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:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,546 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 1 of 6)

problem #111

Jan 102014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles

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

The rear back hatch cracked.

- Rockingham, NC, USA

problem #110

Mar 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 140,738 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the lift gate window was shattered on the ground. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. After diagnosis they advised him that the hinges fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 140,738. The current mileage was approximately 149,229.

- Ludington, MI, USA

problem #109

Jun 012005

Explorer

  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer ext wagon. The contact that stated that upon purchasing the vehicle he noticed that the transmission would shift in an awkward manner. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who informed him that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The failure suddenly recurred and he had to replace the transmission. He also stated that 3 out of 4 window regulators have failed. The windows are not working normally. The liftgate in the rear of the vehicle was fractured which made it difficult to open. The vehicle had only been repaired for the transmission and the 3 window regulators. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000.

- Woodbary, NJ, USA

problem #108

Jan 102009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was parked at his residence when he observed that the rear liftgate exhibited a crack near the emblem. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 100,000. Updated 2/22/10 updated 05/10/10

- Auburn , NH, USA

problem #107

May 182005

Explorer

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The rear hatch lift-gate under the Ford emblem has developed cracks. Consequently water has entered the doors and lights. The vehicle was taken to the dealership and she was advised that she would have to pay between $600-$700 to repair the vehicle. She notified the manufacturer of the failure, but was referred to NHTSA. The current mileage was approximately 120,000. The failure mileage was approximately 70,000.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #106

Oct 062009

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When he attempted to turn the ignition switch, the steering column fractured. Secondly, the rear lift-gates panel split in half. Thirdly, the transmission intermittently slipped out of gear. None of the failures have been remedied. He previously filed a complaint. The failure and current mileages were 80,000.

- Dover, OH, USA

problem #105

Apr 302009

Explorer

  • 83,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When entering the vehicle, the contact noticed that the rear liftgate below the window was cracked. He was concerned that the window panel would fail and cause the glass to slide out and shatter. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The contact is in the process of taking the vehicle to the dealer and notifying the manufacturer. The failure and current mileages were 83,000.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #104

Feb 282009

Explorer

  • 94,910 miles
My wife opened the rear hatch to get groceries out. It started falling on her. Her friend reached to lift it up and it exploded on my wife when she tried to lift it off my wife. I am debbie's husband. We bought the car in 2004. They recalled it in 2006 to put the new hinges on, that were supposed to be Ford's recall fix for the problem. It did not resolve the problem. It appears that people are still having the issue after their so called fix. Its time for Ford to really fix the problem or pay consumers for their loss through a class action suit. I tried to tell my wife to stick with GM SUV's. the Ford has been a big disappointment in many areas. It never got the mileage we were told it would get. We get 16 to 17 on the highway. We were told we could get 24. The Chevy vortech does get the 24 mpg and our safari van does it daily.

- Dixie, WA, USA

problem #103

Feb 152009

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles
We have a Ford Explorer XLT 2002. The rear window lift gate would not stay up on its own, so my son pushed it up, and the rear window glass exploded. He and my husband received minor cuts and it came very close to my sons eyes. I did some research online and found that others had very similar experiences at www. carcomplaints.com in 2004 we took the vehicle to the dealer secondary to a recall regarding the shocks on the rear window. We took it in and they supposably fixed it. I don't know why it my window exploded, but what would have happened it the glass had gotten in my sons eyes we will be calling the dealership in the morning to see what they say. By the way it is going to cost 1400 dollars to get it repaired.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #102

Jan 162007

Explorer

  • 48,000 miles
1. due to a recall (Ford recall no. 04S20. ), the liftgate glass operation system was replaced in 2005. Since early 2007, the same glass struts and hinges are apparently having problem -- first it took extra effort to raise the glass to the fully opening position, then while the glass is lifted open, it unexpectedly dropped down. I got hit 3 times at my head or hands by the sudden dropped glass and frame; it coursed bleeding on my hand once. This is certainly of serious safety concern. I really doubt if the Ford dealer (gainesville Ford in gainesville, fl) correctly performed the recall job in 2005, as they have a reputation of low standards of service and technique. But, Ford, as the manufacturer, should have also taken the responsibility of enforcing the recall job meet the standard. Otherwise, what is point of going through the recall? 2. since July of 2008, I started to notice that the back liftgate panel start having cracking under the rear window. I suspect that this is related to the malfunction of the liftgate glass struts or hinges, the same system that was previously recalled. Nonetheless, this is clearly a safety issue as well, since the crack appearing reflects the liftgate being unstable and the glass having much higher risk of accidentally breaking, therefore coursing injury. This vehicle, with only 60 K miles, has been taken good care. Through searching internet, I found this appears to be a quite common issue for Explorer 2002 model. It is absolutely not acceptable to have this kind safety issue ignored by Ford for so long. Please help to get Ford to truly realize their responsibility and give the massive affected public justice. Thank you very much! J. james jia

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #101

Nov 092008

Explorer

  • 121,000 miles

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

I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT I was lifting my rear glass window not the whole liftgate just the glass I was about 3/4 of the way up when I heard this loud noise and was showered by falling glass and then eventually struck by the bottom of the door. I called Ford they say there is nothing they will do to fix this issue I have done some research on this and it seems that I am not the only person with this issue.

