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:
62,731 miles
Total Complaints:
32 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. repaint entire roof and/or hood (8 reports)
  3. clean properly, re-prime, re-paint (6 reports)
  4. new paint job (5 reports)
  5. ford should cover repair (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Jul 042015

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


paint is coming off hood and fenders,on aluminum parts

- , Moline, IL, USA

problem #31

Oct 112005

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling paint is peeling

The roof started flaking around the roof runners during warranty. Ford repainted the roof under warranty.

Within 3 years the entire vehicle (including the repainted roof) started peeling. The vehicle looks like a spotted zebra all over the vehicle.

Ford would not repaint under warranty.

I have yet to be able to afford to have the car repainted.

It is embarrassing to drive this vehicle as it looks like a piece of junk.

- , Norcross, GA, USA

problem #30

Dec 002000

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles

Same problem as cracked panel under rear window and bubbles and peeling paint.

See comments under complaint on cracked panel under rear window.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #29

Dec 002000

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


See complaint comments listed as bubbles under clear coat. That is the onset of the problem. First the bubbles, then they crack over time and the paint, clear coat continues to flake off in large sections.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #28

Dec 012003

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

luggage rack never used, no reason for paint to come off

- , Brentwood, TN - Tennessee, USA

problem #27

Oct 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Paint is flaking and peeling off roof, hood, doors, around windows, and I have had to have the rear panel under the tailgate window replaced 3 times due to cracking. I will probably NEVER buy another Ford product.....junk

- , Canon, GA, USA

problem #26

Jun 202006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


This makes my beautiful truck look terrible!! There is white dots, peeling paint it looks awful and I'm not happy about it. Heavens the money I spent to purchase it!!

- , Del Ciity, OK, USA

problem #25

Oct 262009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

The paint peeling off the roof racks, get worse and worse with snow rain everything we thought we had fixed it but the next winter it all came back off again!

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #24

Jun 142010

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

the paint on the hood is peeling off and the panels are fading between the doors car looks weather beaten and has never spent a night or day out of the garage !

- , Macomb, MI, USA

problem #23

Jul 072009

Explorer XLS V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Like everyone else in here the paint is falling off, mainly on the roof in the little grooves that run from front to back. The clear coat and paint is all gone to smoth metal and is now starting to rust. The whole roof would need to be repainted, between the transmission and the paint the truck needs more repairs then its worth. You can't even give these trucks away to a dealer they dont want them, it is worth more for scap than what the dealer offered me for trade....

- , Derby, NY, USA

problem #22

Jun 302008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,282 miles


We have had this Explorer since new and noticed the paint year ago.I think I will use a paint roller and some Tremclad to fix.The Ford Quality is poor.

- , London Ontario, Ontario, Canada

problem #21

Jan 012008

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Ford come on use better paint this is horrible to have a 7 year old car and have the paint coming off already. Step it up ford because right now you guys are horrible at what you do.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #20

Aug 042004

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

This was purchased brand new in October of 2001. Roof rack rails started to peel. Looked awful. When I took it in to have replaced the guy asked me if I drove on the highway! Yeah! so what does that have to do with them peeling. I looked at him and said you must be kidding maybe if you did a better job of preparing the product this wouldn't happen. they replaced them, guess what they started to peel too but after the warranty expired. I really like the car and feel safe in it. Nice tight ride and has good road handling.

- , Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #19

Nov 092005

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,500 miles

I am glad to find out I am not the only person that thinks Ford should recall the paint on this unsellable white elephant. I am sure I will be old and dead when the recall notice goes out.

- , Northbrook, IL, USA

problem #18

Jun 012005

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Luggage racks are looking pretty hideous these days. the paint is almost completely gone.

- , Duarte, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 092004

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I own a garage kept vehicle. I ran it through a car wash one day and noticed the white paint was bubbled and cracked on the roof. later the blister broke off leaving the bare metal. The approximate size is 4 inches wide and 14 inches long. Ford refused to do anything. They wanted 1250 dollars to fix it.

- , Shoals, IN, USA

problem #16

May 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Paint looks like it was burned off from the roof rack. Faded and peeling. Looks like crap.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #15

Jul 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,602 miles

just now that I've listed all my other complaints, thought I'd list that I have clear coat that is coming off car from top to bottom and my luggage racks are no longer black. They are silver. I suppose I could tape off the top of my car and spray them with a base to seal them back to black again, just a pain that the paint has chipped and is now gone on half the rack on each side.

- , College Station, TX, USA

problem #14

May 122006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 65,000 miles

The paint is almost all gone from where road grit etc would hit the body behind the rear wheels. I noticed in time before any sheet metal damage would become permanent. However the areas need to be cleaned up, re-painted and somehow protected from further damage. The obvious solution would be mud flaps, but I've noticed that Explorers with different trim packages have plastic panels located in this area.... imagine that.

- , Binghamton, NY13901, USA

problem #13

Mar 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

The paint (ours is black clearcoat) started cracking on roof, then began peeling. I then noticed that similar cracks were starting to form on the hood and even fenders. Estimates have ranged from $1,500 to $3,000. The estimator from CarStar collision recommended that I take this problem up directly with Ford. Has anyone had any luck getting Ford to address this issue? If I can't get any resolution, this will absolutely be the last Ford I ever buy.

- , North Tonawanda, NY, USA

Read the next 12 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?