Print this page 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:
113,450 miles
Total Complaints:
81 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace rear windshield (36 reports)
  2. ford should pay for it (28 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 1 of 5)

problem #81

Aug 052018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,150 miles


click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded rear lift gate window exploded rear lift gate window exploded

The Explorer was sitting in the carport and boom, it exploded.

- mrbamajoe, Joppa, US

problem #80

Nov 252016

Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

Went out to get something from the car, opened the hatch and the window exploded in my face.

- dnrdavid, Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #79

Jan 242013

Explorer ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 195,444 miles

click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded

I was driving down the road and the window suddenly imploded. I drove straight to a Ford Dealership. I was told that there was a recall. I later found out that the previous owner had the car serviced under the rear window recall. Even though the recall was perform my window still imploded and could have caused an accident or great harm to anyone riding in the rear area of the car.

- lmoreland, Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #78

Sep 262016

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 218,000 miles


click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded

Today's my birthday I was headed to the airport this morning. I went in out my bag in the trunk and when I cleaned the trunk BOOM the whole freaking window shattered glass went everywhere I got a cut on my hand. The little black part at the top of glass came off the struts and everything are broken all from closing the trunk.... I'm stressed beyond measures because I can't afford to fix this. If it was just the glass I could probably come up with the money but it's struts and the bottom part of the rear window and the little black part that holds the window up top....I don't know what to do....

- lunniemd, Bowie, MD, US

problem #77

Apr 092016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

Don't have comprehensive on my insurance. No Glass coverage

I took my daughter grocery shopping. closed the Rear lift Gate (Window) and it exploded, 5 seconds after it was closed.

Ford refuses to pay for it. There is apparently a Class Action Lawsuit in the making.


- kacg517, East Hampton, NY, US

problem #76

May 142014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

2002 rear window exploded and Ford would not cover it. It cost me $500 at American Glass to replace the window and clips.

- Pat S., Ft Myers, FL, US

problem #75

Mar 142015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 182,000 miles


Was the rear window explosion ever recalled? Or has anyone ever had it covered by Ford? Anybody take on the repair themselves? Please let us know. Thanks!

- Al H., Erie, PA, US

problem #74

Jan 022015

Explorer Eddie Bouer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

I was driving down the road and heard a loud boom and seen my back window just fall to pieces. I don't know how it could of happened, just sucks.

- matthewmo, Sedalia, MO, US

problem #73

Jan 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

My granddaughter got cuts and could have been hurt worse when she opened the lift gate window cause it exploded and all the glass went on her and if Ford knew about the problem they should be responsible for injures and repairs and if they don't care about human injures they should be prosecuted.

- aka_moose, Genoa City, WI, US

problem #72

Jan 112015

Explorer Sport V`6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Freezing weather, can't work. What the F- K. Heater on window exploded on the back widow.

- Daniel Z., Palatine, IL, US

problem #71

Aug 212014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


The back window broke while in the Ford dealership fixing the back door hinge problem. They tell me I am responsible for not only the hinge but also the back window that they broke while working on it. $260 for hinge and another $580 for the window!

- Colleen E., Brentwood, CA, US

problem #70

Jun 022014

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

First there was the infamous cracked tailgate, which then led to the latch that keeps the lift gate close to rust and break off, then two days later I wake up for work and the rear window is in a million pieces on the ground. The weather didn't contribute to it breaking as is was a cool, bright morning. Here is now more money I have to sink into the car (spent thousands having the transmission rebuild, not to mention having to replace both front wheel bearing, and the back struts all within the past year). To top it off, I still have to go in and try and get the 4 wheel drive working and the emergency brake cable is broke. I have tried to baby this piece of crap car (kept in a garage, changed oil when I was supposed to, regular check and change all other fluids, keep everything clean, etc) but this car keeps finding new ways for me to hate it.

- Tyler H., Pewaukee, WI, US

problem #69

Jan 152014

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,332 miles

Absolutely astounded to find such a high occurrence of this problem.

I had the cracking problem start in the applique and just about every other Explorer on the road here in South Australia has that problem so I didn't think too much about it other than it's a Ford quality control issue. But when the rear window explodes all over yourself and your wife just through the simple act of shutting the lift-gate then you get really worried about quality and safety. We both got showered in glass,it ruined our holiday as the lift-gate glass has everything attached to it...the wiper... the latch and with it all in bits the lights stay on and flatten the battery.

Will be chasing Ford Australia....every Explorer owner should be made aware of the danger this design flaw can cause...this is a vehicle designed for off road and on road use and it should be durable.Our Explorer window exploded in a shopping center car park with other people nearby.We were showered in glass and had cuts from the fragments.Fortunately nothing major, but Ford have a lot to answer for. 955,000 recalled stateside but there is no mention of an Australian recall. Lets hope Ford Australia will do something.

