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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.

3.4

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,653 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Apr 012013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 164,000 miles

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

It has become increasing more difficult to fuel the vehicle. The pump clicks as if the tank is full as soon as the fueling begins and take a long time to fill the tank as you have to continually push the trigger on the gas pump because it keeps shutting as if the tank is full.

- Galloway, NJ, USA

problem #26

Oct 172010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 90,870 miles
I noticed one day that my gas gauge showed empty when I knew I had gas, the next time I started the engine my gas gauge worked. From that day it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. I am afraid that it will give out completely one day and can't afford to fix it. I have read many complaints about this problem and wonder why there is not a recall as I feel Ford should take responsibility here as it is clearly a defect.

- Zim, MN, USA

problem #25

Dec 252010

Explorer

  • 14,995 miles
2002 Ford Explorer at 15000 miles; bought truck used from my brother. He never drove it because he had a company car. Fuel pump went out while driving it home, door ajar light never went out, check engine light came on(should have taken it right back to my brother).$650 to replace fuel pump, $100 to fix door ajar light(fixed myself), $600 to fix check engine light and that problem was different depending on which place checked the error codes. Now the fuel gage is going all over the place and very poor mpg. Was told the sending unit is probable cause. Now this 2002 Explorer still under 20,000 miles. What next!!

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 092009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the fuel gauge reading began to fluctuate erratically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The technicians stated sugar was found in the fuel system. The technicians replaced the fuel pump, cleaned the fuel tank, and replaced the fuel filter. After the repairs, the fuel gauge continued to read empty constantly. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000. Updated 09/20/2011

- Texarkana, TX, USA

problem #23

May 172011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Fueling system/fuel pump failure. This is my second 2002 Ford Explorer and I'm having the same issue. The first Explorer I had I replaced the fuel pump and continued to have the same. Now the current 2002 Explorer I have now is experience the same exact issue. I'm just amazed at how many complaints there are about this problem from other buyers and it still isn't considered a recall. Very frustrated!

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #22

Mar 012006

Explorer

  • miles
Explorer gas will not pump. Clicks every few seconds.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 212011

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 108,000 miles

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

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer, original plugs in it from dealer. Today I had a plug ejected from the engine resting on top of the head. Luckily I know about cars and had vehicle towed to repair shop. Incident is common in Ford and could lead to possible injury, since ejected plug could lead up to excessive gasoline vapors which could be ignited by loose plug causing fire.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #20

Dec 262010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
Accelerator pedal was hard to press, RPM remained high 3000 - 4000. Eventually the car would not stop, accelerator was stuck - go was going 70 mph. Had to strut of engine mechanic replace accelerator cable - noted cable was kinked and frayed - very dangerous and that I should report it.

- Victor, NY, USA

problem #19

Feb 142007

Explorer

  • miles
The fuel gauge, most of the time, does not work.

- Mount Pleasant, MI, USA

problem #18

Aug 302010

Explorer

  • 64 miles
Even with a full tank of gas the gas gauge will go to "0" and the "check gauge" light comes on because the sender assembly unit of the gas gauge does not work. There had been another 2002 Explorer brought in for the same problem that morning. The part is not available and is on back order. The part cost $76.79 but the labor will be $270! this is a lot of money for us to pay due to an Ford engineering problem. Are many other 2002 Explorer experiencing the same problems? many times, because the fuel sending unit is corrupted, it will put too much fuel in injectors, which has caused my car to "bog down" especially dangerous at intersections and at hwy entrance ramps.

- Highland Falls, NY, USA

problem #17

Jun 132010

Explorer

  • 119,000 miles

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

Came home to find stoing gasoline fumes and a stream of gas leaking on the driveway from under the Explorer. Climbed underneath it to find a hose leaking.

- Richmond, KY, USA

problem #16

Sep 152008

Explorer

  • 12,000 miles
1) 2002 Ford Explorer will crank but not start when weather is hot (2) many times at home when weather is hot. Consequences: Unable to use car for a month. (3) Ford dealer ($250) changed fuel idle box. Did not correct problem.(4) Ford now wants to change fuel pump for $1000 mileage is 12000..

