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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
112,990 miles
Total Complaints:
80 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace rear windshield (36 reports)
  2. ford should pay for it (27 reports)
  3. not sure (15 reports)
  4. had it repaired for $400 from dealer (1 reports)
  5. i have had to replace all these items with ford replacements (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #60

Aug 032012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 138,000 miles


Had just loaded up the back of my truck, went to close the window and it exploded as it latched. I was covered in glass along with everything in my truck. I also am now covered it small little cuts and hours later still picking bits of glass out.

- , Wyoming, MI, USA

problem #59

Jun 082012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

It was pouring rain on Friday. Went to open the my back hatch and the WHOLE window exploded!! Cut me in 3 different places and my 8 year old stepped on a piece of glass!! I am beyond furious. Had the recall replaced back in 05' when the whole thing fell off in the middle of a busy 4 lane road, raining of course! Called to Ford recall on Saturday center and they were like, sorry. WHAT! SORRY!! How about replacing my window. I am a single mom. Are they for real?? Never ever again will I own another piece of crap Ford!!

- , Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #58

Apr 272012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded

Add my second rear window explosion to the other 20 or so problems I've had with this piece of junk. I encourage everyone to pot your complaints to Fords facebook page, if Ford has the balls to put up a page..... I would drop this POS off at my local landfill but I hate to insult the garbage already there!!

- , Cuba, NY, USA

problem #57

Jul 052008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I own a 2002 Ford Explorer. In 2008 or 2009 while on vacation, I unloaded my trunk at the hotel , closed it and the whole back window shattered. I'm thankful that I removed my small child from the vehicle minutes earlier as her car seat was full of glass!!! I recently found out the 2002 Ford Explorer's transmissions were built wrong. I just had my transmission replaced. I am a very dissatisfied Ford customer and want to join any class action lawsuit there is on the window and transmission

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #56

Dec 012011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,457 miles

FORD= Fix or Repair Daily, Found On Roadside Dead, Found On Redfields Dump!!!!! Same problem here. Went to open back window, didn't open all the way, so when lifting window up the glass, it exploded. Was a bit cold but apparently that doesn't matter. Thankfully it wasn't my wife or kids this happened to. No injuries. Thankfully I have full coverage, so the glass is covered but its a rare item. No telling how long it'll take to fix, and no telling if the bottom plastic housing needs to be replaced.

- , Central Square, NY, USA

problem #55

Aug 202011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

On saturday, Aug. 20 2011, bought catfood. Went to load using back hatch glass. Glass raised normally, but when I went to close glass next thing I knew had thousands of shards of glass everywhere. Around my ankles, ground, on the roof and all over the back of vehicle.

- , Benton, ME, USA

problem #54

Dec 032011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


Opened rear lift gate, lift gate slowly kept dropping down because hydraulic strut supports not holding lift gate up properly, so pushed back up with hand and then window exploded into a million pieces, completely destroyed; glass and lower frame fell all around me and tons of glass in back of car.

- , Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #53

Jun 202011

Explorer 2dr Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Back in June, my fiance was driving down a paved street in our city. Didn't think much of it, till all of a sudden the rear hatch window while driving exploded. It was a sunny day about 80 degrees, thought maybe it had something to do with the heat, that because it got too hot while driving that it would break. So we took it in a couple of days later to get the window fixed, spent $500 and didn't think much of it. When we got it to the shop, they said it would was going to cost about $250 to replace it. When we brought it back in to get it replaced, they said it was the wrong window and going to cost $500. There is some special type of window for this make and model that it requires. So, we spent the $500 and got the new window. For some reason, after that, never could open the back door again with that window. It would never pop open. So, we just decided to leave it be and not use it. No big deal. Yesterday, October 30, 4 months later, my now husband, takes the vehicle to the car wash to get it washed, its a nice fall day, sunny, and 50 degrees. He starts spraying the car, and the back window just shatters all over again. He had to spend most the time in the car wash spraying the glass down the drain. Now, don't you think there is really something going wrong with this? I mean, 2 windows in 4 months, what if we had kids in the back seat. Thankfully, at this point, we are taking the car in tomorrow, but it should be covered under warranty. Will let ya know how this turns out again. And btw, we are looking for a new car now.

