the same problem everyone else is having. I had the vehicle in England when it happened and they couldn't fix over there without charging me an arm and a leg. I haven't even asked how much it is going to cost since I got back. I have looked at every Ford Explorer's rear panel I see while driving and about 50% of the time the rear panel is cracked... what a piece of junk. Ford knows it is junk they should pay for it to be fixed.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #155

Oct 062007

(reported on)

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

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

Like everyone else this just cracked for no good reason one day about halfway down the panel to the Ford emblem. Then a few days later it cracked all the way to the bottom of the panel.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #154

Oct 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

I have seen many other explorers with the same crack.

- , Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #153

Sep 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I went to Ford and they told me they would not be respnsible for the rear tailgate cracking. and gave me a quote for repairs. I will not be held responsible for an obvious factory defect. I will also join a class action lawsuit against Ford. Contact me.

- , King City, CA, USA

problem #152

Sep 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

Dealers like to play dumb.. Oh really? Never heard of that... If you can lie better then a salesman, you too can be a service manager...

- , Eagle Point, OR, USA

problem #151

Sep 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,325 miles

I saw it crack! Just bought this 4 days ago! Showing it at work this morning, my friend shut the glass - 2 seconds later .... craaaaack! 4 inches long and growing. He about crapped his pants, thinking he broke it. So did I. I wondered what happened. He didn't slam it or anything. Obviously poor manufacturing from all the complaints. And yes, the paint is peeling. I love fords, but can they ever get it right? I have to take it in tomorrow for the dealership to look at (or should I just go down to Pacific avenue and pay a homeless man 5 bucks to "look at it"?). Filed my ford complaint tonight to help push for a recall. Terrible job on the 2002 paint and panels FoMoCo.

- , Mays Landing, NJ, USA

problem #150

Aug 232007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

When I noticed the crack down the back panel of lift gate, to right of Ford emblem, I assumed it was something I did, or the extremely cold weather we had been having. *Mind you, this crack occurred shortly after having the lift gate/hinges recall corrected by dealer. However, I began noticing just about every Ford Explorer in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA with the same body as mine, had the SAME crack in the SAME location. Now finding this site with the same complaints all over the country, isn't this enough to confirm that Ford needs to take responsibility for this defect?!

- , Ardmore, PA, USA

problem #149

Aug 232007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I called Ford and although it is their fault they refuse to do anything! I didn't cause the problem and until someone is hurt or seriously injured they will not fix it. I see it like this... They made the part and it is defective. It was no incident on my part that this panel cracked. They sold me a piece of junk. I have already replaced 1 Transmission. No wonder Ford is going to the dumper, their customer service and standing behind their product is a don't care attitude we're Ford. If someone can sue a fast food restaurant for getting their meal wrong, why is there not a lawyer out there to compile a class action law suit on this matter? I am willing to give the settlement to a attorney who would go after Ford. The average person works hard to pay for these vehicles and I hate that this big company can shrug me off. I will never walk into a ford showroom again.

- , Auburn, NY, USA

problem #148

Aug 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

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

This panel has cracked, and apparently cracks on other explorers to the point that this is a fairly common problem. The cosmetic look is unappealing, but is there water damage occurring due to a broken sealing surface, etc inside rear lift door? Ford should analyze this for the reason for the failure.

- , Marienville, PA, USA

problem #147

Jun 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Just noticed the crack on the tailgate that everyone else has. With all the complaints that are posted you would think that Ford would do something about it. Maybe quality assurance is not one of the strong points of the BIG3 and that is why the foreign cars are leaving the US Automakers in the dust. Look at stock prices!

- , Pickerington, OH, USA

problem #146

Aug 152007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

We bought this 02 Explorer two years ago. When I went to pick it up from the dealership, I noticed this crack on the back panel from the window all the way down on the panel where the Ford logo is on the lift gate. I told them I wasn't taking the car because that crack wasn't there when I agreed to buy the car. I assume it happened when they did their cleanup of the car, it was used. They refused to fix it for free; but said they would fix it for $100.00. I won't ever go back to the dealership again. But Ford should be fixing this issue. This is obviously a faulty panel.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #145

Jun 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I feel really bad because I was looking up problems with the tail gate that won't open tonight and found this. I bought this Explorer as a certified pre-owned vehicle and the crack happened 2 weeks after buying it. I yelled at my husband because he was getting groceries out the night before and I told him he was heavy handed. He said he thought it was a defect. I took it to the dealer and they acted like they had never seen anything like it before. Of course it wasn't covered. I hate anything cosmetically wrong with a car but never fixed this because they made me mad saying it wasn't covered when I paid almost $2000.00 for an extended warranty. I always bought Toyota before and never had a problem at all with anything. I've enjoyed this Explorer but it will be my last. Back to Toyota I'll go. Maybe a Honda pilot.

- , Pearland, TX, USA

problem #144

Jun 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have the same crack as everyone else. I first noticed after the back hatch recall, but didn't think much of it since it was in the center of the Ford symbol and seemed to belong. Then it split into a Y and a piece fell off. Now I'm embarrassed to drive it with the rusted metal showing. I've noticed at least 6 cars in the area I live in with the same problem. I plan on taking it to the dealer to see what they will do. Ford should definitely pay for this since it is obviously their faulty design. This is my second Ford, I had to sell the first one due to all the problems I was having with it, you'd think I would have learned!

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #143

Jun 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I bought a 2002 Explorer 2 years ago. At the time it had a crack below the back window. The dealership replaced the panel with a new one before I brought the vehicle home. I has almost been two years ago and I walked out to the vehicle and the new panel now has the same type of crack in it. It has not been hit or damaged in any way. I have noticed several Explorers around town with the same crack. Ford needs to do something about this obvious defect in craftsmanship.

- , Tuscaoosa, AL, USA

problem #142

Aug 122007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought this vehicle with a cracked rear panel. I have owned it for 1 1/2 years and now it has 4 large cracks from top to bottom.

FORD TELLS ME THE ENTIRE BACK WINDOW WILL HAVE TO BE REPLACED TO BE FIXED CORRECTLY, or it can be repaired for $250. In my opinion this is a very poor design and will continue to be a problem.

Update from Nov 13, 2014: I fixed the back panel that cracked on 9/13/2007 with an out of pocket expense of $250. This panel at the bottom of the glass on the rear hatch cracked again within a year.

- , Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #141

Jun 292007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

CRACKED PANEL BELOW REAR WINDOW FOR NO REASON AT ALL

- , Pittsfield, Mass., USA

problem #140

Jun 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

there is no reason for that rear panel to break . i love the style and appearance of my explorer , but this problem and other relatively minor problems that ford won't stand behind makes it easy to mistake this well built vehicle for a piece of junk.

- , Halethorpe, MD, USA

problem #139

Aug 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

So I am not the only one with a cracked panel below the rear window. Very interesting. This is my second explorer and I do like them but I am not sure about future purchases. I was probably going to buy a Focus and a Ranger in the next 12 months but am not sure now.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

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