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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
66,481 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should replace the piece (27 reports)
  2. replace black plastic panel (19 reports)
  3. not sure (14 reports)
  4. i bought back to black by mothers (1 reports)
  5. replaced all the rear doors (1 reports)
  6. used "Black Box" by Turtle Wax (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Jul 162006

(reported on)

Explorer LXS

  • 80,000 miles


very unattractive when you consider i still have 2 years to pay $370 a month for avehicle that looks terrible. this is in addition to paint chipping elsewhere on the car. i am very very discouraged about buying a ford product again if this how i am going to be treated.

- , Guyton, GA, US

problem #2

Jun 222006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I purchased this used with only 43k on it, at 50k I noticed the panels were fading!! Once again, I figured it was my car wash or something, now I see it is a chronic flaw to a beautiful car. Don't know if I can get Ford excited about this, since I bought it used.

- , Redding, CA, US

problem #1

Mar 292006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • 54,000 miles

This is on every Explorer 2002 that I have looked at the Black PLastic Panel on both sides of the vehicle between the windows and the two Black Plastic Panels one on each side of the Lift Door/Gate are all fading and cracking. This is very ugly for a vehicle that cost $30,000. The Body paint is perfect, but the window panels are very un sigthly, ugly and degrade the looks of the SUV. Ford does not seem to care, I told them that just about any of them that have that Black Panel between the windows is doing the same thing. If you have not noticed on your Explorer just go and take a look. Mine started to fade and crack at the top side of each panel and now on the drivers side it is all the way down to the body of the door. This is very distracting and should not be this way. I own a 1998 Dodge Ram with Black panels between the windows and they look as new as the day I bought the truck. I told Ford they need to use or see what it is that Dodge can do to keep their panels from cracking and copy it. I went out in the parking lot where I work at and out of 30 or so parking spots there were three other Explorers there. I am not lying they were all doing the same exact thing. This is a manufactures defect and should be corrected. Ford so far does not care about the customer satisfaction of this problem. If you have and Explorer just look at the Black Panels between the windows and on the two Panels in the rear of the vehicle and tell Ford what you see. Lets all get together and get a recall on this problem. I promise I would not buy a used one with that unsigthly fadding and cracking. I had a body shop give me and estimate to have this matter corrected and it was under $500. The vehicle cost $30,000 and I know some of the Explorer owners paid more than that. I promise you if you have not noticed this problem when you do notice it you will see it every time you get in your Explorer now. This work manship is very uncalled for and should be corrected. JUST call customer service and complain. Do not pay that kind of money for a vehicle to have such a problem exist. Beautiful SUV very, very, very ugly window trim.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Not what you are looking for?