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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
42 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,565 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 6 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #66

Jun 112004


  • 41,000 miles


When unloading the vehicle liftgate glass shattered. PE04045.pco

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #65

Jun 012003


  • miles
Problems with 2002 Ford Explorer rear window hatch. The vehicle has been taken to the dealership four times for the broken rear window hatch and the problem has not been fixed yet. Please respond promptly in resolving matters. The rear window hatch failed when the hydraulic lift cylinders on the left and right side of the hatch literally flew off when the hatch was opened. One occasion when the cylinder flew off, the cylinder flew off and hit the consumer in the back of his head neck, shoulder and spine and subsequently the consumer had to go to the hospital for his injuries. Multi-incidents PE04045.pco

- Prichard, WV, USA

problem #64

Jun 102004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The liftgate latch appeared to be faulty. It broke while my wife was closing the liftgate and the liftgate came crashing down, shattering glass everywhere. Dealer wouldn't warranty, suggested that try to use my car insurance to cover the costs. PE04045.pco

- Lynwood, IL, USA

problem #63

May 282004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,700 miles


Rear window was in the up/open position for about 30 minutes and shattered while attempting to close it. It seemed to bow slightly prior to exploding. Upon inspection, the hydraulic struts seem to have locked in place, with the resulting pressure on the glass causing the failure. The right hinge also sheared off. Shattered glass spread over a few feet to the interior and sides of the vehicle. Waiting for dealership to reopen after holiday weekend to discuss the matter. Pe04045_pco

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #62

May 152004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
On May 15, 2004 while at a walmart in niagara falls, New York, the rear hatch hinge bolt on my wife's 2002 Ford Explorer sheared off and fell on her head causing a concussion and other related injuries. Pe04045_pco

- Youngstown, NY, USA

problem #61

Aug 152003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
On a hot day, I opened the glass liftgate & the passenger side strut glue came undone, causing the liftgate to not shut properly. I then removed the strut so that I could close the liftgate without breaking the glass, & continue to drive. I never opened it again. A month later, the glue on the holding strut & the glass on the driver side became undone. (also, on the first warm day of this spring season, I powered down the passenger side front seat window, but I was unable to get it to go back up, although the power was working. It became evident that this is also attributable to the inferior bonding product used on this window. The interim remedy was that I taped the window up with duct tape to protect the vehicle from the elements & theft.) it's clear that since this has happened in 2 sections of my new vehicle that there is a defect in the bonding product used on these windows. I found there is a recall for this very problem on my vehicle. (recall no. 01I010000.) there is also a phone no. To call regarding this problem as Ford has decided to conduct a special service campaign to inspect and torque the liftgate glass bracket on affected vehicles. I called this number and was advised that, although I have the exact vehicle and problem as the recall requires, my VIN number does not render me eligible for the recall. In addition, although I clearly have an affected vehicle,  I was not offered the opportunity to have the benefit of the special service campaign.given the nature of the problem, the newness of the vehicle & the fact that it has happened on two windows, this is clearly a manufacturer defect. In addition, there is a recall for the exact problem (on the back window) on my exact vehicle. If for some reason my VIN number is not included, it obviously should be included. After all, how do they initially determine which groups of cars have been affected if not by the consumers complaining of the problem? being fixed tomorrow for $800. PE04045.pco

- Green Brook, NJ, USA

problem #60

May 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles


On May 8, I was placing some items in the rear of my 2002 Explorer through the hatchback (the glass part, not the entire rear door). I heard a pop when the glass raised up. Since it was dark and I wasn't sure what that noise was, I slowly started to close the glass when it exploded. As it turns out, the right pneumatic shock mount had broken off the glass as it lifted. The glass must have been broken by a portion of that shock mount in the path during closing. Luckily, I only received a cut on my hand as glass was everywhere; in my shoes, hair, purse, etc. I am very thankful that my three-year-old was not with me, as she normally would be standing by my side in that situation. I can only imaging what could have happened. My husband drove the vehicle to the Ford dealership the next day, anticipating the worst, but they fixed the vehicle free of charge. They claimed that was the first time they had heard of that happening, but they were very quick to give him a loaner and get him out of there. We purchased the vehicle in August of 2002. It had approximately 14,000 miles on it at the time of the incident. I hope this info helps. Pe04045_pco

- O Fallon, MO, USA

problem #59

Apr 162004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,500 miles
I lifted the top portion of the tailgate to retrieve items from car. As it lifted, the bolt that hinges the right top side of the tailgate broke off, the hydrolic portion let go and the tailgate came down on my head. I was unable to close the tailgate after that, and it was hanging down on an angle, undriveable as it continued to fall further down and make "cracking" noises. It is currently being fixed, however Ford is not too concerned! my car is 500 miles over warranty (1 1/2 years old), and they say I am responsible to pay a portion of this bill. Pe04045_pco

