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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Jul 082008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


My husband opened the rear liftgate to my Explorer last night (opened without any problem) but when he shut it (with no 'extra' force) the window exploded into thousands of little pieces of glass and the panel below the window landed on the ground. I had the recall repair completed in September 2007 at the dealership and I now have a car with only 3 sides! I took it to my local dealer who told me if I wanted to pursue having Ford cover any part of the costs I would have to call Customer Care, which I did, and they of course refuse to cover any part of the repair. I called the dealer in San Francisco who originally did the recall repair and the manager states he has "never heard of the liftgate coming off after the recall was fixed - that's impossible and something else had to have happened''. Apparently it does happen or I wouldn't be reading these blogs! Now the Insurance Company is telling me that the repair will cost $1500 and it won't be covered under collision or comprehensive coverage as it is a Ford factory defect. I love how Ford backs up their workmanship and their products to keep their customers satisfied. I won't be a repeat customer. If anyone has suggestions on how they got the cost of these repairs covered please let me know - Thanks!

- , Estero, FL, USA

problem #19

Dec 242007

Explorer XLS 4.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

The rear lift gate glass exploded in my hands while opening it. I received 10 stitches to one finger (cut to the bone) and had numerous lacerations. The insurance replace the glass for a $750.00 deductible as it needed to be painted too. Although 2002 Explorers have a recall for this very problem, they stated they could not help me as my VIN # was not included in the recall. In the recall it states the glass may unexpectedly shatter and injuries could result if not repaired, but even though I had the same problem on my 2002 Explorer it didn't happen because it's VIN # was not included.

- , Pueblo West, CO, USA

problem #18

May 222008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I was loading groceries into my Explorer and was lowering the lift gate when the back window exploded. After cleaning the glass and debris from my hair, and cleaning the blood from my hands, I realized one of the hinges had actually broken off. I had this replaced several years ago when Ford issued a recall for this same problem. I took my Explorer to my local Ford dealer. They said they had never seen this happen and told me to contact my insurance company. I told them I hadn't had an accident and didn't feel like my insurance company was responsible for their defective products and parts. They agreed to contact Ford for me about repairs, who, of course, would accept no responsibility. Did Ford replace my hinges with the same defective parts two years ago? Were the hinges even replaced at all? Obviously, the problem wasn't resolved as I was nearly beheaded today in the Kroger parking parking lot! I have witnesses! My husband and I have spent over $150,000 in the past 10 or 15 years on Ford vehicles, not mention the what the rest of my family has spent. We have always been Ford owners and have always purchased our vehicles from our local dealer. If Ford or my dealer does not make this good and I have to pay for Ford's defective parts and workmanship, I will never buy another Ford product again. It's no wonder people will not buy American made. I find this very disheartening and hope Ford will not let me down this time.

- , Jefferson, GA, USA

problem #17

Mar 082008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Just returned from vacation and was opening the the rear window to unload the vehicle and boom the window just exploded. As mentioned in some of the previous complaints it was very cold out. Fortunately I and the others had step away from the vehicle when the rear window exploded or less I am sure someone would have been injury. Looking at the remains it seem that the gate lift detached from the body of the vehicle and the whole window then collapse thus breaking into a thousand pieces. Having just read the previous complaints about just problem it seems the Ford plans on not taking responsibility for this oblivious default in their product. I just recently purchased this Explorer used so I have no idea if the previous owner ever had the struct hinges repaired under the Ford recall. Looking for answers?

- , Temperance, MI, USA

problem #16

Jan 132008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Exactly as some of the other descriptions. Very cold morning, rear glass was lifting slowly. I thought the struts were not working since that sometimes happens in very cold weather, so I gave it an extra shove upward (nothing unreasonable) and BOOM. Glass everywhere. When cleaning up the mess I noticed that one of the hinges holding the window had seized. This is why the window exploded - because it was being pushed against a non moving hinge. If this happens to you make sure to check your hinges (th part at the top of the window that attaches the glass to the truck). And if you notice any resistance anytime you are opening your back hatch - do not apply extra force!