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #15

Oct 162008

Explorer

  • 112,085 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed fuel leaking from a hose after refilling the vehicle with fuel. She drove the vehicle to a local repair shop and the mechanic stated that the assembly line connected to the fuel tank was defective. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls. The dealer advised her to bring in the vehicle to be serviced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was 113,000 and failure mileage was 112,085.

- Memphis , TN, USA

problem #14

Aug 192008

Explorer

  • 86,543 miles
My fuel tank light keeps coming on, stating that I need to check my cap. When I check the cap it is on tight and have no idea why the light comes on.. it's not on all the time...

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #13

Oct 152007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Fuel pump failed while driving into my driveway with only 11,000 miles on the car. Cost $ $950 to replace the pump at dealer. This could be dangerous if it occurred while driving on freeway. A few weeks earlier I noticed a one time occurrence when the car didn't want to accelerate while driving at approx. 55 mph but problem corrected itself.

- Placida, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 282008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,435 miles
The fuel system on my Ford Explorer went out completely at 40,000 miles. Also, the black panels between the windows are faded and peeling.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 102008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Where to start... broken cruise control, headlight switch has a short, driver side passenger window doesn't roll down, trouble going into gear, car suddenly dies at interstate speeds, loud grinding sound from the engine bay (like an electric knife sharpener) that is getting increasingly more frequent, service engine soon light will not go off, brakes squeal and don't stop the vehicle properly, support for the hatch (which is cracked 8 inches or so in two places) doesn't lift hatch completely, and the fuel economy is down to 4-6 mpg in the city. I hate it! I don't feel like my girlfriend is safe driving it, and I think Ford should be forced to make their wrongs into rights!

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #10

Jul 012006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • miles
2002 Explorer has problems picking up speed and over use of gas. The consumer also had problems with the transmission, gear adjustment, difficult high altitude driving even after gear change, air suction into the engine and transmission, accelerator and ses light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they refused to provide any assistance. Updated 07/06/06.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On or about November 3, 2005, I purchased a break model used Ford Explorer XLT 2002 from norm reeves Honda car dealer in cerritos, ca. The car had 78,000 miles on it at the time of purchase. I signed the papers and took the possession of the car. It has not been more than 2 months that the car started giving me trouble on the pick up of the speed, transmission, gear adjustment, over use of the gas, difficult high altitude driving even after change of gears, air suction into the engine and transmission, accelerator and signs like service engine soon on the front panel, although I have been getting regular lube and tune on the car after every 3000 miles. While driving the, occasionally, the car gives a thundering noise on the tires as if it is dragging itself and running on the road. This makes me fear that my car is not safe for me to drive! the norm reeves Honda super store car dealer knew that the car is defective and they simply wanted to get rid of a used 2002 Ford Explorer XLT vehicle from the fleet as they primarily sell Honda cars and similar vehicles. Despite repeated requests, the norm reeves Honda super store and their sister company Ford of cerritos refused to provide service on the car since I stopped payments on the car loan. Other Ford car dealers have test driven this car and observed the same defects as I have mentioned. My purpose of writing this complaint with the NHTSA is to request the intervention of NHTSA immediately as the questioned vehicle is likely to endanger my life on the local roads and/or on highway/freeways. Due to major defects in the car, I can meet with a serious accident and can be crippled or suffer such pecuniary losses that are irreplaceable and/or I can die also with out any fault of mine. Please recall Firestone tires V. Ford Motor Company case law. Criminal charges against norm reeves Honda, Ford of cerritos and their ceos to follow. Please contact me and the dealers asap. Respectfully submitted, amardeep singh gill.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 202005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,500 miles
After a short drive to and from the gas station I noticed a strong fuel smell from our 2002 Ford Explorer. Noticed wet spot on the diveway the following day. A short 6 drive consumed nearly a quarter tank of gas. No action has been taken as of yet. Have not driven the car since. Are any other reports of such failures" is it safe to drive the car"

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

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