- Medway, MA, USA

problem #58

Apr 082004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,500 miles
I was opening the door to get my daughters diaper bag and hinge broke. My husband was trying to put it back and the glass shattered in his hands. My daughter and I were standing next to the vehicle as the glass shattered. This could have taken my entire families eye sight. The glass literally exploded. This issue is definitely unsafe!!! especially when there are young children around. And mothers are opening up the hatch to get out a diaper bag with a child in hand. Please note this is the second time we have had a problem with this hatch. We took it to Ford. This should be a mandatory safety recall. Pe04045_pco

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #57

Mar 162004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Rear hatch lift on my 2002 Ford Explorer glass shattered when I closed it after placing a diaper bag in the back I took the vehicle to Texas Ford to find out if there was a recall I was told none. They refused to replace my glass because it was out of warranty. That I should file on my insurance. PE04045.pco

- Everman, TX, USA

problem #56

Mar 022004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,250 miles


While standing under the raised liftgate (top half) loading groceries, the glass suddenly and unexpectedly shattered causing my wife and I to be showered by shards of glass and then hit on our heads and backs with the falling liftgate assembly. This incident caused us head, neck and back trauma and also a scratched cornea to my wife's left eye. Ford refuses responsibility for this incident. PE04045.pco

- Webster, NY, USA

problem #55

Feb 232004


  • miles
Vehicle was parked with sunroof open. When trying to close hatchback after loading swimming equipment, glass shattered. This occurred twice, inconveniencing the consumer's daily routine. PE04045.pco

- Sarver, PA, USA

problem #54

Jan 312004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,500 miles
In August, 2003, the vehicle back window hinge broke while loading groceries, it caused damage to the tailgate frame and the glass cracked. Both were replaced taking over 7 days. The same component broke again in January, 2004, causing the rear glass to crash on my wifes head. Luckily she only had a minor bruise and bump from the impact. I asked the manager of maintenance about this problem, and he said it happens all the time. Pe04045_pco

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #53

Feb 132004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,100 miles
I have a Ford Explorer 2002 XLS. While opening my rear window door the left hinge (latch) broke and the window exploded throwing glass everywhere including pasengers inside the vehicle. I went to the vendor and was told that this was not anymore responsability of the manufacturer since the warranty was expired. I complaint was filed with the police department since in the incident there where people involved and happened in my workplace parking lot. Pe04045_pco

- Arecibo, RI, USA

problem #52

Jan 252004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
The consumer leaned over into the rear compartment of the vehicle when the rear window hinge broke and fell on top of the consumer's head. The hinge was replaced, but in the process, the "flip open" rear window shattered, subsequently the entire rear window along with the left and right hinges were replaced. (prior to the incident, the consumer noticed that the rear window would open without one opening the entire rear door to gain access to the back of the vehicle) pe04045_pco

- Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #51

Feb 092004


  • miles
Consumer was responsible for repairing a customer's vehicle because the rear window shattered when he opened the rear hatch. When he closed the hatchback the rear liftgate window exploded. A recall was issued. But this vehicle was not included in the recall because of VIN, per manufacturer. PE04045.pco dob is 12/02_061704_pco

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #50

Feb 042004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
Upon closing the hatchback the strut locked up and the glass shattered. Pieces of glass landed in consumer's eyes. Consumer was not injured since he wore glasses. Vehicle was turned off when this occurred. PE04045.pco dob is 10/01_061704_pco

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #49

Dec 302003


  • miles
While opening the rear lift gate the door hinge broke and caused the door not to close/latch properly. Please provide any additional information. Re-eval since PE opening and det to be valid pe04045_pco

- Millington, TN, USA

problem #48

Sep 182002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Glass exploded out of the back window, injuring my daughter. Ford states that there is a campaign, not a recall. So I wasn't notified of the faulty plunger mechanism. Ford replaced the glass, but could not guarantee me that it would not happen again, so I turned in the lease since the vehicle is unsafe for my family (4 kids). They are suing me because I turned in the lease early. PE04045.pco

- Perry, MI, USA

problem #47

Dec 072003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The hinges on the back hatch window separated from the body of the vehicle, causing the door to sag and lean outwards when the doors were opened. The hinge on the back hatch window separated from the body and caused the window to be held on by one hinge. The window was hanging from the hinge only. The dealer replaced the hinges. (hatch door problem) pe04045_pco

- Huntington, CA, USA

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