- , Saskatoon, SK, Canada

problem #15

Feb 032008


  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles

As it seems has happened to many others, although my local ford dealer, Lakewood Ford in Lakewood Colorado says they've 'never heard of such a thing!', my rear window and tailgate literally exploded on my head. Many times the tailgate doesn't raise all the way its supposed to, so you have to manually push it up the rest of the way. I did this yesterday, in cold weather, and there was a huge loud explosion when the entire windshield exploded and the other part of the tailgate came crashing down on my head. It was very scary, and inconvenient being that we were in a snowstorm and had a careful of valuables and a long way to drive and then park with our car unsecured. Now I find that it will cost $1000 for the glass only, without labor or other parts. I'm not even sure if the bottom part that was attached to the windshield is usable.

I will attempt to contact ford directly, but from the multitude of the same complaints, it doesn't sound very promising.

- , Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #14

Jan 202008

Explorer Eddie Bower V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


My 14 year old daughter opened the top part (window) of the rear door to put a small package in and when she went to close it the window exploded and showered her with glass. I took the vehicle to a dealer (Haldeman in East Winsor NJ) They had a FORD rep look at it and he decided it was not covered by FORD? The repair is $1,400.00 The so called rear window recall was performed by this dealer in August 2007. My last 5 cars and trucks were FORDs but they will never get another dollar out of me! No wonder imports do so well. US corporate raiders will put us all out of work!!!

- , Cream Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #13

Dec 082007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,568 miles

on sat. evening came out of the store and opened the back glass to put some things

in the back. I pushed the glass open and it hit me in the head so then I pushed it back up again it exploded into my face and glass was everywhere inside and out, I have always liked this unit but after this I'm not so sure, I am thankful that I had my glasses on because it went off like a gun otherwise I would of had glass in my eyes, I know if ford doesn't look into this they will have a lawsuit on their hands sooner or later, I guess someone needs to get hurt before they will act.

- , Bismarck, N.D, USA

problem #12

Dec 022007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,652 miles

Went to open the rear glass hatch on Sunday, the vehicle was parked in the garage, as I lifted the glass, bang, it exploded. I didn't force the hatch, I was just lifting it as we normally do. About a year ago, the panel just below the glass cracked, so I wonder if this has anything to do with it or the recall and repair on the lift struts? I have a call in to the dealer, they are not promising anything but will get back to me. Can't say that I am happy about this. Hopefully Ford will do something but we will see.

- , Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #11

May 082007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I too spoke to Ford regarding this issue since my kids were in the back seat when the back window exploded into a million pieces (I kid you not, it sounded like I was setting off a bomb in my garage, my kids were freaked out)! Their response was, did you make sure that nothing was blocking the hatch when you shut it? Also, the windows are made to shatter that way. Duh, if you are in a freak'n accident. What do you classify it as if you are unloading your groceries and go to shut it and that happens? Luckily my insurance paid for the window replacement, granted I paid the $100 deductible. There needs to be a recall on this especially since they are aware that this is happening (I was told so by the Ford rep I talked to), just not frequent enough for them to warrant one.

- , B, I, USA

problem #10

Oct 162007

(reported on)

Explorer EB 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


02 Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6 4x4, 60k miles. I was sitting in the drivers seat as my wife shut the rear hatch door and the window shattered. I was in the car when it happened and so I know the door wasn't slammed too hard. Ford doesn't wan't to help in any way shape or form. The car dealer where I bought the car will not help or take any responsibility.

I realize that Ford can't be responsible for every window that breaks but this situation is something that should be addressed and rectified by Ford. This makes me sick to my stomach to shell out $1,400.00 for a window.

If it was a $50-$75 window you would never hear a word of complaint from me, but come on, $1,400. Thats a crime.

Ford has dropped the ball on this one and I hope enough people place a complaint either here or somewhere else to get this message out to Ford.

If I had one peice of advice for Ford it would be, " don't be like Charter Cable and go broke because of bad customer service "

I don't like driving a car that I call a Ford Explorer, but everyone else calls a Ford EXPLODER.

Ford!! It is time to take action!!

I'm off to the craft store to buy some window paint so I can write " Don't buy a ford Explorer " on my plexy glass rear window.

