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 9 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #461

Dec 132010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 197,800 miles

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

This is what so bad, because this happened while my car was at the Ford Sop getting maintenance work done on it. The other thing is that before I left the house to take it to the shop I got in the trunk/hatch back and it was not there. When I got back home later that evening I noticed it and called the shop right away to tell the worker and I spoke with the supervisor and she was going to look at the video tape to see if she could see if anything happened there. I gave them a few days and went up to the shop and they were coming up with this is a commonly known problem to ford and he did show me some internet complaints about the crack in the back panel and basically said they would not fix it, so again, I am stuck with a broken panel.

I have gotten sooooo much work done on this vehicle within a few months then I have spent on my vehicles after having them for years.

This is my first purchase of a Ford vehicle and the last purchase too and I have so many family members that have retired from there and some still are employed there, but I will not even think about buying another Ford product again.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #460

Dec 132010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Ok, so this has also happened to me, the dogone crack in the panel below the back window. I'm not happy about it. I'm religious about taking care of my explorer, ie. washing in all kinds of weather, paint claying, waxing with random obital, keeping everything spotless, etc. So, today Dec. 15, I'm filling up with gas when I see a crack in the back panel 8" from the "Ford" logo. It has been cold here lately in the teens, and yes, I have used the window hatch. I take it to my dealer (whom I use with respect) and because it is out of warranty, it would be $500 in parts and labor to fix. I'm sure I'll do it because of how long I keep my cars and how I care for them. My problem is that my wife has an 04 Merc Mount that has the SAME design. I guess my suggestion to her and all of you who read this is: BE SURE TO ONLY USE THE FULL BACK LIFTHATCH IN WINTER TO HELP PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING TO YOU!!!! What else can I say.....I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT !!!!!!!

- , Urbana, IL, USA

problem #459

Dec 182010

Explorer EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,625 miles

Just noticed the large crack under the rear window of the lift gate. It looks really

nasty and now I see that it is not an unusual problem and Ford doesn't fix it. I

have hardly any miles on my Explorer and have tried to keep it in good condition.

Just disgusting.

- , Monroe, NC, USA

problem #458

Jun 012010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

The crack is easy to see. The panel is loose and water runs under it when it rains. It also flapps in the wind when I get it washed.

- , Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #457

Dec 162010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,235 miles

2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Just noticed the crack below the rear window in the hatch. Had heard about this from other Explorer owners and thought I was one of the lucky ones, but NOT!!!!!!! Just noticed it today 12/16/2010. This is definitely a defect that Ford needs to take care of and issue a recall. However, they probably will not. Will have to do what others have stated and put silicone caulk in the crack. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!

- , Catawba, NC, USA

problem #456

Apr 102010

Explorer XLT 6 Cylinder

  • Automatic transmission
  • 235,000 miles

I really like my Explorer, I use it a lot for deliveries to my customers. I am worried that the plastic panel is going to fall off. The car is too old for me to spend any more money on it. It runs good, except for the cracked plastic in the back.

- , Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #455

Apr 152008

Explorer XLT v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,200 miles

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

Our Ford actually was like this when we purchased from another party but since then I have been behind numerous Ford Explorers with this issue of vertical cracks under the window on rear tailgate and once again have seen lots of complaints on this site and other areas about this issue. Cheezy work Ford!

- , Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #454

Nov 162010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,767 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

I first noticed the crack today (Nov 17th 2010) and thought someone or something has impacted there, but there were no marks,just the crack, and realised it must be some kind of tension crack. When I got home I went on the computer and googled the problem and this is how I came across this site and saw many many people have the same problem, I was astounded, now I am so mad because this should never happen and I'm thinking of the expense of the repair and if the crack is going to get worse. All I have done so far is to put clear silicone caulk in it to hopefully stop water getting down inside. Ford, you have to address this problem.

Update from Nov 18, 2011: As of Nov 2011 I have done nothing to remedy the problem apart from using clear silicone when I first noticed it, now the silicone has gone and the crack is actually wider! Back to the silicone I guess

Update from Nov 19, 2011: When I say wider, it's gaping and all the way down the panel now

- , Walkerton, IN, USA

problem #453

Nov 042010

Explorer Limited v-8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

2002 WHITE explorer with a 7" crack in rear plastic panel. I just wanted to add another beef about ford for this ongoing problem with many many cars of same type

best of luck getting ford to fix it.

