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 27 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

Mar 082007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

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

I closed the rear window and started the car. The door ajar light was on so I got out to check the rear window at which time I found it had cracked in half. The temperatures had been very cold for a week - under 15 degrees.

I had an estimate at a body shop and was told it was a known problem that Ford should take care of.

I called the dealer who said it was a known problem with Ford and they gave me an 800 number.

I called the 800 number and was on hold for 45 minutes. The operator was rude and kept asking what I expected Ford to do about it. I told her I wanted Ford to fix it at no cost.

I was surprised to do a search this morning and see so many people with the same problem. There was another Explorer in front of me in traffic yesterday with the same problem.

On a side note, the front passenger door lock no longer works.

- , Griffith, IN, USA

problem #101

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Plastic piece below the window broke when the rear window fell due to the struts not holding. Approx. (2) weeks later I received a recall notice (#04V442000) from Ford that stated (Due to the risk of injury from the rear window falling Ford has issued a recall to have the rear window struts replace ASAP.) Upon arrival at the dealership to leave my vehicle, I showed the service writer the broken plastic piece and explained what had happened. He told me that it was not covered under the recall and that I should contact ford and if enough people complained that maybe ford would issue a recall on the plastic part. Didn't work!!!!! Contact ford again and filed a complaint and they had me get a written estimate and then call them back. Did that and when I called them back they told me that there was absolutely nothing that Ford could do about it, that I should just bite the bullet and pay to have it fixed. With that answer I guess that their customer service is one part of the problem with FORDS FINANCIAL PROBLEMS!!!!!!

And this horse ain't dead yet...... I'm not satisfied with their answer.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #100

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Rear body panel below window cracked spontainiously. Because of the age of the vehicle I would be happy if Ford would share the repair cost, but this appears to be a common (defect) problem. Awaiting decision from Ford Canada, seem receptive, will see.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #99

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

I live in Arizona and thought that maybe the heat had something to do with the crack. However, my parents have the same make and model explorer as we do and theirs cracked also. We know of at least 5 other people with 02 explorers and they all have the same cracking. It seems to me that this is a ford issue and not just the hot weather hear as I had thought. I'm not sure what it takes to get a recall but this should definately be recalled.

- , Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #98

Mar 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

in September 2007 A 2" crack formed on the Right side of the painted rear hatch panel on the back of our 2002 Explorer. In December the crack spread all the way down the panel and now there is a 5" crack in the back panel. I have not even been to the dealership, but plan to give it a go soon. We also had to replace the 3rd gear band at 30,000 miles conveniently after the warranty was up.

- , Edmond, OK, USA

problem #97

Oct 132006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 100,000 miles

Same problem as stated in the other blogs. How much ranting should be done before Ford will take the blame for the defect? Does anyone know of any good shops to fix the problem in the Tennessee area?

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #96

Mar 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

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

I can't believe that this is still not a recall item. American auto builders complain about American consumer support but allows this to go on for years without follow up. I travel a lot and I have seen so many Explorers with the same defect.

- , Danville, Va, USA

problem #95

Oct 182006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

We bought it used in great condition. It was a leases vehicle and had 26000 miles on it. We came out one morning and there it was ... a big crack. We took it to a friend of ours who owns a body shop who told us that it looked like a factory defect and that we should take to the dealer. We asked it how much to fix and we were told that to do it right he would have to replace the entire panel. We haven't taken it to the dealer yet. But I will today after finding out we aren't the only ones.

- , Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #94

Feb 242007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Please add me to the list of complainants. For a couple of years now, my 2002 Explorer XLT has had two 5" cracks in the panel approximately under each window hinge. Today I noticed a new one directly above the Ford emblem. I happened to be driving by a Ford dealership and pulled in to see what they had to say. No surprise that they told me trim is not covered under warranty even though I bought the extended 6 yr/60,000 mile warranty. I told them I would take it up with the factory and he bid me farewell. This is my third Explorer in 10 years and has been by far the worst. It looks like it's finally time to move on.

- , Lubbock, TX, USA

problem #93

Oct 162006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 62,000 miles

Crack is very noticable and will diminish the resale value. I possibly have an attorney in Texas that is willing to take on Ford in a class action to get the panels replaced. If anyone is interested in joining, contact me at glmoseley@hotmail.com and be sure to put "Ford Explorer problem" in the subject line so I can distinguish it from other mail.

- , Ben Wheeler, TX, USA

problem #92

Oct 172006

(reported on)

Explorer BLK V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,279 miles

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

This is a problem that is inbred with the manufacturing of the car. There is nothing behind this panel, of which when the car is frozen and you open the half window; upon closing the have window/door, this panel will crack and will continue to crack with the changing of the weather from heat to cold weather. I believe Ford is shirking their responsibility and liability. I've been a Ford owner for over 25 years. Not anymore, I'm buying a Lexus or BMW SUV in a couple of months. I'm finished with Ford and their irresponsibility when it comes to customer service. From the articles I'm reading in the Wall Street Journal, I'm not the only one fed up with Ford.