- Wayne, IL, USA

problem #100

Oct 272008

Explorer

  • 76,249 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When the contact manually closed the liftgate, the rear glass exploded unexpectedly. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 011010000; however, it failed to sufficiently correct the safety defect. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact was concerned of the safety risk involved. The failure mileage was 76,249 and current mileage was 76,259.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #99

Mar 012007

Explorer

  • miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that has several cracks on the liftgate that just appeared one day. I have seen several other Explorer with the same problem and am not sure why this has not become a recall.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

problem #98

Jul 082008

Explorer

  • 89,000 miles
My husband opened the liftgate to my 2002 eddie bauer Ford Explorer to bring our hurricane supply kit into the house. Afterwards, he went to close the liftgate, just as normal, and the glass, without any warning, exploded into hundreds of pieces and the frame below the glass crashed to the ground. Glass was found halfway down the driveway, under the car, inside the car, and on top of the car. The hinges were clearly both broken and wires were separated from the liftgate. My husband was standing to the side of the car when he closed the liftgate and luckily only had a minor cut on his toe. The liftgate did not touch anything and was not hit by anything or forced to close immediately prior to it exploding. I essentially have a three-sided car right now. Ford issued a recall (04S20) on the liftgate glass hinge and ball stud bracket earlier and I had that repair completed on 09/25/07. The description of the explosion is verbatim of what was described in the recall, however Ford customer care denies any responsibility stating that part is no longer under warranty as does the dealer who originally repaired the recalled part. This could have been extremely disastrous if my husband had not been standing off to the side or if anyone had been inside the car, especially children. Ford should be required to pay for any incidents that happen involving the hinge and ball bracket even if the repair was made as they requested per the recall. Doors do not just 'come off' for no reason. Their method of 'repairing' the recall is not sufficient as there are blogs online with many other exact complaints.

- Estero, FL, USA

problem #97

May 222008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
I was loading groceries into the back of my 2002 Ford Explorer when the liftgate window exploded. The hinge on the liftgate had actually broken, shattering glass everywhere. My hand was cut and I was hit in the head by the liftgate. While devastating, it could have been tragic. I had the hinges and liftgate serviced and repaired several years ago due to a recall issued by Ford for a manufacturer's defect. Apparently, the problem was repaired with other defective parts or wasn't repaired at all. When I contacted Ford, they refused to pay for repairs and referred me to my insurance company, who said it was a Ford problem. I am stuck with the $1,400 bill but Ford loses my business.

- Jefferson, GA, USA

problem #96

Nov 152007

Explorer

  • miles
I recently purchased a used 2002 Ford Explorer. The middle section of the hatch cracked down the middle. Upon further research I found this is a widespread problem with Explorer of this year model. It's obvious to all those who own one that the problem was a defect in material from the manufacturer. Ford refuses to fix it or even make partial restitution for having it repaired.

- Candler, NC, USA

problem #95

Jun 102007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,561 miles
A crack appeared on the rear hatch door under the rear window. The crack just appeared one morning without any direct action. A search on the internet showed that this problem is happening to many 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Redlnds, CA, USA

problem #94

Dec 052006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles
Crack appeared in winter 2006 in hatch below rear window. This was a Florida car up to June 2006. All was fine in Florida. I suspect cold has something to do with these cracks. No repair has been made as I am hoping for a recall.

- Murphy, NC, USA

problem #93

Apr 162008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,900 miles
Rear tailgate on my 2002 Ford Explorer was recalled for the hinges to be exposed since then the tailgate would exhibit random door ajar indications. Recently the plastic panel on the outside under the glass has split vertically in the middle.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #92

Dec 262007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The paint on my 2002 Ford Explorer was peeling off the panels between the windows after 3 years (and it's primarily parked in my garage). After contacting Ford and appealing to 2 different dealers for assistance, I decided I could live with it because it was cosmetic flaw even though the dealers admitted that this was "normal" for this to happen. However, on Dec 26, 2007, I went out to my car in the morning while out of town, and noticed a three inch crack in the body of the rear hatch, just to the right of the Ford logo. This did not happen as a result of being closed too hard or any other logical cause. It just cracked on its own. I called Ford about this problem and they said that I would need to take it to a dealer for an estimate. I complied with this request and took it in. The dealers service manager told me that at one time, there had been funds available for this repair, but not anymore. I was told by Ford that since it was out of warranty, they could not help me. So Ford is well aware of this problem but will do nothing to remedy the problem. This happened as a result of a manufacturer's defect, but since I took care of my vehicle by parking it out of the elements, it did not manifest until the car was out of the warranty period. I also believe this poses a safety issue because the cracked plastic is a bit sharp and I do not wish to cut my hand when closing the door.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

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