- , Sioux City, IA, USA

problem #52

Oct 012011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,329 miles

Just yesterday my family and I were getting ready to go out and spend some quality time with each other. I had asked my oldest son who is 13 years old to help me carry some small bags and load them at the back end of my wife's explorer. The second I pushed the button to unlatch the back glass window the whole glass just shattered into a million pieces. Tiny little pieces of glass were all over me and my son. I had a few minor cuts and scratches. My son thankfully did not. He only had pieces of glass all over his hair. If there are so many complaints about these back glasses shattering, shouldn't there be a recall?

- , Humble, TX, USA

problem #51

Mar 252011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Opened rear liftgate to load groceries, liftgate slowly kept dropping down because hydraulic strut supports not holding liftgate weight up properly, so pushed back up with hand and then window exploded into a million pieces, completely destroyed; glass and lower frame fell all around me and tons of glass in back of car. Temperature was around 40 F degrees.

- , Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #50

May 012011

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Have been a Ford owner all my life. Have a 2002 Ford Explorer and have had nothing but trouble with it. This morning I opened the back window and the struts would not hold the window up so I went and lifted the window back up and it exploded all over me. Will NEVER buy a ford vehicle again.

- , Scribner, NE, USA

problem #49

Dec 262010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I guess I now fall into the class of unfortunate ford owners that have bought a so-called american car. I was lifting up the rear hatch of my wife's explorer when it exploded sending glass all over my garage. I have had other issues with this fricken car also. I own a toyota tecoma truck, and toyota made it right by their frame rusting issues. I have since purchased a new toyota truck which I love. I will never buy another ford product again. So if you work for ford, and are reading this, maybe you should start looking for another job. At this rate ford will be owned by the government soon. I am not sure if insurance will pay for this or not. If not I guess I'll be going to the junk yard, to buy a windhield for the junk I have to put it on. they were right when they said FORD = Fix Or Repair Daily

- , Franklin, OH, USA

problem #48

Feb 262011

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,334 miles

click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded rear lift gate window exploded

With reading all the other complaints on here and it dealing with the same problem and my uncle has the same model Explorer hes done the same thing. I think something needs to be done and this problem needs to be checked in on. I'm just glade my 4 year old and 12 year old son was not around at the time my back glass shattered or they would of been hurt really bad. I barely did shut my back glass down when it shattered all to pieces. My wife was inside the house and heard it shatter. I will never buy another ford vehicle. We have had nothing but trouble out of this vehicle since we've had it. It started with the four wheel drive and then the brakes and now the back glass shattering. Its sad when you buy a vehicle and you have problems like this especially a American made. What if my kids was sitting in the back seat and this window shattered into piecs my children would of been hurt really bad.. Ford needs to replace this instead of money out of my pocket..

- , Grundy, VA, USA

problem #47

Nov 132010

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,310 miles

I had to replace the struts on this window in a recall and it has not been worth a tinkers damn since. It would never stay up. Had to hold it up to load and unload. The struts they put on only lasted the first summer and then it might as well had string for struts. Upon closing at the local grocery, the whole window exploded into shards about 1/3 the way down. Upon examining the mess, I found the left strut would not close no matter how much you pushed. Before, a child could close them both with no trouble. The window and struts were defective. Going to call Ford.

Update from Nov 26, 2014: I am replacing window raising motors over and over again. Have replaced all 4 windows once and am replacing the rear window motors again plus the passinger side motor is sluggish and may need to be replaced again.

The panel below the rear tailgate window has split again. Replaced the tailgate window unit completly once and now the FORD replacement has split again. The glass is still intact. I have replaced the hydraulic hinges on the window twice. The hinges on the hood no longer hold up the hood.

