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:
12 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,190 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 windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Apr 182015


  • 127,000 miles


The rear window shuttered into 100 pieces during the driving. The rear panel has cracked.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #36

Jul 242014


  • 125,000 miles
Back tailgate panel was cracked (defect) and the back window just exploded when the tailgate was open.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #35

Jun 192010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 149,983 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the front passenger, rear passenger and driver side windows malfunctioned. The contacted mentioned that the windows could not be closed or opened. The dealer was contacted and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 149,983 and the current mileage is 206,000. Updated 11/07/12 the consumer stated all of the windows malfunctioned. Updated 11/07/12

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #34

Jan 232011


  • 58,263 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While parked, the contact was standing under the rear lift gate when it closed on its own and the glass shattered. The contact did not have severe injuries but sustained a headache and cuts on her head. The contact stated there was a recall NHTSA campaign id number: 07E104000 (component: Visibility: Glass, side/rear) on the vehicle. The recall repairs were performed on the vehicle prior to the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and stated the vehicle could be taken to the dealer for inspection and if the technicians determined the repairs were not performed correctly, they would cover the costs of the glass but if they were done correctly, the contact would have to cover the repair costs. The failure mileage was 58,263.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #33

Mar 072010


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When the contact attempted to close the rear lift gate door, the glass fell out of the door frame, and shattered. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The rear glass assembly required replacement. The vehicle had a prior recall repair performed under the NHTSA campaign id number 01I010000 (visibility: Glass, side/rear). The failure recurred due to the insufficient remedy repair. The current and failure mileages were 103,000.

- Havertown, PA, USA

problem #32

Dec 252009


  • 172,128 miles
Went to place items in rear. Opened rear glass, glass shattered. Myself and my wife were both standing under the hatch when it shattered. No excessive force on the hatch was given. Wife received wounds to the head and hands. I myself received wounds to hands and arms.

- White Pine, TN, USA

problem #31

Jun 012009


  • miles


On Monday June 1st we were loading items into my Explorer for a garage sale and my husband went to close the door and when he went to close it just exploded everywhere. Luckily by the grace of god my grandson was not around the vehicle at that time. I just feel that Ford should be responsible for this repair because even though I was not the original owner whenever the recall was posted, they should still honor it.

- Morrilton, AR, USA

problem #30

Jun 212008


  • 136,739 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While the vehicle was parked and the rear tailgate hatch window was a quarter of the way down, the contact's son retrieved items from the trunk and the middle piece of the rear end was literally hanging off. The window glass shattered everywhere. His son was uninjured, but the contact believes that this should not have occurred if no pressure was applied to the window itself. The contact drove to the dealer and was informed that the failure was not covered under warranty, nor a recall. The current and failure mileages were 136,739.

- Marietta, CA, USA

problem #29

Mar 312008


  • miles
Problems with this Explorer over my ownership include: -rear glass replaced -front brakes replaced -rear wheel bearings have required replacement, -parking brake issues, -new tires, etc.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #28

Dec 072007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed that the rear glass was cracked from the top to the bottom of the glass. He noticed another crack beginning to form at the top as well. One crack is in the center and the other is on the top right. The manufacturer stated that they would assume a small portion of the cost to have the glass replaced, but did not state whether the failure would recur. The failure mileage was 25,000 and current mileage was 46,700. Updated 04-02-08

- Paradise , CA, USA

problem #27

Jan 252008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


The rear windows was recalled and the repair was performed. Now the back window failed as I am told by the Ford dealer has cracked. After some searching I see this is pretty common after the repair.

- Warrington, PA, USA

problem #26

Dec 252007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Opened the liftglass on the rear of the vehicle and the glass shattered. No excessive force was used. Contacted Ford dealership and said that it was my responsibility since the recall repair had been performed 6 months ago. I am paying for repair.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #25

May 012007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact called regarding NHTSA campaign # 01I010000 (visibility:glass, side/rear). The dealer stated that according to the VIN, the recall repair had already been performed on the vehicle. However, Ford stated that there were no recalls for the vehicle. The manufacturer also stated that the VIN did not relate to the Safety Act. Before he notified the dealer and the manufacturer, the rear side glass on the vehicle had already fallen out, similar to the failure noted in the recall. Unfortunately, the contact never received a recall notice prior to the failure. The estimated cost to have the glass replaced is $900. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer has offered to pay for the repair. The engine size, powertrain, mileage information, and fuel system were unknown.

- Morehead City, NC, USA

problem #24

Feb 022007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact heard a loud noise while driving in reverse. Three days later, she discovered a crack below the window of the rear door. The dealer stated that they have three other vehicles on location with the same failure. The Ford manufacturer stated that nothing could be done because her vehicle is not under warranty and it was not serviced with Ford. The engine size was unknown. The current mileage is 59,000 and failure mileage was 58,750. Updated 02/01/08. Updated 02/01/08

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #23

May 082007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact lifted the tailgate and noticed that the lift cylinder had detached from the socket, causing the tailgate to strike him on the top of his head. The failure resulted in a bump on his head. The dealer stated that his vehicle was not covered under the warranty. There was recall # 01I010000 (visibility:glass, side/rear). The dealer did not verify to determine if his vehicle was included in the recall. The current mileage is 78,000 and failure mileage was 77,500.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #22

Mar 202007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,200 miles
Crack on panel below the rear glass was about 4 inches long. If the crack continues it could become a safety issue at highway speeds. Part of the panel could detach.

- Hilton, NY, USA

problem #21

Mar 142007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
The rear window on my 2002 Ford Explorer exploded when I opened it. Unfortunately a friend was standing near and received a couple minor cuts. No idea what so ever what caused the window to shatter into a million pieces, the local Ford motor folks said this was strange and had never heard of it before. The temperature was about 40 degrees, so it wasn't that cold out. It had been closed just minutes before without any indication of a problem.

- Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #20

Nov 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
TL *- the contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The rear window has a crack near the window molding. No incident occurred which would have caused the window to crack. The contact also observed another vehicle, same make and model with an identical problem. Updated 03/07/07

- Tiskilwa , IL, USA

problem #19

Dec 232004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
At 74000 miles our transmission went out completely while we were on vacation! the dealership where we bought the vehicle, said that "we were the only one's who have had this problem" (yeah right!) it cost us $6000 out of our pocket to fix. At 86000 miles the rear window cracked right below the window. Ford and the dealership refuses to fix it. Again, stayton Ford told us that, "we were the only people who have had this particular issue." At around 85000, 95000 and 105000 miles, the rear seals leaked. We were promised each time that they would last "for at least 50000 miles." We were always a few miles away from getting them replaced for free since they're limited warranty is only good for 10000 miles. At 111000 miles the electrical system went "haywire." Even when all of the door and hatch are closed, the dome light continues to go on and off (making it hard to drive at night) because it senses that a "door is a jar." Sometimes, the key pad that's located on the drivers side window sets off the alarm when we push the first number on the key. Totally unreliable vehicle that I'm afraid to drive!

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #18

Nov 232006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,578 miles
: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked and being washed by hand, the liftgate glass became unfastened and fractured when the gate was opened. This malfunction caused personal injuries. There were no warning signals prior to the incident. The vehicle was taken to a dealership.

- San Juan, PR, USA

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