- , Harrisonville, MO, US

problem #452

Mar 102010

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles

I called Ford about the crack in the back panel of my Explorer. They said this is not a safety issue and since my vehicle is eight years old and the warranty is only for three years, they would not fix it. They also said that since they have had so many complaints, the good news is that Ford has fixed this problem in the newer models. That doesn't do me any good. It's scary to read that so many people had the problem fixed and a few years later it happens again. That is not reassuring! I am very disappointed in Ford! It's embarrassing to drive around with this crack. I have taken very good care of this vehicle and it looks the same on the inside as it did when I bought it eight years ago. SHAME ON YOU, FORD!

- , Farmington, IL, USA

problem #451

Mar 202005

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

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

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I complained directly to FORD via an e-mail. Here's what they sent me:Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the lift gate crack concern on your 2002 Ford Explorer XLT.

Fred, I can only imagine the frustration you’re experiencing after reading your email, and I completely understand why you are writing. Unfortunately, after extensively reviewing your situation, I regret to inform you that there are no warranties or other coverages available that would provide assistance.

Moreover, please be advised that when Ford Motor Company recognizes an on going issue, a recall or Customer Satisfaction Program (CSP) is put into place. Recalls or CSP are released to ensure the appropriate corrections are performed promptly by an authorized Ford dealer. Your vehicle is not involved in any recalls or customer satisfaction programs.

I called the 1-800-392-3673. The person I talked to said, "Sorry - there's nothing FORD can do... FRUSTRATED with FORDS!!!!!!

- , Winona, MN, US

problem #450

Aug 062010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

This is rhe fourth time I had the rear lift gate facia repaired and it will be the last. I have always prided myself on buying Ford's. I have never had mechanical issues with any of the six fords I have had owned but this liftgate panel prone to cracking is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I will not stoop calling Ford bad names. I have had it. Let it be said

" I will never buy another Ford again!"

- , Tinley Park, IL, USA

problem #449

Jan 012008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Unsightly and devaluing to the car. Wish Ford would offer a inexpensive solution.

- , Fort Rucker, AL, USA

problem #448

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,800 miles

Sounds like this is a widespread problem. We have totally babied this vehicle, the rest of it looks almost new. Very frustrating. Ford should recall.

- , Eden, UT, USA

problem #447

Jul 012004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I SEE THERE ARE 439 COMPLAINTS HERE ABOUT THE REAR PANEL CRACKS. IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT I HAVE AT LEAST HALF THAT MANY CAR PLATES ON A LIST I HAVE COMPILED SINCE 2004 ON ALL EXPLORERS, MOUNTAINEERS AND AVIATORS FOR THE YEARS 2002 THRU 2005. IF YOU NOTICE, ALL OF THESE VEHICLE MODELS BEGINNING WITH 2006 NOW HAVE A FULL DOOR IN THE REAR. FORD KNOWS THIS IS A DEFECT AND AFTER A ZILLION ATTEMPTS THEY FAIL TO MAKE GOOD ON THEIR PRODUCT. I WAS A FAITHFUL FORD BUYER, WILL NOW BE TRADING IN ELSEWHERE.

- , Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #446

Aug 192010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I have had the back lift on my 2002 Ford explorer replaced twice. The cracks is below the Ford emblem on the back panel. When I drive down the road, I notice allot of Ford Explorers with the same crack, this is a real problem.

- , Sherwood, OR, USA

problem #445

Dec 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,847 miles

Noticed this after I bought the Explorer and I see on here that it is a major problem on these vehicles, it hasn't fallen off yet but it is loose and makes noise when the wind hits it right.

- , St Johns, nl, Canada

problem #444

Aug 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Nece VEhicle But this is a definate ripoff by ford. they should issue a recall and fix them, I think that one of the reasons they do not is that it would cost a lot as each one would have to have custom mixed paing to match the color as it has aged. Fix it ford.

- , Grass Valley, CA, USA

problem #443

May 122010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,500 miles

I love my car and am very disappointed that Ford doesn't admit this is a reall issue.

- , Washougal, WA, USA

problem #442

Jun 072005

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Just all of a sudden appeared one day... you know the upside down Y above your license plate slightly to the right?! I was informed by the Body Shop Manager at a Ford Dealership that this was actually a defect and he recommended that I did not get it fixed due to being over a $1,000 and in hopes that it would be recalled soon... HELLO FORD 5 years later.. STILL WAITING!?!?! Now I notice it on nearly every 02 Explorer I drive by, and the ironic part is they are all the EXACT same, same size, same spot, same point where it breaks off onto the other line...

Nice work Ford! At least your consistent with something...

- , Madison, WI, USA

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