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:
78,899 miles
Total Complaints:
619 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 26 of 31)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #119

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


Panel under back window began with just a hairline crack, then grew over time and temperature to a full-blown 1/4" crack the heighth of the panel! It's unsightly and I feel a danger to motorists behind me... the rear window could fall out!! Happened just after the recall on the hinges was completed; dealership takes no responsibility, says out of warranty. That's funny, it still has a Ford emblem on the back, but I'll drive it in that condition to show how poorly the product is made... fixing to go foreign.

- , Redding, CA, USA

problem #118

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

ford said it is not covered under warranty. the part does not move. how can this be.

- , Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #117

Mar 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,600 miles

paid $35,000.00 for my new 2002 explorer. garage kept the entire time i have had it. been shunned by ford dealership because ford has not issued recall. really getting upset now that i have had to replace 2 of the power window regulators at $375.00 each. decided to take the matter up with ford motor co. instead of any other dealerships. not resolved yet and doubt that ford will be willing to help. if that happens i am determined to let anyone and everyone i know or meet just how pathetic ford motor company is regarding it's customers. how can the body of a car made in the united states start coming apart.

- , Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #116

Mar 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


About a month ago I had just come from Columbus the night before and I noticed a crack in the panel just below the rear window. I thought maybe someone had backed into me. Then I thought maybe my son who just started driving, had backed into something so I paid it no mind. Then a few days later I saw another crack and I wondered, "what the hell". I just let it go, then I started noticing other Explorer's like mine on the road and they had the same cracks. Ford should be ashamed of themselves, I mean what the hell. There are over 100 complaints for the same problem. There should be a recall on this. How do we get someone to take action? How about we tell all our friends and relatives, not to buy Ford cars?

- , Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #115

Mar 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I just got my explorer and on the way home from getting it I saw three other's with cracked backs as well so i looked into it and there seems to be many of these complaints. Crappy deal sounds like ford has a recall on there hands

- , Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #114

Mar 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

So I came on this site on Monday before leaving for a week at the cottage to report my transmission solenoid problem and guess what!! The third day at the cottage i went to get something out of back and guess what I found... you got it a crack in the back, mine is about 12" to the right of the FORD emblem ( I wish it cracked it in half and it fell of ) So now what to do. Seems like it is just going to cost me money. I will take it in and see what they say since I just bought a Ford F150 Sport FX2. I just can't believe it happened right after I read about it. Must be a jinx. BTW on the way home my back left tire almost exploded. It bulged out and the middle caved in and the belt wires started coming out. Of course the spare tire ratchet malfunctioned so I had to break the tire off the wire winch LMAO this truck is gone...

- , Barrie, Ontario, Canada

problem #113

Aug 042006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


The rear liftgate next the FORD emblem, started out with a small crack. Now it's cracked all the way down to the bottom of the hatch and is separated at a quarter of an inch. Also there is another crack started on the other side of the emblem. I have the extended warranty, but it doesn't cover it. Started searching and finding out I'm not the only one that has this problem. It's just the 2002 Explorers and NO ONE is getting any kind of help with this.. FORD should correct this " DEFECT ".. And it IS a DEFECT......

- , Clovis, CA, USA

problem #112

Mar 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

First of all my whole family owns Ford products, I have a 2002 Ford Explorer, my mother has a 2002 Ford explorer, my father has a 1996 ford Aerostar, and my brother has a 2001 Ford explorer. We thought we were buying not only a good deals but also great customer service. We were wrong to think that maybe since you have shown so much loyalty to one company that they would show a little back to you but I guess it is all about the money instead of a family business and pride in there products. About two months ago I woke up and decided to wash my car I was quick to find that I had a increasingly bad crack in the rear hatch. I immediately thought that someone had hit me. That was not the case and the crack split all the way through. It is now splitting even farther apart and I am afraid that perhaps it could be enough to cause damage to the back window. My mothers explorer did the same thing about a month ago, and my next door neighbors did the same as well about 2 weeks ago. We are very upset and between just two families we have approximately invested $80,000 in Ford vehicles. Unless this is resolved the way we want there is a good chance we will not buy another Ford vehicle. The craftsmanship seems to be shotty and the service has gone down hill. Ford should definitely fix the problem and not lose further business.

- , Nutter Fort, WV, USA

problem #111

Mar 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Like all other explorers the trim panel below the rear window cracked..I had 4 explorers since 93 and this is the only one that has an outside body part damaged that was never wrecked.. No dents no scratches just a defective crack from ford !!!

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #110

Mar 192007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I went to an auto body shop to get an estimate on replacing the lower trim under the back lift gate and was told that the problem was rampant among the Explorer. I was informed that Ford had recalled the problem and that I should approach Ford about the situation. When I went to my local Ford dealership I was informed that it was not a recall item. The recall was on the struts. I believe that since this is not an isolated issue Ford should do the right thing and resolve to fix the problem. I understand Ford isn't doing as well as they would like to financially, but if problems like this persist, then Ford will face greater losses in the future. This company should be proud of the products that they produce and stand behind the workmanship.

