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CarComplaints.com 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.

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$460.00
Average Mileage:
117,545 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. take apart dashboard and replace blend door actuator (10 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. removed fresh air door (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 012012

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The freaking blend door arm got broken or detached for no reason! Was out of heat for 3 days until I got this fixed. It cost me an arm and a leg as this fix was damn expensive!

- , Providence, RI, USA

problem #11

Dec 012013

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Not sure if it is called the blend door or not. There is the door that opens and allows the air to defrost or blow from panel. The little plastic piece broke from the actuator arm to the door opener. My husband drilled a new hole in the broke plastic part and zip tied it to the actuator arm and it works. This is another FORD great idea gone bad. I don't understand why they are not being told to replace all these problems that come with this vehicle.

- , West Valley City, UT, USA

problem #10

Dec 022013

Explorer XLT 3.8V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

This is the second time, I had the blend door fixed two years ago almost to the day. Ford and my local dealer are no help only willing to take my money.

- , East Haven, CT, USA

problem #9

Dec 012012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I love my ford explorer....but the Heater does not work in it, so I have to drive to work when it has been in the 20's with no heat....and my daughter has the same year and make , and just last month her heater has stopped working to.....what can be done about this?

- , Hamlin, TX, USA

problem #8

Aug 112012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,975 miles

The front AC blows cold air, but it seems like very little of it comes out of the vents. You can hear the blower going full blast, but I have to keep it on a fan speed of 3 just to keep the car cool. Some sort of flapper must be stuck so will now need to search the internet for how to take the dash apart. I am going to get rid of this piece of junk ASAP.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #7

Mar 012012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

click to see larger images

blend door broken

There is a door that opens and closes directly behind your glove box. If you hear no blower motor difference when switching from regular AC to MAX AC and the air flow from vents is not coming out as hard as it should but you do get cold air this is your problem. to fix it simply remove the bolts around the casing which is the square plastic box behind the glove compartment above the blower motor plastic housing. you will not be able to remove the casing but you will be able to pry it open. Use some needle nose pliers and grab the broken door and pull it out. There is a repair kit but it requires taking the entire dash out and its not worth the time unless you really want to spend 12 hrs just so you can draw outside air. Also if you really would prefer to never get any fresh air and only circulate air already inside the vehicle you can get underneath the hood and remove the cowling and place tape over the-opening from which the vehicle gets fresh air.

(OPTIONAL) PS as a side note, people that do prefer to remove the door instead of repair it also will often use a dremel tool and cut out the lower portion of that box so that they may insert a air filter (this vehicle is one that does not have a cabin filter) so they can get truly clean air. You just have to find one that fits if you want to go this far with it. Not necessary but still good to do if you care about the air quality.

- , Gainesville, TX, USA

problem #6

Mar 312008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

although FORD KNEW OF THIS PROBLEM (THE ACTUATOR CONNECTED TO A FLIMSY PLASTIC TAB ON THE BLEND DOOR. OVER TIME THE TAB BRAKES AND FORD THEN WANTS $2000 TO REPAIR - MOSTLY LABOR TO TAKE THE WHOLE DAMN DASH APART) AND HAD A TSB, THEY REFUSED TO REVEAL THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM TO ME UNTIL AFTER WARRANTY EXPIRED, THEN REFUSED TO FIX IT. SOMBEECHES!

- , League City, TX, USA

problem #5

Dec 012011

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I THINK ITS AWFUL FORD MOTOR COMPANY THATS BUILT ITS WEALTH IN THE UNITED STATES , WOULD PRODUCE AND SELL TO THE PUBLIC WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE A KNOWN ENGINEERING FAULT WITH THE HEAT/AC BLENDER DOOR DESIGN. PLEASE ! AND I ALSO THINK THEY ENJOY THE MONEY GAINS FROM THE EXPENSIVE REPAIRS. IT TRULY PRESENTS REAL HAZARDS TO THE OPERATOR/PASSENGERS BUT YET FORD WILL NOT RECALL THESE VEHICLES. I DO PLAN TO TAKE LYING DOWN AND ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO HAS OR CURRENTLY HAVING THIS PROBLEM TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL BETTER BUSINESS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OR GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION

- , Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #4

Feb 082011

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

First off the blend door actuator went out on my '02 explorer. No big deal bought a new one easy to replace not too bad. A couple of weeks later found that the blend door was stripped too. No big deal either right, I'm pretty car savvy. YEAH RIGHT!! So I buy what I thought to be the part I needed. A buddy and I started to check it out with no luck as to where or how to get at it. After several attempts I figured, well it's almost summer no need to worry right now. I'll do it over the summer. It sat in my garage until now. Yeah, it's winter and it doesn't work. We did figure out how to do it finally after 8 hours of messing with it. Got the door out and guess what TOTALLY FREAKIN DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE I BOUGHT A YEAR AGO! I said no big deal maybe we have the wrong one. Went to every parts house out there they all carry the same repair kit claiming it is for my vehicle. Bull it's too small for the compartment and it wouldn't work anyway with the actuator. So I have no blend door in it now and I guess I will search until I find a solution or I manufacture my own. Yeah this is some total bull $h!t.

- , Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #3

Jun 082010

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

This is lame...Ford should fix this for FREE. Obviously a poor design. Hello!!! Recall…

DO NOT GET A FORD, ESPECIALLY THE EXPLORER.

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 082010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,563 miles

At first the heater was blowing cold air. Then the air and heater quit working. I had to ask my mom to drive my daughter to school so she could ride in a car with heat.

- , Gautier, MS, USA

problem #1

Sep 012008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

blend door breaks on these vehicles, not a question of if, but when.

- , Park Ridge, IL, USA

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