- , Raytown, MO, USA

problem #91

May 202005

(reported on)

Explorer LXS

  • 26,700 miles

I noticed two small cracks a few days ago and just now i noticed about a 7 inch crack appeared! I's plastic and i was wondering I can get the part replaced but I can't seem to find it online. I am worried about the rear window falling out as well! Not sure what to do..........:-(

- , Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas

problem #90

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Mine cracked in December. Very mild winter here in CT. This should be a recall due to the number of complaints.

- , Shelton, CT, US

problem #89

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,850 miles

Bought vehicle in 2002, panel cracked in 2003 and was replaced under warranty. In 2006 clear coat on panel was flaking so panel was removed and repainted, under warranty. Last weekend panel cracked "again" right by emblem. Weather was colder than normal overnight but dealer said that would not cause it. Dealer said since it was out of warranty it was not covered. Dealer said cost was between $300 and $400 dollars and if I would pay $75.00 they would pay some and have Ford pay some. Not the best solution but better than nothing.

- , Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #88

Feb 212007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,400 miles

I took the truck in to a Ford dealer so it can be repaired. They knew about it happening, the manager even showed me another explorer that was on their lot with the same problem. It is costing me 300.00 but I want it fixed. I hope Ford reimburses me after they start recalling it when they fess up to the problem. The part actually cost 90.00, the other cost are for labor, paint, etc.

- , Houston, Yexas, USA

problem #87

Feb 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,600 miles

I noticed the crack while up in Lake Tahoe so figure it may be caused by the cold weather. I have seen two other Ford Explorers in the last week with the same crack and spoke to one of the owners. He said his also happened in the very cold weather and he never reported it as he figured it would not be covered due to the age of the car. My car is with Ford right now for evaluation, I'm hoping they will pay for it but I don't know yet. I know of one person who has had it paid for but it was right after she bought it used from the dealership.

- , Livermore, CA, USA

problem #86

Feb 192007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,400 miles

This cracked panel thing just happened to my Explorer February 17, 2007. I was not sure how it happened but assumed it just snapped down the middle. With so many complaints on the matter Ford should replace it with a more durable material(sheet metal maybe)because this is going to keep happening to our vehicles. I did notice that the 2006/2007 models were redesigned in that area(a sign that they know this is a problem). I really love this vehicle but this cheap part is sending me running to Chevy for the Tahoe or Dodge for the Durango, some on Ford make me love you again by taking care of this immediately. I'm going to the dealers tomorrow to see what they'll tell me, the results will be posted soon after the visit.

- , Houston, Yexas, USA

problem #85

Feb 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I'm a long time Ford owner but have to rethink after the run around I got. Rear window panel cracked for no apparent reason. Called the dealer and they said there was nothing they could do. They said if it had been cracked before the last recall(window supports) they could have sneaked it in. Ford must have really tightened the screws on the dealers for warranty work as I purchase all vehicles for our fleet of autos.(85% Fords) If my dealer would have been able to make an exception, I would have got it. To everyone else reporting, this is a very common problem. There are three 2002 Explorers in our parking lot of 90 employees and all 3 have the same crack in the rear panel.

- , Wausau, WI, USA

problem #84

Feb 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,500 miles

I just moved to Murphy, NC from Palm Harbor, FL and the infamous Ford "Butt Crack" appeared the other day (Feb 14, 2007). I attribute the butt crack to freezing weather, which I didn't experience in FL. It's probably caused by constant contraction and expansion but I'm just guessing. Along with compiling a list of VIN numbers we should compile a list of geographic areas.

I bought my Explorer new and it's been a pretty good SUV. I've always liked the Explorer and this is my 2nd. Saying I wouldn't buy another Explorer because of the butt crack is probably not true. I am baffled as to why Ford won't belly up to the bar and pay for this. It would be the honorable thing to do.

Based on the number of posts at this web site, projecting this number out, I would suspect there are 1000's of Explorers perhaps 10's of 1000's with this butt crack. I'm waiting for someone to come up with a decal of a butt crack. :-)

I did have transmission problems right after the original warranty expired BUT I had an extended warranty and the transmission work was covered ($5000!!). The transmission problem was also a common problem. I understand the Sport Trac transmission is Ok. So, why not use that transmission in the Explorer?? I suppose I'm too logical.

For now I'll have to seal my butt crack with epoxy to keep the water out. Won't that look lovely!?

- , Murphy, NC, USA

problem #83

Feb 172007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Do you know I thought someone hit me in the grocery store parking lot? There was no other damage so it didn't make sense. This really does suck. What if water gets in this crack and causes electrical problems? Has anyone thought of that? The rear window is electric. I am not paying for something that is not a result of something I have done. Clearly, this is a problem and Ford needs to recall it. I have never had a problem with any of my other Fords. I have been a die-hard Ford driver since I was 17. I think if Ford wants to be like this.. my next car will be a Honda. Thanks a lot Ford Family.

- , Fruitland, MD, USA

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