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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 1
Average Mileage:
60,366 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 2)

problem #38

Nov 222015

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 91,000 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 while parked, the rear hatch window was closed and it shattered. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 91,000. The consumer stated after the window was replaced, she received a recall letter for the exact issue. Updated 03/21/16.

- Victor, IA, USA

problem #37

Nov 022014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Crack in rear lift gate panel that led to shattered rear window upon normal closing.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #36

Jun 072014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 43,857 miles
I purchased this to use as a second vehicle for camping trips so the mileage on it is very low for its age. Suddenly one day of normal local driving, the O/D light started flashing and the vehicle started to run very rough. It couldn't seem to accelerate and rpms were high. I had to drive home with emergency flashers on since the car felt like it was going to die any moment. Since O/D flashing means something with transmission, I took it to two different transmission repair shops who both diagnosed a bad transmission that would need to be replaced at about $3,500. I was shocked that I would need a new transmission with only 43000 miles on vehicle despite its age. Both shops informed me that the 2002 Ford Explorer are notorious for bad transmissions. I called Ford Motor Company to request assistance with this repair. They would not help me in any way. The vehicle is not drivable and I am not in a financial position to take on such an expensive repair for a second vehicle. Right now it is sitting unused in my driveway while costing me to keep it insured. Can't believe this has happened to me since I thought I was buying a reputable product. Ford abandoned me when their product failed. I will never buy another Ford product again. The least Ford could have done was assume responsibility for their mistakes and not cheat the public. Other issues I am having is flaking peeling paint and a crack through the Ford emblem on the rear door panel.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #35

Oct 172013

Explorer

  • 107,315 miles

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

The 2002 Ford Explorer has a design flaw such that the rear panel cracks. When moisture gets in it causes electrical problems. The six problems experiences on this Explorer are as follows: 1) false "door ajar" indicator 2) rear window wiper no longer worked 3) dead battery 4) back-up warning signals no longer work 5) rear window can no longer open 6) brake lights won't turn off even after the engine is turned off. We had to disconnect the battery and take it to the dealership the next day.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #34

Jul 242013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
The liftgate hinge fractured allowing the glass to fall nearly breaking my hand. This hinge was recalled by NHTSA campaign id number 04V442000 / Ford recall no. 04S20. In contacting customer service tonight on a Ford transmission issue, I discovered the previous hinge recall and they indicated that hinge had been replace once in 2004 and it was my bad luck that it failed a second time. They would make no restitution for the failed part. It is unconscionable that they would have the same issue as a previous recall and not correct the issue again. It is clearly a serious safety hazard they should address, reimburse me for the part I purchased through Ford and replace the other hinge before it also fails and hurts someone.

- Richmond, NH, USA

problem #33

Aug 202012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Car leaking unknown fluids.. there are outstanding recalls on my vehicle. Recall id 09509.

- Thomasville , AL, USA

problem #32

Feb 102013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 98,559 miles

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

We opened the rear window to get something out of the trunk, lifted the window and the window exploded and crashed on my husband's head. It seems as if the hydrolics failed on each side of the rear window. Glass just shattered and was everywhere. My husband's hands were cut and his head was banged up.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #31

Jun 062011

Explorer

  • miles
The trunk of my vehicle has developed a sizable crack in the rear panel only through normal use. I have seen this on a number of other similar vehicles and know it is not only me with this problem.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #30

Feb 082011

Explorer

  • 154,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed that the lift gate panel was cracked. The manufacturer was aware of the failure; however, informed the contact that there were no related recalls and offered no additional assistance. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who informed the contact that the entire lift gate needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 154,000.

- Fredicksburg, VA, USA

problem #29

Mar 182010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I have 2 issues with my 2002 Ford Explorer..the first issue is with the transmission. I bought this last year and took it back to where I bought it 2 days later and they had the transmission shop they deal with look at it and was told there's nothing wrong. When I go to put it in drive or reverse the vehicle wont move. Once I start driving the transmission keeps slipping and when stopped at red light or stop sign I have to be very cautious because it wont go and wants to drift backwards and wants to stall and I don't want to cause an accident by drifting into someone. I have to deal with this everyday and it's getting old now. The second issue is the rear hatch/door.. today I took notice that there is a crack right under the window where the rear Ford emblem is located.