- , Chesterfield, MO, USA

problem #9

Oct 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I recently took my Ford in for a replacement rear liftgate recall and the window seemed to not stay up properly, I was getting out some groceries from Costco today and I jumped backwards with some groceries and the liftgate had dropped and my head broke the back window. I couldn't believe it, I barely touched it, it was crazy... I am going to have to replace it at a cost of $1400 dollars: what a crock of beeeeeeeeeepppp!!!! Do not buy Ford, they are crap and they don't stand behind their products or installations... Look elsewhere!!!

- , Seattle, WA, US

problem #8

Oct 072007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

While closing the rear window the entire glass exploded. It just happened and I hope Ford will do their part, but it doesn't sound like they are taking responsibility for this obvious defect.

- , Lawton, OK, USA

problem #7

Jul 252007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My Driver side Rear back cargo window exploded too!! This happened while driving 65+ miles an hour, with my kids to the dentist on rt 80 in New Jersey during rush hour on a cold winter morning. The glass remained in the window and had millions of small cracks. There was no road work going on near where it happened and no big trucks around us at the time either. I don't know how that could have ever happened. The kids were afraid, crying and thought someone was throwing things at the car. There were millions of tiny glass particles in air as I looked back through the rear view mirror. I told the kids to take their shirt and pull it up over faces, as to not breath in the particles. I didn't know whether to roll the windows down because I thought the air pressure might blow the window totally out along with all the items in the cargo area. I pulled off at the next exit to access the damage. We rolled down the windows to let the car breath and hoped that most of the glass particles would fly out. I couldn't miss the kids dental appointment again so I told the kids to keep their shirts over their mouths and we all got back into the car and on to the dentist. After the appointment, I pulled the car into a parking lot at a local park area stop and went into the back cargo area and kicked the entire side glass out using a flatten cardboard box and my feet. Using the cardboard, I got up as much of the glass and dump it into a near by garbage. We moved all the items out of the cargo area and into the front and back seats and waited for the car to air out before going home. I thought this was a rare incident, until I just read that it happened to another Explorer owner and happened on the exact same side back window!

- , Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #6

Jul 022007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

We were closing our back window when the lift broke off and scattered the back window. I knew that it had to be a defect and Ford told me that they would not cover it. After over a year of fighting it Ford finally cut me a check.

- , Beale AFB, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 142007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

This afternoon the rear window on my Explorer exploded when I opened it. Unfortunately a friend was standing near and received a couple minor cuts. No idea what so ever what caused the window to shatter into a million pieces, the local Ford Motor folks said this was strange and had never heard of it before. The temperture was about 40 degrees, so it wasn't that cold out. It had been closed just minutes before without any indication of a problem.

- , Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #4

Mar 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Liftgate exploded when I was loading groceries. The struts were bad, so the gate only went up 3/4, so I lifted it further. Then all of a sudden the whole thing shattered. I'm sure the cold weather had something to do with it, or the rusted fixtures to the glass. It was dissappointing to see something like the liftgate struts go after 50K, and to have wheel bearings, and diff bearings replaced at 68K. Now this... all examples of poor design and robustness.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #3

Feb 212007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

My rear windshield exploded on February 11th 2007 in Rutland Vermont when I was loading my car. In cold weather, the rear windshield does not stay up when you open it, and as a result I have a huge bump on my head. When I lifted it back up though, it shattered all over me. This has never been a problem before nor have I heard of it happening until this website. Either way, I think if you lift the latch up even a little bit too far, the bolts pull on the glass and shatter it. Kind of a crappy little defect.

- , Mahwah, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jan 172007

(reported on)

Explorer LImited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Lifted up the rear window & it exploded. Ford dealership says its our problem. I question the workmanship +/- parts as we had that same part replaced as part of a factory recall 2 years prior. Definitely makes me suspicious. We are on the hook for the cost.

- , Calgary, Alberta, Canada

problem #1

Dec 052006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

tonight i was opening the rear lift window when it suddenly exploded. In searching the internet i have found that many have found this window cracked . Now I will never know!! tomorrow I am taking it to the dealer who actually did something to this possibly in 2002 as part of a recall. I do not recall the reason behind the recall but suspicious that this may be related. My car is out of warranty but cannot attribute this to wear and tear. My car is always in the garage and protected from the weather extremes. I am curious to this having had with other SUV lift windows

- , Plano, TX, USA

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