Common 2002-2005 Ford Explorer Problems

Some of the worst issues 3rd generation Explorer owners have to deal with.

  1. Why Do Ford Hoods Corrode So Easily?

    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…

    Continue reading article "Why Do Ford Hoods Corrode So Easily?" A large patch of hood paint is missing right above the grille, revealing the hood's bare metal.
  2. Cracked Rear Explorer Panels

    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?…

    Continue reading article "Cracked Rear Explorer Panels" A large crack runs heightwise down a rear body panel, just to the right of the Ford emblem
  3. 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…

    Continue reading article "Spark Plugs Ejected in Triton Engine"
  4. 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 …

    Continue reading article "Explorer Transmission Failure"

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.

What Breaks the Most

Years to Avoid

3rd Generation (2002–2005) 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.

Recent Lawsuits for 3rd Generation Explorer Owners

  • Dismissed

    Cavette, et al., v. Ford Motor Company

    1. Dismissed

      Court documents don't go into much detail, but the plaintiffs say their claims in this matter pending against Ford Motor Co. (Defendant) have been resolved to the satisfaction of Plaintiffs and Defendant.

    2. Case Filed

      A Ford Explorer hood rust recall allegedly should have been ordered long ago, or so says a plaintiff who filed a proposed class action lawsuit about aluminum hoods.