- , Carrollton, KY, USA

problem #109

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


I was visiting in Dallas one weekend when I was packing my vehicle to drive back home I noticed the crack I thought someone had hit me while my vehicle was parked. After taking it to a Ford dealer I found out it was not only my vehicle but others as well. What a shame that Ford won't pay when several complaints have been found. I wonder why their sales are soaring... you would think they would face up to their mistakes and pay for what is their fault....!!!!!

- , Converse, TX, USA

problem #108

Mar 132007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Back panel below rear window cracked. Panel cracked for no reason and my brother-in-laws' expolorer did the same

- , Platte City, MO, USA

problem #107

Jul 202006

(reported on)


  • 70,000 miles

I want to sell my Explorer because I want to upgrade to a 4runner... Toyotas never seem to have problems and their back window is SOO much better for dogs! Stupid rear panel cracked and they told me they wouldn't fix it (less than two years after I bought it) because it was "over the mileage" of the warranty. How the hell does MILEAGE matter when the friggin body of the car if falling apart after a year and a half!! Ridiculous! (I also had my rear window replaced and the guy at the Ford dealership that fixed it agreed that it was totally ridiculous that Ford didn't cover it... he had heard a million complaints, but the "higher management" wouldn't allow him to fix for free...

- , Newport, RI, USA

problem #106

Jul 192006

(reported on)

Explorer XL

  • 65,000 miles

noticed crack a year ago, showed it to the dealer, told it was out of warrentee, so it never was repaired. I see so many complaints now with this panel crack.... I'm not happy with Ford about this and this may and probably will have me look elsewhere for my next vehicle purchase.

- , East Setauket, NY, USA

problem #105

Mar 092007

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This is shoddy workmanship, an obvious defect that Ford should repair gratis!

- , Montclair, VA, USA

problem #104

Mar 082007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

There is a 12 inch crack right below where my back windshield wiper is . I thought maybe someone hit me since I first saw the crack when I came back from grocery shopping. I guess I'm not alone....

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #103

Mar 082007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

Woke up on March 7, 2007 to find that the panel below the window has a crack going from the window down. Made a phone call to the dealer who was not very helpful. Called the Ford Headquarters which instructed me to take it to the dealer so that they could give me an estimate. The estimate they gave me to replace the cracked piece was $975.00. He then said to me unless I had a case # they could not assist me in any way. Called headquarters again this morning, explained that I needed a case # and how much it was going to cost. After being put on hold a couple of times, the woman came back and explained to me that they would assist me in the cost of the repair and would that be of assistance to me. I replied with unless you are planning on paying for the whole thing, then I guess you are of no assistance to me. She is in the process of getting back to me with another suggestion. I don't believe that I should pay for something that is in bad workmanship only for it to happen again. Told the lady on the phone that I would rather put the money to a sign and drive around with that on my car that said about the cracked panel and that Ford is not taking responsibility for it. She was obviously not happy with that. Will write back to the website when I get an update. Please advise anyone with this problem to call the central headquarters 1-800-392-3673 and report it. The more complaints that they have, then maybe they will do something about it. This shouldn't happen to any car regardless of the age of it.

- , Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #102

Mar 082007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I closed the rear window and started the car. The door ajar light was on so I got out to check the rear window at which time I found it had cracked in half. The temperatures had been very cold for a week - under 15 degrees.

I had an estimate at a body shop and was told it was a known problem that Ford should take care of.

I called the dealer who said it was a known problem with Ford and they gave me an 800 number.

I called the 800 number and was on hold for 45 minutes. The operator was rude and kept asking what I expected Ford to do about it. I told her I wanted Ford to fix it at no cost.

I was surprised to do a search this morning and see so many people with the same problem. There was another Explorer in front of me in traffic yesterday with the same problem.

On a side note, the front passenger door lock no longer works.

- , Griffith, IN, USA

problem #101

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Plastic piece below the window broke when the rear window fell due to the struts not holding. Approx. (2) weeks later I received a recall notice (#04V442000) from Ford that stated (Due to the risk of injury from the rear window falling Ford has issued a recall to have the rear window struts replace ASAP.) Upon arrival at the dealership to leave my vehicle, I showed the service writer the broken plastic piece and explained what had happened. He told me that it was not covered under the recall and that I should contact ford and if enough people complained that maybe ford would issue a recall on the plastic part. Didn't work!!!!! Contact ford again and filed a complaint and they had me get a written estimate and then call them back. Did that and when I called them back they told me that there was absolutely nothing that Ford could do about it, that I should just bite the bullet and pay to have it fixed. With that answer I guess that their customer service is one part of the problem with FORDS FINANCIAL PROBLEMS!!!!!!

And this horse ain't dead yet...... I'm not satisfied with their answer.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #100

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Rear body panel below window cracked spontainiously. Because of the age of the vehicle I would be happy if Ford would share the repair cost, but this appears to be a common (defect) problem. Awaiting decision from Ford Canada, seem receptive, will see.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

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