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:
79,256 miles
Total Complaints:
622 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should pay for it (396 reports)
  2. not sure (86 reports)
  3. paid to have rear panel replaced (48 reports)
  4. file complaint with NHTSA to get a recall issued (26 reports)
  5. start a class action suit and get damages reimbursed (17 reports)
  6. dealership replaced the entire panel (10 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 19 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #262

Jan 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Yet another complaint. I came online today to see if this is a recall! What a shock to see so many people with the same problem we have. I've never bought a Ford prior to this one and let me say for the record I never will again!

I cannot absorb the expense of this repair at this time and feel upset everytime I get into this vehicle looking this way. I take meticulous care of my vehicles and feel it's such a shame Ford cannot stand behind it's consumer to fix a problem such as this one!

Thank you to every other victim of Ford's neglect for writing in! It would be great if we could do something about this!

- , Auburn, NH, USA

problem #261

Jul 202006

(reported on)

Explorer LE

  • 36,000 miles

Suggestions on how to fix? Does anyone know how that panels held onto the window? Double sided tape

- , Meriden, CT, USA

problem #260

Mar 042008

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

What really bites is that I have spent alot of money on a custom paint job & pin stripping And now I have a big crack in the back.

- , Olney, IL, USA

problem #259

Apr 052006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


What the F*** is wrong with FORD, they use to be so great about service and taking care of there loyal customers, now they won't fix an obvious defect that probably 50% of their explorers have, most people here as well as I probably won't buy another vehicle from a company that won't stand behind their product. Sorry FORD but it's your fault, no wonder your stock price is $7.00, I guess it's time to look at Chevy's or Japanese trucks. Thanks for nothing FORD!!!

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #258

Dec 262007

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

02 Crack on hatchback panel under rear window, I can't believe how many other people have had this problem. I was quoted $300 to get it fixed by Ford. I'm glad I didn't do it. Especially if everyone is saying that the problem recurs. I'm going to wait till Ford has a recall on the hatchback cracks, instead handing Ford $300 + . I'm glad I Googled this problem and found this site.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #257

Jan 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I don't know who the idiot(s) were who designed this back door, but this about the 5th time I've had to have it repaired. The hinges on the glass needed to be replaced, I replaced the struts, the open/closed sensor doesn't work and now this! I love my truck, but the rear door is a piece of crap.

- , Maryville, TN, USA

problem #256

Feb 152008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


My Explorer is is great shape and I have taken good care of it. I noticed a crack on the panel just below the rear panel several days ago and I could not determine how in the world it occurred. I was in the parking lot and saw another explorer with a crack in the very same place the next day. About a week later I noticed another explorer on the hwy with a crack as well. Now, since I can't help but focus I have seen a total of four explorers with the same issue. This is pitiful Ford, you should issue a recall and make things right!

- , Greenbrier, TN, USA

problem #255

Feb 162008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I noticed my rear hatch back panel had a significant crack in it. As I read the complaints from other customers I see that this can be a real danger to myself and my small children because the rear window itself can dislodge from the panel and hurt them. WoW! Recall this ASAP before someone gets hurt!

- , Waldwick, NJ, USA

problem #254

Apr 242007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Add me to the list of people with a cracked piece of fiberglass below read windshield. I didn't even realize there was a recall on the windshield/hinges....... perhaps they will replace the fiberglass when I have the recall issue taken care of. But from what I've read here, I won't hold my breath.

- , Pryor, OK, USA

problem #253

Jan 142008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I was very upset to see that there is so many people out there with this same problem . I can't believe that one of our oldest auto manufacturers will not stand behind it's product and step up to fix the problem. Please won't somebody step up,or is it just ok to f#ck us over?

- , Madelia, MN, USA

problem #252

Mar 102008

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,500 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

Well, it does and it doesn't make me feel any better to see so many other complaints about the exact same defect. I was at the carwash the other day when the dryer blew half of my rear panel off my glass lift gate. I, also had the rear glass replaced ONLY AFTER having the hydraulic arm pop off multiple times and having the entire rear windshield shatter on me when I tried to close it one night and the "fixed" hydraulic popped off again. After that happened I asked them if they were sure there wasn't a recall on the lift gate, and they replied "no". After getting a new rear window, about a year later I was closing the window when the entire thing came off the hinges and I was standing in the parking lot holding my rear glass window. The only thing connecting it to the car was the electrical wires going to the brake light. That's when the hinge recall came out and I got that fixed as well. Here it is a few short years later and now my rear appliqué has come off. I have not even called Ford yet, but the estimate at the dealership is over $700. After reading all of these complaints, I see that I'm going to have very little luck getting them to pay for any of it. WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS????

- , Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #251

Mar 102008

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

With this many complaints about the trim cracking and falling off, I urge every one of you to click on the link below and file a complaint with the NHTSA. This is the government agency responsible for investigating defects and issuing recalls or forcing the manufacturer to issue a recall. If they were to get this many complaints I feel certain they would begin an investigation.

Via the Internet. You may electronically submit your complaint to the NHTSA by visiting:

- , Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #250

Jan 102008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I see many occurrences of this problems based on complaints filed by other members, it is definitely a structural problem that should be Ford's responsibility.

Other than this I have 135,000 miles and NO PROBLEMS!!! Keep fingers crossed!

- , Green Brook, NJ, USA

problem #249

Jan 062008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Could not figure out what happened, then started noticing other explorers had the same problem. What is up with Ford?

- , Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #248

Jan 012007

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Problems with this Explorer over my three years of ownership include:

-Window motors needed replaced,

-Cracked rear panel,

-All wheel bearings have required replacement,

-4WD Sensor Issue causing pulsing when accelerating,

-New tires, breaks, etc.

- , La Porte City, IA, USA

problem #247

May 132007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Same issue as above only half my panel fell off. It was never real secure .. now I know why.


- , Levittown, PA, USA

problem #246

Jan 312007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

"Hey Ford, take your Crack Back"....that would be a great sticker to put next to the

crack on our 2002 Ford Explorer and all the others we see on the road with the same problem. It has become almost a game now "There is a Ford Explorer!, does that one have a crack?". With this problem being so obvious, one would think Ford "Built Ford Tough" would try and stand up to its slogan, but this is just a small problem compared to the transmission, which they also would not own up to...I am still working on a good sticker slogan for that problem.

- , Madison, CT, USA

problem #245

Feb 192008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I have seen another Ford the same model as mine with the same crack. FORD should have already been fixing these!!!

- , Ahoskie, NC, USA

problem #244

Feb 132008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,050 miles

This crack is a defect and must be fixed by Ford! If you search the 2002 Explorers

complaint listing there are over 100 complaints with the same rear crack!!! This is

a major issue that needs to be investigated by Ford.

- , Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #243

Sep 012007

Explorer Xlkt V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Like so many others who have a 2002 Explorer, mine also has the crack under the back window. This is my 4th Explorer and because of the multiple problems this specific car has and because of Ford's refusal to help, it is my last. My multiple problems: CD player, air flow of heater, 4x4 not engaging, air bag light, check engine light, transmission, sun visor, and of course the lovely crack below the back window that goes all the way from glass to bottom of that section of the car. I'm not fixing it, because as I have seen in too many reports that the problem reoccurs after having it fixed.

- , Evergreen, CO, USA

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