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.

6.5

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$449.00
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 21 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #222

Jan 282008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

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

I discovered a vertical crack the entire length of the rear plastic panel directly below the glass. Actually I thought my car had been hit or vandalized. After making a police report and taking my car to a Ford dealership for an estimate, I found out this has been a reoccurring problem with the Explorer's back panel. The Ford dealership indicated that it is believed that it has to do with the glass is epoxied to the back panel. Over time, the expansion and contraction of cold and heat to the glass puts stress on the the panel and cracks it. Ford said they have seen more cracks on the right side of the panel. Ford indicated that replacement is covered if the owner has a current bumper-to-bumper warranty. This is obviously a defect and the owner should not have to pay a cent for replacement. The responsibility is Ford's. They know it is a defect, however unless it's a safety issue and someone dies, they'll sit on this regardless of the number of complaints that accumulate. In the meanwhile, I am replacing the defective/damage panel to avoid additional damages from rain and snow. If I don't and something else is affected, Ford will tell me that it isn't their responsibility, as well! Once it's replaced, I am selling it and will not buy another Ford. It's no wonder more and more Americans are buying Toyota and Honda. This really ticks me off, since it will cost me the inconvenience of one day without a vehicle and approximately $450.00!

- , Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #221

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,350 miles

I bought this car used this past Thursday, January 24, 2008 and the next day I noticed this crack on the panel underneath the rear hatch window. I took it back to the dealer and he said he would try to get it fixed but not to expect it. I went on line trying to find the part and ended up finding a website, www.autoforum.com where I found there have been many complaints about this same problem. Some people have had the panel replaced and the same thing happens. It is definitely a design defect or better yet a material defect. It seems that extremely cold weather causes the plastic to expand or contract which causes the crack. People have tried to get Ford to fix their problem but most were not fixed by Ford. One person had his fixed with the Ford Assistance Program, he paid $100 and Ford paid the rest. Another person suggested removing the panel adding something to the back side of the panel (epoxy?). For the moment I think I'm going to get some clear outside window caulking to stop it up so water won't get in and make it worse until I can figure out how I am going to handle the problem.

- , Lanham, MD, USA

problem #220

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,311 miles

I was getting ready to put some groceries in the rear of my Ford Explorer when I noticed that there was a long crack going from the tailgate window to the lower tailgate.

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #219

Jan 042007

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

After reading all the complaints about this exact same problem, I feel that Ford should be fixing this. How awful.

- , Shoreham, NY, US

problem #218

May 212007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. Thought you might be interested in Ford's response to this. Sounds like Alfred E. Newman with "What, me worry?"

And Ford wonders why people aren't buying their cars and SUV's anymore. Here is their response.

"Dear Jim,

We have reviewed your situation, and there are no warranties, recalls or customer satisfaction programs on your vehicle that would provide assistance for this repair.

On the other hand, your vehicle is involved in a customer satisfaction program. Please contact your Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership right away to schedule an appointment to complete the work.

Vehicle Identification Number: 1FMD............. Program Number: 02M01 Part Name: tube-mounted EGR Pressure Sensor

Sincerely, Al Customer Relationship Center Ford Motor Company

For online support visit us at: www.customersaskford.com which contains answers to frequently asked questions and links to other key product and service information."

Notice "Al" did not give his last name. Maybe it's Newman. If you want to tell "Al" what you think, you can email "Al" at crcfmc@ford.com. Strange it does not match any of "Al's" initials, even though he only gave me 1. Oh, I guess "crcfmc" stands for "Customer Response Center Ford Motor Company". No, it couldn't mean that, they have no valid response for an obvious factory defect that they refuse to acknowledge. Give "Al" a shot, and see if you can do any better than me......

- , Wellington, FL, USA

problem #217

Jan 172008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,700 miles

I have had this car for 5 years! Couldn't believe it when I went to get groceries out of the back. There was a long crack on the right side of the car extending from the window all the way down the rear. At first I thought someone hit me, but there were no marks. I was so mad. We had a very cold week, so I thought maybe it was something to do with that. By luck, got on the internet to see if anyone had an idea about this. Could not believe the amount of complaints with people who had very similar stories. Talked to the local Ford dealership and she said that she had heard of some cases like this, but there was not a recall on it. What no recall! Look at all of these complaints. Ford should help pay for this. This is not a cheap fix. Close to $400. I am going to complain to Ford some more. This just doesn't seem right, if everyone is having this problem.

- , Wilmingto, NC, USA

problem #216

Jan 202008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

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

I noticed the rear panel crack yesterday morning as I was loading up my golf clubs. I ran some web searches today to investigate and cannot believe how many other complaints there are on this 2002 Explorer model. Aside from the reported rear panel cracks, there are so many other complaints.

I'm going to get rid of this car ASAP before it completely falls apart on me. This is the last time I ever buy an American made car. I can see why Toyota and Honda lead the world in sales.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #215

Jan 172008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Yet another Ford Explorer with this issue. When will Ford wake up and realize that this is a design flaw? I have yet to go to my dealership, but based on comments here, it will be a waste of time unless I cough up several hundred $$'s. The time is now for a class action law suit to force Ford into doing what any good company would do under the circumstances. Is it any wonder that Ford is going down the toilet ??? I've owned a number of Ford's, but my next purchase will most definitely NOT be a Ford!

