The Worst 2002-2005 Explorer Problems

  1. Explorer Cracked Rear Panel

    If you own a 2002-2005 Explorer, chances are your rear lift-gate is cracked. It’s a widespread problem in all Ford-family SUVs from that generation, including the Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator. But what’s causing the split?…

  2. Spark Plugs Ejected in Triton Engine

    Ford Triton engines are spitting out spark plugs like sunflower seeds, but the suits in Detroit act like there isn't any problem. They're wrong. We believe this defect affects the following 2-valve engines: Triton 4.6L V8, 5.4L V8, 6.8L V10…

  3. Explorer's Exploding Rear Windows

    It doesn't matter if the temperature is hot or cold, or even if the car is moving or parked, the rear windows of some Ford Explorer, Escape, Edge and Mercury Mountaineers SUVs are just exploding at random.

  4. Ford Aluminum Hood Corrosion and Rust

    Cars are prone to rust, unfortunately that's just the way it is. This is especially true for those who live in rust belt states where salt is used to clear ice from roads. We can fight the onslaught with regular washes and waxing ... unless…

  5. Explorer Transmission Failure

    Nothing lasts forever and transmissions in early 2000's Ford Explorers are no exception. One dealership claimed 1 out of every 10 Explorers from the 3rd generation will experience a premature transmission failure, and with a typical repair …


What Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

3rd Generation Explorer Key Numbers

  1. 4 model years

    Grouping all models by their year can reveal some baddies.

  2. 9,096 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to

  3. 94th in reliability

    Overall reliability rank out of 94 eligible generations.