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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
42 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,565 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

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 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #46

Oct 112003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


Tailgate window shattered without warning when attempting to close it. Dealer stated the hydraulic cylinder twisted away from the bracket. PE04045.pco

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #45

Oct 232003


  • miles
Rear window fell off the hinges. Pe04045_pco

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #44

Oct 302003


  • 18,850 miles
Consumer was about to start vehicle when it was noticed that there was a message on the dashboard that rear hatch door was ajar. When consumer went to close the door, the glass exploded out of the frame, which fell apart. The hydraulic piston had a bent insert which caused the infraction. PE04045.pco

- South Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #43

Jul 242003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


Problems with rear window hatch. The right and left rear glass lift sticks were replaced. The rear window fell out when it was opened. PE04045.pco purchased 03/02. Dob 02/02, old style design (through glass) struts fell/detached (mount rotated and strut detached) and then fell on her head (bruise, headache). Received emer. Med attantion. Date was 7/24/2003. Finally replaced entire glass assembly (glass, wiper motor, trim, strut)

- Prichard, WV, USA

problem #42

Sep 112003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,639 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer. This morning my wife opened the top portion of the rear tail gate, as she closed it, the glass shattered giving her minor cuts on both arms. The outdoor temperature was 62 degrees F and sunny. There was no evidence of tampering. I've tried to contact Ford reps and have had no luck!! PE04045.pco

- Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #41

Sep 052003


  • 38,000 miles
On two occasions the hydraulic cylinder that supported rear window slipped out of the bracket that was designed to secure it. The third time the incident occurred the cylinder popped out of the bracket and shattered the window. PE04045.pco

- Bigfork, MT, USA

problem #40

Aug 202003


  • miles


When lowering the liftgate rear window exploded. PE04045.pco dob is 11/01_061604_pco

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #39

Jul 032003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear window explosion. Upon slowly closing the rear gate window, the glass exploded in my wife's face with the brackets and frame falling down causing rear gate body damage. Personal injury resulted (cut on wife's hand). Bracket parts were found as far 8 to 10 yards from the original location and broken glass throughout vehicle. Ford has been very difficult to deal with and appears to be posturing defensively. Customer service has been very bad. Ford replaced the window but would not repair body damage without signing a general release of liability. We were never notified of potential problems in their customer notification program or "soft recall". dealer also stated that they saw a few more vehicles just recently with same problem upon further discussion. This is a very dangerous situation and encourage a recall of these vehicles. If Ford does'nt put consumer safety first, I encourage the NHTSA's intervention. All 2003 Ford Explorer customers need to be educated on this issue. PE04045.pco

- Bridgewater , NJ, USA

problem #38

Aug 182002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,387 miles
Nhsta#01I010000 ref. 2002 Ford Explorer rear window lift arm twisting and causing the rear window to break. I have owned the car for 1.5 years and the window has broken twice and the arm twisted a third time. When we got the vehicle back the screws were stripped and the liftgate was damaged. My daughter was standing below the window when it broken and glass fell all over her. Luckily no glass got into her eyes or mouth but I believe the rear window bracket is a safety hazards which demands correcting. I know that Ford did re-engineer the rea window frame and lift brackets. Because there has not been a formal recall, I can not get the new rear lift gate but rather thay keep replpacing the broken windows. Meanwhile I keep paying for the vehicle to be in their shop. Please help! pe04045_pco

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #37

Jul 232003


  • miles
The rear liftgate cylinder broke while traveling on the highway without prior warning. Pe04045_pco dob=12/01. Old style mount. Glass opened and when closing, heard "pop" noise and glass assembly came down. No injury. 06/14/2004. Will take pics of "rotated mounts" and email to me.

- Winder, GA, USA

problem #36

Jul 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


The rear liftgate window shattered into pieces. Consumer reached to close the window and it moved approx. Six inches when it shattered. PE04045.pco glass shattered when closing. Will ck. Dob and design version.

