Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,482 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #11

Feb 292008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Rear passenger side door locks work intermittently. Doors will not unlock with either the front door lock/unlock buttons or the wireless key.

- Green Cove Springs, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 152006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My family and I went to my family members house and after putting the vehicle in park and unlocking the doors my daughter's door (rear passenger) would not unlock nor open for the inside or outside, by switch nor manually. For my daughter to exit the vehicle she had to climb in the front seat to exit the vehicle, we have a baby that rides in a car seat so she couldn't exit on the driver passenger side. I've discovered that the only way to fix this is take the panel off and take the one screw off that holds the handle mechanism and pull it a few times to finally release the latch. I just read about a Ford recall on faulty latches. The only difference in this recall and my latch issue is my latch will not return to an open state. I feel that my issue is related in the same context, and feel that there is a safety issue because if something happen my daughter could not get out of the vehicle.

- Humboldt, TN, USA

problem #9

Apr 022003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLS that was purchased new. Approximately 1 year after purchase started developing a crack on the panel beneath the rear window. Since then, when it is hot, I get a door open warning light. No door is opened, but the doors refuse to lock, and the warning light stays on. I believe water enters the panel beneath the window due to the crack. I had it looked at by dealers for the warning light-they cannot figure it out.

- Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #8

Feb 012006


  • miles


Each winter since purchasing my 2002 Ford Explorer there have been days when the door would not latch shut and I was forced to wait for the mechanism to thaw or use one hand to keep the door from flying open as I drove. After thawing out the door would latch and I could continue safely. I always thought that this was a problem isolated to my vehicle though after hearing of the recent recall I am certain this is another in a long list of defects I have experienced. In fact on July 30, 2005 West herr Ford of hamburg, NY had to replace both front door lock actuators because the drivers side door would not lock and the passenger side would not open from the outside. I now wonder if the constant freeze / thaw cycle of the water that obviously leaks into the door caused this damage.

- Warren, PA, USA

problem #7

Jan 082006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
The front driver side door will not latch when the outside temp is below freezing. I had to warm the truck up for 10 minutes to heat up so the door would close correctly. This is a safety hazard and I think the door latch should be recalled because if the door does not latch correctly someone can be seriously injured.

- Whitman, MA, USA

problem #6

Jan 262006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
: the contact stated the air bag light intermittently illuminates. The vehicle was seen by a dealer. The service department determined both front seat belts needed to be replaced due to the integrated air bag/seat belt system. The entire front seat belts were replaced accordingly but the air bag light later illuminated. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer. The service department suggested replacing the seat belts again. Updated 3/3/2006 - the consumer has also had to replace the rear washer motor, odometer and has had problems with the automatic door locks.

- Cheshire, CT, USA

problem #5

Jan 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles


Drivers side door will not latch or latches poorly during cold weather after opened. Door has swung open while being driven. Has been to the dealer 4 times with no remedy. Dealer has "adjusted door and lubed lock". dealer offered to replace latch and cable but did not think that would fix the problem.

- Methuen, MA, USA

problem #4

Jan 142005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,300 miles
Door locks freeze at temp. Below 30 deg. F. this occurs on both front doors. This prevents the latch from closing completely. The passenger door has opened when the truck made a rt. Hand turn. This has been an onging issue. The truck was taken in last year for this issue. The door striker was adjuseted, . the dealer will not cover this under warrenty because it is no longer covered.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #3

Sep 272004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer experienced problems with the rear upper window locking and unlocking for no reason while driving. Consumer has four children and was scare D something will happen to the children. Vehicle was inspected at two different dealership 4 times, and could not duplicate or correct the problem.

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 262004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
October 2001, I purchased a new 2002 Ford Explorer from don reid Ford maitland, Florida. I experienced one problem after the other with my windows and doors. First, the back half door came open and refused to close. The dealer repaired it. Next, the replacement refused to work; the dealer ordered the part and repaired it. Next, the entire back window, crashed to the ground. I placed the dragging part in the back of my truck and stopped at greenway Ford. Greenway refused the repair and sent me where I purchased it. Don reid kept the truck a few days and repaired it. Next, screws on the passenger side door came out, that door wouldn't close. Fed up with repeated trips to don reid I had my husband fix it, the door came loose again. I'm at the limit on what I'll endure from a vehicle I'm paying nearly $500/mo for. It's not worth the pain I am experiencing. I almost died on August 26, 5:30 to 6:00 pm, when the locked driver's door suddenly swung open and closed on my arm. I was leaning on the armrest. The seat belt kept me from being thrown. I nearly ran off the road. My arm hurt and started to swell. The door refused to latch. I held the heavy door shut with my swollen arm and controled the truck with the other. I crawled 35 minutes to orlando. My hand was numb and I was scared to death. I pulled over to rest my numb arm. I pulled into winn dixie's parking lot and a customer, reversed into the back of my truck, adding to it's damages. Still holding the door, I made it home. Don reid, whom I had previously called, had closed. My arm hurts more than it did yesterday. Fortunately, some of the swelling went down. My adjuster asked me to keep the truck. He's making towing arrangements. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow for stronger meds. As a graduate I cannot afford time off. The door cannot close or lock. My husband has to leave work early to collect our daughters from school. Enough is enough!

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 022002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Door handles keep braking/drs will not open/ own 2 of same have gone through 5 handles on each truck / Ford was no help/ in an emergency the doors could fail to open/ dealer said they're stocking cases of handles to replace w/same defective parts/ my 3 year old son tried to open the door, and it broke / he could not apply much force.

- Cruz Bay, VI, USA

Not what you are looking for?