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:
62,731 miles
Total Complaints:
32 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. repaint entire roof and/or hood (8 reports)
  3. clean properly, re-prime, re-paint (6 reports)
  4. new paint job (5 reports)
  5. ford should cover repair (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Jan 122007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


dont buy ford is the solution

had enough with the the damn car

- , North Wales, PA, US

problem #11

Jul 142005

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Last Fix Or Repair Daily I will ever by. My family has worked for ford for over 30 years, but I am going to Toyota

- , Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #10

Oct 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

We have already had to have the door hinges repainted as they rusted out and now have done so again (big surprise, painting over rust, wonder why that didn't work!), of course had to have the rear latch repaired on a recall and now the paint is peeling off the roof near the rack on both sides. It appears there is bare grey steel beneath the white paint and the damage is progressing quickly. This car does not have a mark on it anywhere else except the door hinges are rusted and the roof is peeling, that is the real shame of it. We foolishly wasted our money on an extended warranty, but that has now expired (after never using it) and suddenly, like clockwork, the paint starts to fall off the car. WAKE UP FORD, WE WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER FIX OR REPAIR DAILY CAR FROM YOU. Note: Dealership has always been fine, corporate is another story. Also, original tires on car wore out very quickly and have had to be replaced twice.

- , Aquebogue, NY, USA

problem #9

Oct 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles


Crackling paint by back passenger door, showed to dealership a few years ago, said not covered. Now the roof is crackling and rusting. Ford body shop said it is probably due to defective original paint job. Garage kept. Unbelievable - their own dealership says it is probably due to a paint defect but sorry not covered.

- , Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #8

Sep 132007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I am not impressed with the quality from Ford this is the third issue I have had dealing with the body.

- , Riverton, UT, US

problem #7

Sep 132007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I know I took a chance buying a Ford. I try to buy American when I can. This is the last time I will make this mistake. I expect quality in the products I buy and this time I didn't get it. I won't be fooled again by Ford.

- , Riverton, UT, US

problem #6

Aug 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


The paint on the roof and hood is cracking and pitting. There are several rusty spots around the sun roof. I've tried to patch but they keep spreading.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #5

Aug 132007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

The paint on the roof is peeling/blistering off and the the first signs of the same problem are now appearing on the engine hood. The car is 5 years old, but there's no way this should be happening. If Ford knew that the paint process was compromised by a defect in the manufacturing of the roof panels they should be responsible to fix it. The cost to repaint this car is prohibitive for an individual owner and should be borne by either Ford or the subcontractor that screwed up the panels.

- , Billerica, MA, USA

problem #4

Apr 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

Bought 2002 Ford Explorer in 2004. 3 months later noticed roof racks and roof were peeling. Wrote Ford and complained. They said was not covered under warranty. Repeated mails to them came back unanswered. Dealer wanted $1300.00 to repaint. Now I see

a TSB indicating that iron was mixed with the panels causing them to rust at the factory and it affects so many vehicles FORD is reluctant to fix them due to cost. They should be sued for faulty parts and hiding the problem. Nice going Ford... last one in Dearborn shut the lights out!

- , Saugus, MA, USA

problem #3

Feb 282007

(reported on)

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

The paint on the roof is cracking and peeling off. I think that this problem should be under warranty for the life of the vehicle and not until 35000 mies.

- , Irmo, SC, USA

problem #2

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Paint chipped off rear bumper when I went through a car wash. Another example of Ford Quality.. Job 1 .. don't think so..

- , Shelton, CT, US

problem #1

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Coating on Roof rack on outside of one side has peeled back to bare metal. It is obvious that the parent metal was not cleaned properly in that area before being coated. It is so localized and the rest of the Rack looks like new. That dull, bare spot really stands out against the black. What a major eyesore!

- , Natic, NC, USA

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