- sdudley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

problem #68

Jul 142013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,000 miles

Man--when Ford made the Explorer I am not sure what the heck they were thinking! This car has been nothing but headache after headache! Motor mounts being loose, engine needing replacement, transmission needing to be replaced, oil leaks, thermostat bad, and now the rear window explodes on us for no reason at all! I am so fed up with my Explorer. It's time to look for a new car. This car has been one bad omen after bad omen. After reading everyone else's complaints I am glad I am not alone, but nonetheless, this is RIDICULOUS! How can a rear window just explode for no reason at all. My husband and I just opened it because we noticed it looked like it was loose and then BAM tiny pieces of glass everywhere. We looked around to see how much it would cost to replace--but it is sooo not worth it! This POS car is going straight to the junk yard! No more Fords--EVER!!!!

- Cindy D., Amarillo, TX, US

problem #67

Apr 062013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I am a ford man,I have been buying fords for years, also have had other Explorers.This one really takes the cake. first the panel like everybody else has cracked and been replace of course, then the latch started causing the alarm and the lights to go off and on. Then last week I go to shut the glass and it explodes in my hands glass everywhere in my face and cuts my hands. As I see other complaints on the internet sounds like a big problems with this year of Explorer. Shame on Ford for not standing by their products and doing some recalls on these problems before someone is seriously injured.

- mog, Goshen, IN, US

problem #66

Mar 172013

Explorer XLS V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer has always been a pain in the ass. I bought it new and it now has 157,000 miles.

Yesterday, after spending $1500 dollars to repair oil leaks-just one of the few problems I have had-I was at my son's house visiting.

The Explorer was inside his garage. My wife and I came out, ready to leave, when we saw the rear window completely shattered.

The button component, which is made of plastic, was laying inside the back floor. The outside temp was in the 70's.

A note: If you see this type of Explorer, it will have a crack across the button plastic component.

As of now, I don't know how I am going to fix this problem. I guess I start looking in the local junkyard for a replacement window. I will try to talk to the Ford PEOPLE.

- Manuel G., Laporte, TX, US

problem #65

Jan 222013

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

The lift gate did not go up all the way. My husband bummed his head as he reached in the back so he lifted the glass up further and it all exploded and crashed around us. I had our 1-year-old in my arms at the time. It is very cold right now in Wisconsin, but still the vehicle should have the tolerance to operate normally.

My husband has already replaced the engine, transmission, rear bearing and brakes. Ford should step up and replace the entire lift gate and glass.

- mtseegers, Madison, WI, US

problem #64

Jan 052013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear lift gate window exploded

Lift gate glass exploded into a million pieces when I opened the gate to load my fishing gear. Outside temps were 60 degrees. Completely ruined a day of fishing and now going to cost a fortune to fix. Not sure it is even worth investing in this 11 year old explorer. This glass should not have failed from the simple act of opening the lift gate--very unacceptable.

- William K., Tampa, FL, US

problem #63

Dec 212012

Explorer XLS

  • Manual transmission
  • 147,000 miles

A few weeks ago, the suppports for the upper half of the liftgate started to malfunction. When I opened the rear window portion, sometimes it would not stay up. It would sag and the window would come down on my head or in front of my face.

Tonight I opened the rear window to remove some cardboard for recycling. As I started to reach into the car for the cardboard, the liftgate dropped in front of my face again. The lower edge hit my forehead about an inch above my eye. When I lifted the gate to get it away from my face, the rear window blew apart like it was a friggin hand grenade. There were glass shards all over the ground and in the back of my car. Fortunately, I didn't even have a scratch but this situation needs to be addressed. The faulty supports allow the window to fall on your head or in front of your face. If you try to raise the window , it may blow up like a bomb.

Ford's design team must have been kindergarden flunkouts.

- bigdummy, Auburn, PA, US

problem #62

Nov 272012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Like the other explorer owners, glass was being closed (slowly as usual) when the window just exploded into thousands of pieces and little fine shards. Even the junkyards are quoting around $1000 dollars for the glass and I don't think that was installed either. FOr the price of that glass, I bet I can find a whole new explorer and salvage it for parts. Based on the voulume of similar complaints, this is an engineering defect.

I'm in Florida and the temperature is near 80 so temperature is not the issue. Glass does not flex(much) and when this type of glass breaks, it shatters into small pieces to avoid major lacerations in case of accident/impact/ejection. When fords hydraulics fail and bind, it exerts a torque on the window frame. In other words, it tries to make inflexible glass TWIST - resulting in the all too familiar exploding glass. Ford engineered this design, engineered this flaw, and should have taken responsibility if they had any honor/integrity. I didn't buy a $5000 car to spend $1200 on one piece of glass, and my transmission has been making a weird noise too. Sounds like another $3000 in the near future.

Ford: I know you read these reviews. You have the ability to manufacture a couple thousand of these glasses at a fraction of the repair cost we have to pay. You know and have known there was a problem. Store the darn glass and ship it to your customers when there's a problem. There shouldn't be this type of problem in the first place, but mistakes happen, so you should be honest and practical in righting your wrongs.

....rant over..

- Ruby F., Miam I, FL, US

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