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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,996 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

problem #12

Mar 202010

Explorer

  • 156,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear liftgate panel was ajar when the pistons failed, causing the liftgate to slam shut and shatter the rear window glass. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that the pistons were not covered under warranty nor was there a recall for the failure therefore; the contact would be liable for the $700 in repairs. The manufacturer was not contacted. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 156,000.

- Port Clinton, OH, USA

problem #11

Feb 112008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
I drive a 2002 Ford Explorer, eddie bauer model, 4 door. The arms (4) which hold both the back door up when open and the back glass up when open do not raise up fully. I find myself constantly bumping my head on either the door or the glass. Last night after a baseball practice for my 10-year old son I popped open the back glass to put his baseball bag in the car. The glass went up part way and unthinkingly I hit my head on the glass. I pushed the glass up so I could place the bag in the vehicle and the glass pane exploded. It showered glass shrapnel over the two of us. We were both shocked that the glass window would just catastrophically explode. We are very lucky we were not injured. I feel that this accident is a public hazard. I will avoid a poor design like this when looking for a new car. When I reported it to payton wright Ford in grapevine, Texas, the service adviser shrugged it off and stated yes I've seen that happen, like it was an everyday occurrence. I was told to report it to my insurance company and that Ford would do nothing about it.

- Roanoke, TX, USA

problem #10

Feb 032008

Explorer 4WD

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I lifted my rear upper tailgate on my 2002 Ford Explorer, and the windshield literally exploded on my head, including dropping the lower part of the tailgate on top of me. After searching on the internet it appears to be a very common problem, and my local Ford dealer claims they've never heard of such a thing. My local bodyshop however was familiar with the problem. This tailgate had a previous recall related to the hinges I believe, which I did have done, back in 2005. My car has 75,000 miles and is used almost exclusively for highway driving.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #9

Oct 092005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles

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

There is a panel below the rear window gate that has a vertical crack.. initially, the rear window was a recall, now the panel below the window has cracked. The rear window was replaced, at no cost, but Ford will not replace the defect/crack on the back panel.

- West Dover, VT, USA

problem #8

Dec 052006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,950 miles
: the contact stated while parked, the rear hatch was lifted up, and the hydraulic support device failed. This caused the rear hatch to close forcefully on the arm of the contact. The left arm of the contact sustained a huge bruise, and was wearing 3 layers of clothing at the time of the incident. The following day, the manufacturer was contacted, who determined that the dealer should be contacted for repairs. The dealer was contacted, and the support device was replaced. The contact expressed concern that a child could have been seriously injured or killed if the rear hatch failed with a child present.

- Hilton, NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 132004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked, the liftgate latch was not properly secured. While trying to close the liftgate, the contact noticed that the screw that holds the liftgate had loosened, and would not close. The vehicle was taken to a service dealer, where the hinges were replaced. The manufacturer was notified, who informed the contact there was a recall on the hinge, but that recall was closed.

- Henagar, AL, USA

problem #6

Dec 132005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Two large cracks below liftgate window. I took truck in for recall 04S20 and dealership said cracks were not Ford problem bull ----- shame on Ford I have been looking on internet complaints and many other people have the same problem. I think they should fix it correctly the first time.

- Brazil, IN, USA

problem #5

Aug 072005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Rear hatch window lift failed and caused rear glass to shatter (luckily no one was hurt). The window was lifted to remove items from the rear and the lift arm apparently was wedged under the glass and it exploded so loudly that neighbors 2 houses away ran over and people walking down the street came to make sure no one was injured. We had the glass replaced by a glass company--this took 4 days due to the unavailability of the glass. They also indicated they had just (the same day) replaced another with the exact same problem and they had seen several in the last few weeks. The struts were not replaced and we were advised not to use the hatch door until they are. Our dealer was not responsive on this matter but I believe there needs to be an investigation. The glass co said that the window design was changed in or after 2002 so the struts are lower and support the glass correctly.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 222004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Car was parked. When my wife was walking to the vehicle, she noticed a large crack down the back door (hatch area) of vehicle which is directly below the glass. Take note that if this panel falls off (and could with the crack), it could fall onto another vehicle causing harm or tragedy. If the panel also falls off, the glass is no longer supported which also can result in it falling off onto another vehicle or onto the highway causing an accident.

- Medford, NJ, USA

problem #3

Oct 012004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Recall 04V442000 was issued for the liftgate in October 2004. Dealer stated the part was not available.

- Cherokee, OK, USA

problem #2

Feb 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
NHTSA recall campaign 04V442000; Ford issued a rear liftgate glass recall. This vehicle was included in the recall, but there were no available parts in order to repair.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #1

Apr 222003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle was on its fourth repair for rear the glass lift gate, the bracket door failed to stay up.

- Ringgold, GA, USA

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