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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Dec 292009

Explorer SLT 4.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


Looks like I'm one of many here. Cold outside today, popped the rear hatch but it did not open all the way. I opened it and it exploded. Not much force was required to open it, but apparently enough. Really made a mess. My deductible is too high to cover it, but it looks like it'll cost ~$850. Ford needs to address this!!

- , South Riding, VA, USA

problem #39

Dec 102009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

My wife was putting some things in the back of our Explorer this evening and she came in the house and told me I needed to see something and I should probably wear my shoes. You guessed it, the rear window exploded when she was lifting it up (I was just going to change the lift gate struts this weekend because they are at the end of their useful life and don't work well in the cold). She didn't have the window all the way up so it wasn't from putting pressure on the hinges. It is fairly cold this evening when it happened (about 15 degrees F), but it's been in much colder weather than that before and there were no problems. The cold possibly could have helped the problem along, but from reading other posts temperature doesn't seem to be the main contributing factor.

Anybody that would design two small hinges to be imbeded in the glass, like those on the '02 Explorers are, must have been smoking some wacky tobaccy. That seems to be the problem with cars these days, car makers try to make things look good and streamlined, but sometimes it's at the cost of solid production and durable functionality. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

When I saw the potential cost to replace the window my jaw dropped to the floor. I really hope my insurance will cover a rear window. I know I have windshield replacement coverage, but I'm not sure if it covers all glass panels. I'll find out tomorrow when my wife talks to our agent.

This is clearly something Ford needs to address before someone seriously gets an eye full of glass and goes blind and they find themselves in a major lawsuit.

- , Vale, OR, USA

problem #38

Dec 082009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Well looking at this post, obviously we're not the only one this happened to, but last night I went out to get something out of the back of the explorer and after I popped the back window and went to lift it up, it exploded! It was a unusually cold evening for San Diego also. Glass everywhere - finding some today 15 ft away from where it happened. Thankfully I wasn't hurt, but easily could have! Called the dealership and of course they gave me the whole, well you can call Ford directly but there are no outstanding warranties on the vehicle. Filed an insurance claim and have a $500 deductible so that's a nice Christmas present! $500 right at Christmas time!!!! I called Ford directly and questioned the 2006 Recall 04S20 where they replace the support bracket and hinge...of course got the same message that they can't do anything about it, but after seeing and hearing how many times this has happened to people - it's rediculous that Ford doesn't help us out. I plan on printing up all of these statements and sending them with a letter to Ford asking for reimbursement or at least help for paying for this!

- , San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #37

Nov 292009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


went to get groceries, glass only lifted half way. I tried to push it open a little maybe went an inch with no effort and boom all glass exploded. I looked at my 8 year old daughter and she had the exact WTF face that I had. TOO MANY of the incidents to be just a freak accident. FORD needs a recall. anyone have any suggestions!!

- , Clovis, NM, US

problem #36

Nov 292009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Same thing happened to me as everyone else. It was just starting to get cold, we had our first frost yesterday. I was out helping mom with some groceries when I popped open the rear window to put in the groceries. It did not open completely, so I gave it a little push like I had before, seems it just needs a touch and it will open the rest of the way, when all the sudden it just exploded. Glass went everywhere, and I was lucky I did not get cut. This is really unacceptable. There must be a flaw in the design or the glass must be weak. There are too many people for it to be an isolated incident.

- , Nilwood, IL, USA

problem #35

Oct 162008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

i am about done with this vehicle. i am very lucky no one was injured when the lift gate glass shattered. obviously a defect as the garage that repaired had many explorers in with the same problem. full glass coverage on insurance saved my butt. i like ford but i dont think another explorer is in my future unless they make MAJOR changes to the defects.

- , Wayland, NY, USA

problem #34

Jun 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 8 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


My 4 year old grandson and myself were loading items into my explorer to take to my parents for an upcoming garage sale and once we had finished my husband went out to close the life gate glass and it exploded into a million pieces, inside and outside of my vehicle and by the grace of god my grandson was not in or around it at the time this happened. I feel that Ford is responsible for this problem and they should fix it no matter how old the recall is because some of us didn't realize this since we bought it used. I have made several calls and doing all that I can to make them pay because even after insurance and deductible I am still $600 out of pocket. I am hanging onto my insurance check and leaving my vehicle garage kept as is till I do all that I can to make FORD do something....

- , Morrilton, AR, USA

problem #33

Apr 132009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Same story as the others here. Popped open my rear lift gate window, which doesn't go all the way up in cold weather. Gave it a slight upward push and the whole thing came crashing down on my head, shattering glass all over the place. No physical injury, but a pretty scary way to start a Monday morning! Contacted Ford Service HQ to no avail, but I'll keep hoping for something.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #32

Apr 122009

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,500 miles

Just got home from Easter festivities when my wife opened the rear hatch and the rear hatch window just exploded. Glass was everywhere and she got cuts on her leg and had a piece of glass lodged in her scalp. We were lucky that the metal frame didn't land on her head. Dealer said it would cost $1,550 to fix. We just had the recall update to take care of exploding hatch windows in June 2008, but the fix doesn't appear to be working.

Called Ford Headquarters and they gave me a case number, but wouldn't be getting anything from legal for 15 business days! What is a person supposed to do? I can't wait for 15 days for Ford to fix this obvious design defect. The metal bottom frame must be too heavy and place too much stress on the components.

Good luck to those have had this issue.

- , Vista, CA, USA

problem #31

Mar 172009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 350,000 miles

Owners beware! While pushing the rear window release button on my tailgate, the rear window EXPLODED! I had glass fragments fly in all directions up to 12 feet! The truck was parked in my driveway and my neighbors & family came running when they heard the noise as it sounded like a shot gun going off! Salvage Yards want $400 for a replacement..ugh! I was told by a professional auto mechanic that my rear window regulator must have malfunctioned...whatever. This is clearly a defect in design and Ford should fess up to it!