- Tuttle, OK, USA

problem #35

Jul 212003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer stated after her husband had driven Ford Explorer for about a half hour, parked/ went in the house and ate, then decided to go back out and unload the stuff he had in the truck. Window in the back exploded. Window exploded while he was closing it. Also, frame was also blown out. She stated that her husband fortunately was not hurt although he did get glass into his face and hair. The lift gate glass exploded while parked in the garage and damaged the lift gate and bumper cover. PE04045.pco

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #34

Jan 022002


  • 5,000 miles
Problems with rear glass hatch supports. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on 4 occasions to rectify the problem. It also fell on wife's head but no injury. On 3rd occasion (1/02), lt strut detached again and struct glass and shattered glass. Dealer replaced "entire" liftgate assemby. Failure mileage was around 5,000 miles. Owner gave permission to release info to mfr. Owner will ck. Design version of liftgate during replacement. 061704_pco PE04045.pco

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #33

Jun 212003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLS and the back lift gate hatch has broken on both sides and could cause injury if falls on either me, my daughter, or anyone else who opens the glass hatch. With the side that is now broken it is putting a lot of strain on my hinges where connects to the car and is pulling my glass off and has dented my car. Pe04045_pco

- Rockwall, TX, USA

problem #32

Jun 052003


  • miles
This was not a safety recall in accordance with the Safety Act. However, it was deemed a safety improvement campaign by the Agency. Vehicle description: 2002 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicles. The brackets connecting the left cylinders to each side of the liftgate glass could rotate out of position if either the urethane bond or torque are not sufficient. The consumer's vehicle experienced the same failure, however the vehicle identification number was not included in the recall. PE04045.pco

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #31

Jun 012003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,128 miles
On June 1st, 2003 I had the rear glass hatch of my 2002 Ford Explorer open briefly to remove groceries. My daughter was in rear 3rd seat. I stepped back from vehicle to assist daughter in getting out and glass in rear hatch exploded (without being touched or moved). I was hit by glass shards and if I had not just stepped back, the 4 X 6 metal attachment would have hit me in the head as it is attached to the vehicle only by the glass and defrost cables. My daughter was shaken but fortunately not hit by the exploding glass. A neighbor across the street heard the explosion and thought it was a gun shot. Glass shards/pieces were strewn throughout our 3 car garage, some landing on the top of our other vehicle parked next the Explorer. The local dealer told us it was a manufacturer's defect but as there was not a recall on this particular area, they would not be 100% responsible for the cost of replacement as we were 2,000 miles out of our warranty. Ford company in deerborne, mi threatened to revoke any assistance as we "did not seem appreciative" of the 80% the local dealership offered. We strongly feel this is a safety issue (not a warranty issue) that Ford should be accountable for. This type of glass explosion could seriously injure or kill someone. PE04045.pco

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #30

May 312003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle was parked under carport. The rear liftgate glass exploded, when the hydraulic cylinders failed as well as the lower half of body of gate. The weather conditions were "normal, " and the vehicle was not parked in direct sunlight and had only been driven for a short time that day. Our local Ford dealership told us he "had seen this before". PE04045.pco

- Dothan, AL, USA

problem #29

May 162003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Hatch window exploded and shattered upon routine closing. Had car into dealer 3 previous times to repair hatch, the strut had broke off on the left side each time. Each time they repaired or replaced the strut and said it would be fine. This time the strut did not just break off the whole window exploded and left cuts on the consumers hands as well as glass in her mouth and on her head. PE04045.pco dob is 06/02_061704_jf

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #28

Apr 052003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
The vehicle's tailgate glass exploded while the consumer attempted to close it. The dealer was notified. Broken liftgate glass and wiper motor and arm were replaced. There were squeaks when going over bumps. Sway bar bushings replaced. Ignition switch hard to insert key at times. Cylinder and tumbler rekeyed. Bottom door molding (passenger side) peeling off. Rubber grommet on antenna base off. Resecured rubber grommet for antenna base. Pe04045_pco

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #27

Oct 272002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While closing the rear lift gate, the entire glass portion exploded. The consumer discovered that there was a recall and was never notified. (recall#04V442000) the consumer requested reimbursement. Scc PE04045.pco.

- Picayune, MS, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?