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:
12 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,869 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 windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Nov 232006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,578 miles


: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked and being washed by hand, the liftgate glass became unfastened and fractured when the gate was opened. This malfunction caused personal injuries. There were no warning signals prior to the incident. The vehicle was taken to a dealership.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #17

Aug 262006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
: the contact stated after shutting the liftgate glass it shattered and rained down. The broken glass cut the arm, leg and foot of the contact. The vehicle was taken to a service dealer, who informed the contact that a repair would not be performed because the window cylinder did not appear to be damaged. There was a NHTSA recall # 01I010000 which pertains to the side and rear glass. The vehicle was not included in recall due to the VIN.

- Highland, CA, USA

problem #16

May 142006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
I popped the liftgate on my 2002 Ford Explorer while it was sitting in my garage (garage door was closed and it was early evening -- so temperatures were mild and no sunlight was hitting the truck). As I pulled on the liftgate to fully open it, I heard a loud "bang!" and the entire back window exploded. Balls of glass were thrown with such force that they embedded in the walls of my garage. Several tiny shards of glass (even though it's safety glass, edges are still pretty sharp) lodged in my feet. Today, I'm having the back glass replaced, but I'm concerned about this problem recurring. There had been no previous damage to my rear window, and I had the "liftgate hinge" recall work performed promptly. It appears that numerous other Ford Explorer owners are having problems with their back windows cracking or exploding:

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #15

Apr 282006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked in the yard, the neighbor alerted the contact that the rear window was shattered. The dealership was alerted. There is a NHTSA recall, #01I010000 regarding the visibility: Glass, side/rear. The VIN was not included in the recall.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 202005


  • miles
FOIA request for complaints associated with the model year 2002 Ford Explorer rear lift glass breaking. Attorney located 2 bulletins. One which warned that the liftgate glass strut may become disengaged. The other warned that 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.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #13

Dec 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer Ford Explorer rear window cracked. Dealer stated this was a problem and that it was covered in warranty up to 3 yrs. The consumer had his vehicle for 4 years.

- Briarwood, NY, USA

problem #12

Feb 042006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,721 miles


2002 Ford Explorer 4 door rear hatch glass exploded as it was being closed. Incident occurred approximately 1 year after recall 04S20 was performed.

- Sartell, MN, USA

problem #11

Nov 262005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Safety concern: 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Defective applique located below tailgate glass has developed a crack from top to bottom. The location of this crack is approximately 3 inches to the left of the Ford emblem. The dealer sent me to the body shop, which provided me with an estimate of $334.68 to replace the defective part. Although the dealership was familiar with this problem, my vehicle has approximately 105,000 miles and as a result the dealership would not pursue this a warrantable repair. They essentially ignored my grievance. As a left the dealership, I happen to notice a blue 2002 Explorer similar to mine on the used car lot. As I approached the vehicle I noticed it had the identical crack (from top to bottom), located in the same position (3 inches to the left of the Ford emblem). This vehicle; VIN #1fmdu73E72zco6416 had only 56,069 miles on it. I contacted Ford at 800 392-3673 and spoke with jennifer. The reference number for my complaint is; ref #1428853335. Jennifer investigated and confirmed that a bulletin had been issued for this complaint with instructions for its repair. However, Ford has not yet agreed to pay for any repairs or to reimburse the consumer for any repairs already made. This is a safety concern as this applique could break off and cause serious damage to another vehicle or passerby. I made this concern know to jennifer, but was assured that it had not been deemed a recall repair.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jun 232005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,110 miles
Hatch fell of hitting my wife on back and neck

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 012004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer received NHTSA recall 01I010000 notice in October of 2004. Since then dealer has still not received any parts.

- Brookfield, WI, USA

problem #8

Sep 012004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles


Rear lift glass assembly. Shattered upon opening, lift glass support bracket twisted out of place, causing the failure. 2 injured, an adult and a child.

- Hazel Park, MI, USA

problem #7

Dec 222004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Recall 04V442000 concerning rear liftgate glass. After recall repairs were made the rear glass shattered while opening the liftgate. The vehicle is at the dealer.

- Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #6

Dec 092004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,600 miles
The vehicle was parked when consumer was notified that the rear window had shattered. There was glass outside of the vehicle and inside.. the panel had been expanded. The vehicles rear door was closed and in place. The consumer had received a consumer notification from the manufacturer that this could happen and the dealer did not have the glass to make the repair.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #5

Jul 132004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,200 miles
While attempting to close the lift window on the liftgate the glass shattered into very small sharp pieces. The driver cut his finger in a piece of glass. The glass also scratched the tailgate. The consumer contacted the dealer who replaced the glass. PE04045.pco

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #4

Aug 222003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer stated that while making a left turn he heard a loud humming noise and had difficulty turning vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the technician indicated that the power steering rod failed. This problem occurred in July. In August the consumer made a turn and the vehicle shut off in the middle of an intersection which caused the steering wheel to lock up. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who indicated that the fuel tank needed to be replaced. The glass in the rear hatch rattled. The vehicle was purchased new and the consumer believes it should not be experiencing these types of problems.

- Ontario Canada, 00, USA

problem #3

Oct 012003

(reported on)

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
When the consumer opened the hatchback the glass portion of the hatch detached from the back of the truck. The dealership indicated that stress cracks in the panel underneath the window caused the failure.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #2

Aug 222000

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at 35mph and with no warning front windshield shattered, and caused consumer to have visual problems. Dealer notified. Consumer states the the rear window opens on its own, has has done so on 3 occasions.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #1

May 012002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states while backing out of garage rear end window and door assembly opened without warning, resulting in damage to door and glass.

- Escondido, CA, USA

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