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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.

8.6

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$10,000.00
Average Mileage:
72,490 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. disable cruise control, and have ECU checked (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Jan 022013

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

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

My accelerator sticks at approx. 2,000 rpms, about 43 mph. It don't come down until I come to a complete stop and it really bangs the rear end! Mechanic has replaced fuel pump, fuel filter, IAC, spark plugs and wires, air filter, pvc valve, and spent countless hours trying to figure it out!

I bought this Explorer in January 2013 and it didn't have a problem when I test drove it. After about a week it started acting up intermittently!

- , Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #6

Apr 012010

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I have been having problems with this vehicle for the last year. Several different mechanic and even the local Ford dealer says there is no problem with this vehicle. But every few months while I'm driving it the Explorer accelerates out of control when I apply the brakes. Someone please help before I'm killed or someone else is!

- , Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,430 miles

click to see larger images

accelerates when applying brakes accelerates when applying brakes

Of Course Ford worldwide are saying that there is nothing wrong with my car and other explorers, or that no one else in the world has had issues with the car taking off on its own, or the cruise control to fail to disengage. Apparently Ford vehicles are perfect. After my car spent 3 weeks with the Police who only did mechanical checks, they disabled the batterey, so now, all fault codes may be lost on the cars computer. Ive been told the cruise module ''appears'' to be working properly, but the police didnt have the equipment to check the computer, professors and engineering experts are telling me to have the ECU checked. I spent 30mins in the car with police escorts down the freeway and the only way i got it to stop was driving it into a median strip, losing speed, and using very little footbrake power i had along with the handbrake at the same time. The discs are damaged, the left shoe of the handbrake snapped and the car is being checked for other damages also. Again Ford are trying to blame the driver and say its impossible. Well the police and myself know its very possible because it happened.

- , Melbourne, VIC, Australia

problem #4

Mar 022009

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

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

I love my explorer but I'm starting to have issues. My check engine light came on and now it idles funny and shakes a little it also accelerates when braked. I was sitting at a light and all of a sudden I'm accelerating with the brake pedal all the way to the floor and getting way to close to the car in front of me. I changed the iac valve and my light went off for about 2 hours and then came back on and started running sh*tty again. I have no idea what to do to stop this from happening.

- , Beachwood, NJ, USA

problem #3

Dec 302006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I was parking my Explorer in front of store (Subway), and was applying the brake. Suddenly the car accelerated, and I was unable to stop it. I went through the front of the store and hit two people before stopping against the back wall. There where no barriers at the front of the parking space, it was about 2PM, clear weather, about 50 deg.

My car is now in the shop, I got a ticket for reckless driving, and I will be sued by the people. PLEASE tell me who to contact, if this is a known 2002 explorer problem. I will inform my lawyer about others having this problem. I WAS NEVER TOLD OF THIS PROBLEM, I ALMOST KILLED TWO PEOPLE !!! Car has about 38,000 miles, small V8. ALSO the airbags DIDN'T deploy at all !!!

- , Murphysboro, ILL, USA

problem #2

Dec 042006

(reported on)

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

AFTER DRIVING A SHORT TIME IN COLD WEATHER WAS TRYING TO PARK. AS THE BRAKE WAS DEPRESSED THE EXPLORER ACCELERATED AND WAS UNABLE TO STOP UNTIL EXPLORER HIT A BUILDING. IF ANYONE HAS HAD THE SAME PROBLEM OF SUDDEN ACCELERATION WHEN STEPPING ON BRAKE AND HAD THIS PROBLEM FIXED COULD YOU PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. MY DAUGHTER DRIVES THIS EXPLORER AND I CANT LET HER DRIVE IT UNTIL I HAVE IT FIXED.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #1

Feb 102005

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • 24,000 miles

This has been a wonderful vehicle! It is equiped with automatic 4-wheel drive as well as full 4-wheel drive with high & low transfer case, 5-speed automatic, 4.6L V8 with double overhead cams, limited slip rear differential, towing package, leather seats, etc. However, this problem has the potential of causing harm or even death to its passengers and/or those in other cars and especially pedestrians. The problem has been extremely intermittant such that the technicians cannot experience it themselves. It usually happens on a cold day. The first time it did it, I was pulling a small trailer and I had driven a couple of miles to a plant nursery And on the way back as I neared my house, I drove down a long grade toward a stop sign. When I began to apply the brakes, the engine accelerated with such force that the transmission downshifted so that I had to stand on the brakes with both feet to keep from running clean across the road into a tree. It happened 2 more times that day. I then had it towed to the dealer and they replaced the idle valve. However, that did NOT fix the problem. It has happened several times sense. It has happened while travelling up a hill, down a hill, and on level ground. But it always happens when you apply the brakes. The last time it happened, it threw me out into a busy intersection but fortunately I was not hit. The time before that it tried to run over the little car in front of me but I was still able to stop it. I'm thinking about naming this suv Christine.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

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