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 25 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #142

Aug 122007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

I bought this vehicle with a cracked rear panel. I have owned it for 1 1/2 years and now it has 4 large cracks from top to bottom.

FORD TELLS ME THE ENTIRE BACK WINDOW WILL HAVE TO BE REPLACED TO BE FIXED CORRECTLY, or it can be repaired for $250. In my opinion this is a very poor design and will continue to be a problem.

Update from Nov 13, 2014: I fixed the back panel that cracked on 9/13/2007 with an out of pocket expense of $250. This panel at the bottom of the glass on the rear hatch cracked again within a year.

- , Hamilton, OH, US

problem #141

Jun 292007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

CRACKED PANEL BELOW REAR WINDOW FOR NO REASON AT ALL

- , Pittsfield, Mass., USA

problem #140

Jun 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

there is no reason for that rear panel to break . i love the style and appearance of my explorer , but this problem and other relatively minor problems that ford won't stand behind makes it easy to mistake this well built vehicle for a piece of junk.

- , Halethorpe, MD, USA

problem #139

Aug 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

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

So I am not the only one with a cracked panel below the rear window. Very interesting. This is my second explorer and I do like them but I am not sure about future purchases. I was probably going to buy a Focus and a Ranger in the next 12 months but am not sure now.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #138

Jul 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

A crack on the back panel. I called Ford to report the problem and they said there are not many complaints to have it recalled. When I go down the road I see a Ford explorer I look at the back and there is the crack. People out there start complaining about it.

- , Dover, PA, USA

problem #137

Jul 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

We have been back and forth with ford dealerships to try and have this fixed - they suggested it was our problem and caused from closing the hatch too hard - well then I guess a lot of people close their hatch too hard! what jerks!

THEY SHOULD RECALL AND FIX IT - it it obviously a defect - duh!!!!!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #136

Jul 272007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

Came into this site to report problem with my transmission but noticed that others also had the panel under rear window crack - another Ford Quality Part - Go Ford

- , Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #135

Jul 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

The 2002 Ford explorer that my wife and I own was purchased new. A crack developed from top to bottom on the panel under the rear window about 3 inches to the left of the Ford emblem. No damage or abuse caused this "defect." My dealer and Ford Corporate will do nothing. I am willing to join any class action suit to resolve this problem as Ford continues to deny that this is a defective part.

- , Carson City, NV, USA

problem #134

Jul 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Same situation as everyone else has mentioned. Crack appeared out of nowhere, dealer will only fix if I pay for it, Ford won't help. At Ford Motor Company, "Quality is Job 1" - what a bunch of garbage. No wonder this company is going down the crapper. Apparently the company is run by a bunch of myopic morons.

- , Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #133

Jul 142007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

About a year a go I noticed some small lines on the panel below the rear window. Today there are at least 5 cracks that are very visible. I am in total agreement with everyone here. Class action suit is an altervative. I live in Hawaii with a temp. of 60 to 90 degrees and have seen multiple explorers with the same problem. Shouldn't happen in such a mild climate or any climate at that. Called Ford consumer help line and was told to get an estimate from a dealer and that they have been recieving numerous calls on this problem. Went to one of the local dealers for a quote and they didn't even call me back. Looks like this might be my last Ford!

- , Aiea, HI, USA

problem #132

Jul 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

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

This is just getting silly at this point. You would expect by now there would be someone intelligent enough at Ford to say: "Hey, this small plastic panel could actually result in us losing real money from future car buyers." So, why don't we display the impact that their inaction could potentially have? I'd be willing to start and circulate a petition that lists names, addresses and dollar amounts shelled out to purchase our flawed vehicles. The total that FMC would be losing next time (not to mention, years to come) we go looking for vehicles might shake someone in a decision-making capacity into reality. Please let me know if you'd like to participate.

Bill

- , Braintree, MA, USA

problem #131

Jul 022007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

A year ago I noticed that the back panel under the window had broken. I called Ford and they said that it is not covered under anything and had not been recalled. Mine is sort of jagged and I'm afraid we will get cut on it. Since ours I have noticed about 1 out of 10 explorers I see on the road now have the same problem. I talked to the dealer again in May of 2007 and he said it might be recalled in a few months.

- , Beale AFB, CA, USA

problem #130

Jul 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

I agree with everyone and we should definitely start a class action suit, I have a 2002 XLT with the cracked panel and I have noticed many other ford's same year and model with the same cracked panel. Need to research on how to get a class action suit started! Let me know if anyone has proceeded and I will keep you all posted on what I find out

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #129

Jun 132007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

After getting the back hatch recall fixed finally in October 2006 I noticed in April 2007 I had 3 vertical cracks from the glass downwards about 3-4" long. This is very frustrating as it is a defect and should be fixed by ford.

- , San Diego, CS, USA

problem #128

Apr 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

... cracked basically the same as everyone else. Mine first stared small when it was 11 degrees out after closing the lift-gate and quickly grew into 3 splits from the top of the panel, around the emblem, to the bottom of the panel.

- , Gloucester City, NJ, USA

problem #127

Apr 232007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

This crack showed up out of blue and is all the way across the panel. The panel is cracked in two. This is obviously a factory defect and Ford needs to own up to it!

- , Westfield, IN, USA

problem #126

Apr 112007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Baurer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,031 miles

A second crack in the back panel of my lift gate appeared while my vehicle was being simultaneously serviced for the RECALL on the lift gate hinges.

I am ONE FORD vehicle OWNER who REFUSES to accept FORD MOTOR VEHICLES' FAILURE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR DEFECTIVE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE OF MY VEHICLE AS WELL AS THE NUMEROUS OTHER FAILURES, IN MY OPINION, THAT FORD CONTINUES TO MAKE EVERY DAY.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #125

Apr 162007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Not only is the windows $ucked up now the piece of sh*t ford exploder has a crack below the rear window on the panel like i reported before DONT BUY FORD PRODUCTS THERE SH*TTY AND DONT STAND BEHIND THERE PRODUCT!

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #124

Apr 142007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

I am somewhat relieved that other people are having similar issues. I was surprised to just come back one afternoon from dirt bike riding to find this panel cracked. I know i did not drop anything against it. Just the other day it cracked the rest of the way down the panel. It would have been nice if these things came painted. I would be somewhat inclined to replace it, but the hassle factor of finding someone to paint it seems hardly worth while. I guess I could experiment and shoot it myself. At least I know that there will not be any water issues since this panel is just covering a piece of glass.

- , San Jose, CA, US

problem #123

Mar 272007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

This is another example of why US auto manufacturer are losing market share to the foreign manufacturers. Take some of the fat bonuses that the top executives are getting and use the money to repair these obvious defects in design and workmanship, i didn't read where Ford was honoring a lapsed warranty to repair these at no expense to owner

- , Kulpsville, PA, USA

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