- , Littleton, CO, USA

problem #214

Jan 202008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I noticed the crack when I went outside to drive my other vehicle. Maybe it's the cold weather that caused it to crack...it's been -20F here in northern Wisconsin lately...but hey, we always get a stretch of extreme cold. The vehicle hasn't been driven in 3 days, nor have the doors or back window been opened, so it can't be anything to do with movement in this cold weather. It was just cracked. Frustrating.

- , Superior, WI, USA

problem #213

Jul 182007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I can't believe Ford didn't issue a recall for the back tailgate panel. I'm not sure what happens when the thing cracks from top to bottom. does it fall off?

- , Buda, TX, USA

problem #212

Jan 182007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

My 2002 Ford explorer has not 1 but 2 cracks on the plastic molding below rear window.Ford needs to do something about this.

- , Stuarts Draft, VA, USA

problem #211

Jan 112008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,987 miles

I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT FORD HAS RECALLED AND FIX THE PROBLEM WITH THE LIFTGATE PLASTIC PANEL CRACKING. I CUT MY HAND ON IT IN THE DARK AND HAD TO TAPE IT UP SO MY CHILDREN WON'T GET HURT. I CALLED MY DEALER AND ALSO PUT IN A COMPLAINT TO FORD'S CUSTOMER SERVICE AFTER THEY BOTH SAID THEY WOULDN'T COVER IT. I TOLD THEM I HAVE BEEN BUYING FORDS FOR YEARS, AND THEY CAN TELL THAT I HAVE, BUT STILL THEY DON'T SEEM TO CARE. IF THEY DON'T RECALL AND FIX THIS PROBLEM BY SPRING AND I HAVE TO PAY TO FIX IT WE WON'T BE BUYING THAT NEW FORD IN THE SPRING. I WILL BE SWITCHING TO SOME OTHER CAR MAKER. CAN SOMEONE SEND ME THE NTSB ADDRESS TO FILE A COMPLAINT, MAYBE WHEN THEY KNOW PEOPLE ARE GETTING CUT BY THESE CRACKED PANELS THEY WILL HAVE TO RECALL THEM.THANKS AND GOOD LOOK TO ALL. "GO PAT'S"

- , Boylston, MA, USA

problem #210

Jan 042007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This happened the first time it got really cold last year. When it is hot outside, the plastic expands and you can hardly see it. I have researched, and there are no recalls, and I refuse to pay and have it fixed. Luckily, I have had no paint issues, just the crack.

I feel it is amazing how Ford can just ignore this problem and act as though it does not exist. I have had several conversations with strangers and their explorers with the exact same issue and they all feel the same as me. IRATE!!!

- , Mechanicsville, VA, US

problem #209

Jan 122008

Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,260 miles

Just purchased the car a few months ago from a local dealer. Got up today did some running around and later that day went to open the back door and noticed a crack in the panel. The panel right above the glass window, the crack is a 1/8 of a inch all the way down. Come to find out that this is a ongoing problem that many owners are battling. This is not an inexpensive fix it cost hundreds of dollars to repair or replace. We just made are second payment on the car and have a five year loan. We don't know what to expect next that could go wrong. This should be a repair that should be paid for through the manufacturer of the car since this is nothing we've done, it's a defect.

- , Hobart, IN, US

problem #208

Jan 042008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the crack yesterday. I looked for malicious damage marks but could find none. I have not yet pursued getting it fixed by Ford yet but definitely plan to start tomorrow (1/8/08). This is the first problem I have had with the vehicle. It has been a very solid SUV for me with no other complaints. I bought it used (19,000 miles) and pull a boat and camper with it(it has the towing package).

- , Crossville, TN, USA

problem #207

Feb 082007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

The crack occurred last winter and was probably caused by the cold and should be repaired by Ford since its clearly a defect.

- , Portland,, OR, USA

problem #206

Jan 012004

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

When we bought this used vehicle we thought this crack was from previous owner neglect. But after reading the long list of the same problem i think its time for ford to buck up and admit its their problem.

- , Hudson, WI, USA

problem #205

Jun 132007

Explorer ES 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I has seen 5 other explorer with the same problem. Ford should pay for cars to be fixed

- , Mt Holly, NJ, USA

problem #204

Jan 032008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Plastic panel below rear window cracked for no good reason. Night before no crack, next morning found crack of about 1/8" to 1/4" all the way through plastic from top to bottom near FORD logo. Yes, It was cold that night. If it's true that the glass is glued to the plastic, one would think the expanding and contracting due to weather changes is the cause. I have not taken it in to be fixed yet and probably will not fix it if I have to pay for it. I will just advertise on the back of my suv, like someone suggested: FORD'S FAMOUS BUTT CRACK!!

- , Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #203

Nov 182007

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles

Noticed a small crack in the rear panel of my Explorer in November of 2007. Since November this crack has grown into a full length panel crack. This occurred by no fault of mine. After finding this site and reading all these complaints, I would like to know why Ford has not had a recall. Obviously, this has to be a factory default!

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

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