- , Waxahachie,, TX, USA

problem #46

Oct 092010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded

All I have to say is....Don't ever buy a Ford, any make, any model, period. Customer NO Service is and has always been rampant with this so called (suppose to be purchased with pride) "American" company. Ford is a disgrace to North America in every aspect, and the only reason they didn't accept money from the federal government when they could is because they rip any and all of their customers off and don't need any help in that area.

- , Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #45

Aug 052010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Several years ago we took our Explorer to the dealer for the rear glass strut attachment recall. We had this fix immediately upon getting the recall card. The dealer applied some sort of glue between the glass and the strut attachment bracket. Last night I opened the tailgate window (not the whole tailgate), upon closing the glass when the window was about 1/3 of the way down, it exploded. I was applying mo more pressure than normal and was pushing from the center. The wiper panel hit the ground just missing me, I received several minor cuts on the back of my hand. It could have been much worst. To me, clearly this is a defect in design. Called the dealer this AM, they said they have seen this issue before and agree its a defect, but still want to charge $1200 + paint of the rear panel.

- , Ramona, CA, USA

problem #44

Oct 062009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

one day when closing the rear hatch on my explorer it exploded in a million pieces causing me 1000 bucks to fix and drive with a garbage bag for a week. what is wrong with fords vehicles this is only one of the many problems happeneding with my explorer

- , Hornell, NY, USA

problem #43

Feb 092010

Explorer ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

More of the same. Rear window hatch would not stay open. Lifted it a second time and it exploded everywhere. (weather cold) Headed home with my right hand steering and bleeding all over the place, and my left hand holding driver door as it wouldn't shut. It's good to be able to multi-task. :-P My VIN number is not on the list for potential problems.

- , Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #42

Jan 182010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Recently, I took my 2002 Ford Explorer into the local Ford dealership for a recall concerning the cruise control. Since I was having problems with rear liftgate window staying up, particularly during cold weather, I decided to have the service department replace the struts because the hydraulic gaskets were worn and leaking. Plus, water from outside was leaking inside the window through the mounts of the top hinges of the window.

Guess what happen. After I gave them permission, they replace the hinges first, which were the ones they installed in 2006 as a recall, because they found them loose and worn. Soon after they replaced them, the window exploded. First, the service advisor said that the dealership would furnish and install the window and lift gate at their expense. The next day, he was overruled by the manager and I was told that it was not their fault even though my car was under their care. I call Ford Customer Relations Center the next day and the representative told me that there was no "coverage" and he agreed that the dealership was not at fault. He offered no apology that Ford could not help me.

To keep a long story short, I had to file an insurance claim, My insurance will pay for the repair except for my deductible. Now, iIt has been 2 weeks since the incident and my vehicle is still not repaired because they don' have the liftgate assembly yet from the Lower 48. At least that what they tell me but I think the body shop is full. Maybe this week, I'll have my car back.

Bottom line...the rear window liftgate is defective on the 2002 Ford Explorers and continues to be even with the recall a few years ago that was supposed to have solved the problem. I think that Ford is responsible every time this window explodes. Therefore, Ford should have extended coverage policy to repair them at their expense for at least 10 years or 150,000 miles. Overall, this experience has left a sour taste with me on how much Ford values me as a loyal customer.

- , Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #41

Jan 122010

Explorer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

As with the most of you, I came out after a long day of work and went to go load some of my things into my truck. When I popped the window it shattered. We are probably going to trade in the vehicle this weekend because since I have had this vehicle... I have had nothing but problems with it. In the first year I had it, I had to replace the engine. The second I had to fix the transmissions and since then my 4wd does not work which was part of the reason I bought the truck and now this is the third year that I have had the vehicle and we have replaced the alternator, window regulator, battery, and now the back hatch which you can't just replace the window cause that would be too easy for us who had glass exploded all over us. Ford seriously needs to address this situation before someone gets hurt. I think we need to start making formal complaints with ford themselves. Here is the Ford number...1-800-392-3673

- , Havelock, NC, USA

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