- Lewisburg, PA, USA

problem #28

Jan 222011

Explorer

  • 60,000 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 when the contact noticed a large crack on the rear lift gate. The crack was located directly under the rear lift gate window. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to have the failure diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 60,000.

- Newton Falls, OH, USA

problem #27

Sep 232010

Explorer

  • 130,000 miles
Vehicle recalled for a part causing engine fires. Transmission failure, makes the vehicle unable to shift cost of repair I cannot afford at this time ( new is $ 3000 ).

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #26

Dec 072010

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While the vehicle was parked when she noticed a large crack in the rear lift gate, directly below the rear window. The failure was not diagnosed by a dealer or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 92,000. Updated05/04/11 updated 05/09/11

- Berkley, MA, USA

problem #25

Nov 152010

Explorer

  • miles
My Ford 2002 Explorer has excessive bubbling and peeling of paint on the front edge of the hood. Reported three times to Ford only to be told, "not covered by my warranty". seen hundreds of similar complaints on internet.

- Charlotte, MI, USA

problem #24

Jun 042005

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles
Ford Explorer 2002 rear panel cracked, and I traveled around the country and I saw several cars with the same problem. I visited too many websites and there's more people complaining on that issue. The back door panel is cracked and getting worse everyday, and someday the glass is going to explode.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #23

Jun 142010

Explorer

  • 70,000 miles
Re NHTSA # 04V-442. 2002 Ford Explorer. Liftgate glass hinge sheared and glass fell on me. I was told by service dept that Ford recall 04S20 (performed in 2004) was only warranteed for 1 year, so I purchased new hinge kit (2L2Z-78420A68-aa) and installed myself. After examining old parts, I noticed significant redesign. After discussion with a Ford service manager it appears that initial recall repairs were insufficient and by his estimate the hinges last about 3 years. There were several modifications to the recalled parts and procedures since 12/04. My vehicle was repaired 12/20/04 so the most recent procedure was not followed at the time and most recent parts were not installed. Ford will not compensate for additional expenses once any recall repair was completed. I was not injured because I was opening the hatch slowly and had not let go before the hinge broke and the glass fell. I believed that the safety defect had been repaired. This is not the case. The danger still exists. I suggest a warning notice be sent to all owners that had recall performed before the final procedures (rcrit-04V442-7848) were developed. It would also encourage Ford to cover the cost of repairs for the defective recall repair - including glass breakage - as they did for the original recall.

- Riva, MD, USA

problem #22

Mar 122008

Explorer

  • miles
Panel on the rear upper hatch cracked with a very loud pop startling me the panel has not been fixed yet Ford wants $500 for the minor fix.

- Eastport, NY, USA

problem #21

Jan 011973

Explorer

  • miles
This is an accident waiting O happen. My panel below the rear window in 2002 Explorer may soon fly and hit another car on the freeway and cause a big accident. This is a problem from hundreds of other Ford Explorer. A recall should be made before major accidents happen because of this problem.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 022010

Explorer

  • 70,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear window - the hinges or the slides on the side did not hold the window up for the window section of the rear door. While parked, the glass door came down onto the head of a person, the glass in the window exploded hitting the person in the head, causing the person to fall backwards into the bottom frame of the rear window assembly. The person suffered a large knot on their head and glass cuts. The Ford dealer service department advised this is a "common problem" they have with this vehicle and that Ford is aware of it but has not done anything about a recall or to repair the problem.

- Commerce Twp, MI, USA

problem #19

May 012007

Explorer

  • 90 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer. The hatch below the window is cracked in three places..... and looks like it is not going to last much longer. I have noticed this on many of the same makes and some in the same year and new years. I am very concerned and think that this issued needs to be resolved and recalled asap. I would like to know what other steps I might take to help me resolve this issue. I am embarrassed of it and think that Ford needs to step up to the plate.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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