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

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 5 of 32)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #542

Jul 222011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


Another common problem for the 2002 Ford Exploder. Ford won't stand behind it. Not much else to say other than KMA FMC.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #541

May 012012

Explorer XLS 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The cracked rear panel isn't a huge deal but its annoying and looks bad.

- , Glassboro, NJ, USA

problem #540

Nov 172012

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

The panel on my rear door broke off in 2008 I was shocked by this so I had it replaced and now 4 years later it broke off again. Ford should compensate all owners who have experienced this problem. I am mad as hell. I will never purchase a ford again !

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #539

Jun 082011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles


click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

My parents bought this vehicle new. They had this problem within the first 20,000 miles, and the dealer replaced the broken piece. They had the same issue two more times before I inherited it. I owned it for a whole year before the piece cracked and then broke off in the car wash. The dealer said it would cost $167 for the piece, plus paint. I said, it wasn't my fault, and that Ford should fix it, but since there isn't a recall on it, they cannot give me a break. I called for, and they basically just said, thanks for you input, sorry you are having a bad time of it.

It's obviously just a crappy design job, and Ford actually did do a recall for older Explorers.

Ford obviously doesn't care about this issue at all.

- , Midland, TX, USA

problem #538

Jan 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This truck is very reliable & I love it but the back crack makes it look so ugly I HATE it!

Once I seen other trucks exactly the same as mine with the exact crack & I thought FORD must do

Something about it cuz its not just one its many trucks!

- , Garden Grove, CA, US

problem #537

Jun 112012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

it makes it look like i got in a wreck and i dont like it

- , Hobbsville, NC, USA

problem #536

Feb 022007

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


two explorers both cracked hatch, replace 05 once and it cracked again

- , Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #535

Feb 112012


  • 200,000 miles

Why does a company like Ford risk customer loyalty over a verifiable problem among Explorer owners.

I bought my Explorer new 2002. I still own it. They knew the transmission was total CRAP right away, they did not care, they knew the back panel was going to crack early on, they did nothing about it, they knew the black portion of door between windows fades and chips, yet again NOTHING! Really Ford, Do you not have a clue that we are not idiots out here? We are your PAST customers and not your future if YOU do not get a clue and start appreciating your car/truck owners.

Never again unless you own up and make it right!

It is never to late, unless you just do not care....

- , Eudora, KS, USA

problem #534

Jan 192013

Explorer EL 4.L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 270,000 miles

well i know ford will do nothing at all to fix this problem but i thought it was a trickle of water but up close there is a crack from back window straight down to bottom of that panel if this problem has occurred with so many vehicles why doesn't ford recall and man up ...i have always had liked fords and have owned 3 now but you know the more people i talk to they have no faith in fords anymore due to there faulty response ti issues that are there fault ........thank you ...signed not impressed

- , Orillia, Ontario, canada

problem #533

Apr 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Ford, what the heck!?! This is known issue. I see many other explorers with the same issue. I guess I will count my lucky stars I got the manual transmission and dodged a HUGE bullet with the abysmal auto transmission. My wife and I were about to buy a new Expedition as well. After reading about the issues with the 5.4 V8, NO WAY. I can't believe Ford will not recall that issue or the auto transmission on his model Explorer. I liked the features and feel of the Expedition too. My money is going to get a GMC Yukon now. Ford will never see another dime of my money.

- , Arvada, CO, USA

problem #532

Jan 012007

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


As so many others the back panel under my window is cracked, when I went to the dealership they told me it was not Fords problem to fix. After paying, $300 to have it fixed 6 months later the crack was back. Ford should step up to the plate and take responsibility for this, I was told because it's not a safety issue there will not be a recall issued. It causes other problems with the latch, isn't that enough cause? So fed looks like crap!

- , Mt. Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #531

May 012012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 202,000 miles

Unsightly cracked rear panel allows moisture/water into locking mechanism causing "door ajar" and alarm problems. Dealership quotes @ $200 in parts to repair crack with additional cost for damaged lock sensor.

- , Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #530

Feb 102010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

I noticed that the trim piece below the back glass started to buckle in the hot weather, but then would contract in the winter. One cold day while shutting the back glass, the trim cracked. I have noticed several Ford Explorers on the road with the same problem. I have not fixed my trim to remind me to never buy a Ford product again. I have owned 1995 and 1997 Explorers and have been pleased, but something happened in 2002 when the body style changed that compromised the quality of the Explorers.

- , Shelbyville, TN, USA

problem #529

Apr 122005

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

its bull crap. i take really good care of my vehicles and if a lot of ppl have had this happen then it should be fixed free of costs.

- , Herriman, UT, USA

problem #528

Mar 092011

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Black plastic panel under the rear window has a large crack in it. It looks terrible but I am the second owner of the vehicle and I didn't try to take it to Ford. Definately a vehicle with problems. If it were a horse it would need to be shot !! Might do it anyway !!

- , Lexington, NC, USA

problem #527

Jan 012008

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

This rear tail gate is ready to fall off. With 3 large cracks vertically, the rear window may fall out. and it grinds around when moving the vehicle.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #526

Mar 242012

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

You know, it's not bad enough I had to have my transmission replaced when I only had under 50k miles. I had to replace all my bearings & struts many times, but now I have a cracked panel right below my rear window. This is obviously a manufacturing defect. I've seen many 2002 explorers with the same crack, and some of them have two cracks. Fords should step up to the plate and take responsibility for this crack as well as the faulty transmission. They should issue a recall asap. Actually, they should have issued a recall long ago. we've owned many Fords and I'm never buying another one if they do not acknowledge they made a vehicle with nothing, but issues, that are not only costly to repair, but very dangerous.

- , Brighton, MI, USA

problem #525

Jan 092012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Almost got into red explorer parked next to mine one day w/exact same cracks in rear hatch - also, window doesn't stay up, have to open whole hatch if I don't want to get clunked on the head. Along w/tranny, 4 wheel drive not working, etc, etc, etc.

- , Snowflake, AZ, USA

problem #524

Feb 282003

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Can't believe this problem can't be fix by Ford! It seem that the whole world has this problem beside 101 other problems. They should be taken to court!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #523

Apr 012008

Explorer LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This panel has cracked again. The length of the panel and split at the bottom. I contacted Ford and received an e-mail telling me it was my problem. Having found your will web site I am further armed to tell them I don't find their answer satisfactory.

- , East Moriches, NY, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?