- , Saint Cloud, FL, USA

problem #30

Feb 152009

Explorer ELT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Just like some of the other stories, my son opened the rear window lift and it would not stay up, so he pushed it it up and the window exploded. He did not push hard. He received some minor cuts on his face, barely missing the eyes. Plus it pouring rain with no end in site. and its Sunday. I will call the ford dealership tomorrow, but it sounds like it may be fruitless. I am very disappointed in what I am hearing. Is there a way to get ford to at least investigate this????

- , Redding, CA, US

problem #29

Feb 282009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I am Debbie's husband. She already reported the problem, but left out some information. We bought the car in 2004. They recalled it in 2006 to put the new hinges on that were supposed to be Ford's recall fix for the problem. It did not resolve the problem. It appears that people are still having the issue after their so called fix. Its time for Ford to really fix the problem or pay consumers for their loss through a class action suit. I tried to tell my wife to stick with GM SUV's. The Ford has been a big disappointment in many areas. It never got the mileage we were told it would get. We get 16 to 17 on the highway. We were told we could get 24. The Chevy vortech does get the 24 mpg and our Safari van does it daily.

- , Dixie, WA, USA

problem #28

Feb 262009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

this is not just a one time thing, how many more have had this happen to them.. I got class all over me and thank god I had a hat on or it would of cut my face up.. I got class all in my neck and back.. I was just getting my food out of the back from shopping.I put up the back and started getting my bags out and the next thing i know glass was all over me.. what is it going to take..someone loosing a eye before something is done.. I am going to get in touch with a lawyer. this is fords problem it should not be mine or has happen to many times.. to too many people..

- , Dixie, WA, USA

problem #27

Feb 022009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I just open the rear window, when suddenly it felt down slowly but did not break. My husband and I tried holding it up when suddenly it exploded into numerous pieces. A piece of glass hit just centimeters under my husband's eye. He got other scars and I had glass that hit my body but fortunately not my face. The insurance only covered minor part and we had to pay $750; that was the cheapest we found and its a total different color from our truck. Well, at least we are okay.I wonder if Ford can do something about this problem because there has been many complains about this dangerous problem???????

- , Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #26

Jan 122009

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,541 miles

Same story as everyone else. It was cold out, I open my rear window it didn't come all the way up, I push it up gently and when it reached the full open position it exploded into a million pieces. I DID NOT PUSH IT TOO FAR. I'm thinking that the cold weather had something to do with it. It really sucks. There is no telling how much it's going to cost to replace plus Ford dealerships do not stock these and they told me that it would take about a week to get one in and then they would have to paint it. Nice.

- , Nashville, TN, USA

problem #25

Jan 062009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,734 miles

Went to put my computer into the rear storage area after work. The window didn't stay up as it should, so I pushed it up and the window exploded in my hands. Glass flew everywhere and I ended up with some slivers in my hand as I still had my hand on the bottom panel that has the Ford logo on it when it exploded. I had forgotten about the recall until I read everyone's comments. I also brought in the vehicle for the recall and had this fixed when I got the recall notice a few years ago. A lot of good it did since the window exploded anyway. I still have to contact my insurance company to see if this is covered. This was my first Ford, and it will be my last.

- , Yardley, PA, USA

problem #24

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I have been having a problem with my rear window not opening all of the way. Today when I was loading grocery's, the window only opened about half way, the temp. was 26 degrees which also made the problem worse. When I pushed the window up it exploded, the temp. probably made the window more likely to explode.

- , Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #23

Dec 082008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

The back window of the tailgate also exploded on our explorer. I had also called the dealer which we purchased the vehicle from and was also told there is nothing that they can do about it as far as Ford is concerned. There was a recall on this problem, however, it was supposedly repaired before we took delivery on the vehicle. The original recall on the liftgate windows was in 5/2001 and we purchased the vehicle in 8/2001. After calling Ford this is a closed recall, and there is no other recourse but to pay out of pocket for the repair. The car insurance company will cover the repair, but only after paying our comprehensive deductible. I think that Ford needs to reopen the recall,because there are too many explorers with high mileage that are having the same issue within the last year. So, now what about that Ford bailout.

- , Sebastain, FL, USA

problem #22

Dec 072008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Opened lift gate in 32 degree temperature, lift gate did not open fully. Pushed up on lift gate and the window shattered. Repair cost $1,327. Ask for a loaner car because Ford dealer says they cannot order glass in advance of seeing the car. Car has 125,000 miles so Ford will not cover any part of the repair. I had replaced the window struts in 2004 under their recall notice. The problem was one or both struts froze up so when I applied the pressure the window cracked at the top hinges and glass shattered everywhere. This type of mechanical failure should not happen and Ford should replace this inferior part or at the minimum provide warning to buyers of this potential condition.

Another sad commentary on cars made by American manufacturers!

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #21

Jul 262008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

July 26th I go to close my lift gate and BOOM - glass was everywhere. What the heck??? As others have stated, the panel also fell to the ground. It is now sitting in the back of the vehicle. The overhead lights will no go off and I am concerned about electrical damage as well. After reading the comments on this site, I am pretty freaked out about getting it fixed. Should I hit up the insurance company (Geico) and pay the $1000 comprehensive deductible or fight with Ford? What did all of you do? How long did the repair take? Inconvenient? ABSOLUTELY...just moments before, I found out my mother passed away. Not a good day at all. Any words of wisdom and advice are so greatly appreciated! Is there a such thing as a class action lawsuit???

- , Seattle, WA, USA

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