Print this page 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
88,350 miles
Total Complaints:
26 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (20 reports)
  2. replace condenser (4 reports)
  3. dealer replaced vehicle (1 reports)
  4. fixed by mechanic (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Jul 152015

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


120 degrees outside the truck and the Air Conditioner did not work. The mechanic fixed the problem.

- Ray C., Jurupa Valley, CA, US

problem #25

Oct 082014

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

AC just stopped working. Living in the VI, it is always warm to hot weather and opening the windows just gives you a hot breeze.

- mheywood, Christiansted, Virgin Islands, US

problem #24

Jun 102009

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

2 months after I bought the car, the AC went out. It was blowing, but it was not cold. I went to get it fixed and it ended up costing me about $900. They said that there was a leak in the line and they had to take everything out to replace the line. A few months later the water pump went out. I had that replaced as well, but I got a really good deal, so no biggy. A few months later the AC went out again....Same problem, leak in the line. I have been almost 2 years without an AC and I have to get it fixed because I am moving this summer. There is no way that I should've had to fix this problem twice in the 3 years that I have owned it... Ridiculous!

- Caitlin W., Amarillo, TX, US

problem #23

May 012012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


My a/c had a slow leak last year but not too bad. This year it will need proper repair. Not sure what the cost yet but other problems are eating away at my pocket book.

I'm proud of my 2000 F-150 with 248,000K miles and still going strong but this '02 Explorer is horrible. What Ford needs to do is quit hiring Chevy flunky designers and pay their existing employees what they deserve. What was that saying? " Quality Is Job 1"? Pay should be too!!

- ford falcon, Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #22

Jun 302006

Explorer XLS Sohc 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,047 miles

Of course the A/C stops working in the middle of summer and after the factory warranty. I take car to Ford dealer and they tell me I need a new AC condenser and I am out of $651.29. This is the beginning of my cash going down the drain, with this Ford.

- Ruben R., Chula Vista, CA, US

problem #21

Aug 192006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,845 miles

Every time I turn around this car is into my wallet.

- rancallc, Dallas, TX, US

problem #20

Mar 012012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles


first the mechanic told me i need a compressor -had it put on. still did not get cold .then i put a condenser. i know of many people who have older cars than me and their air condition still works. whats up with ford explorers.

- Kenneth M., Losangeles, CA, US

problem #19

Feb 032012

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I own my 2002 Explorer since 2004, the A/C stopped working again. wtf??? I took it to ford last year and they said it needed ac gas, next summer same crap, I'm so scared to really find out whats the real problem. Last time paid to get fixed not for a short time deal. This truck has been a nightmare. I have fixed the tranny, electrical problems, all Bearing hubs (every year), just when I think nothing could go wrong something always happens. I'm tired, tired of this issue. Is does not even makes selling it because is worth nothing. Ughh!!!!

- Christian F., Bethlehem, PA, US

problem #18

May 022002

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles

Took the car off the lot brand spanking new. Tried the AC after driving the car about 10 miles, and found that it did not work. Returned the car first time, and they refilled the refridgerant, and said that it was not properly filled at the factory.

About 3 weeks later (on a trip of course) the same thing happened. We returned the car, they researched the issue, and after it being in the shop for a few days, Ford dealer said that they did not refill it properly when it was returned the first time. Now, I'm thinking, these guys have NO IDEA. I told them that I wes not comfortable with their resolution, and that if they had to remove the dash for any reason, I would return the car.

About 3 weeks later, same thing, I eturned the car for repair. They said it was probably a leaky condenser, but that they would have an expert flown from Detroit to check the entire system. I'm now thinking, these guys are really not good mechanics and even worse business people. The car was in the shop for nearly 10 days. Still no resolution. At this point, I began researching the lemon law.

About 3 weeks later, same issue. I then told the dealer that I wanted the vehicle replaced. They said No. I then told them, I was working the lemon law, and showd them all of the paperwork that I had completed, and information from legal. Eventually, they replaced the car.

Should have been an omen. Replaced the trannie around 60K mi, and now delaing with the tensioner issue at 101K miles. WIll never buy a Ford again. My Jeep at 220K miles has never had a problem... except some minor issues.

- tkostan, Manhattan Beach, CA, US

problem #17

Jun 062011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

There's a hole in the system somewhere and they told me it would be ~ $1000 to fix. Geez

- damons, sugar grove, IL, US

problem #16

May 012010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles


Ac not working, Body paint bubbling and peeling on left front fender, transmission just started slipping!!!!

- macomber, Lakeville, MA, US

problem #15

Jun 012006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Not sure why a condensor is so pricey to replace... Not really happy to live in Ca with no A/C

- bretticus9, San Diego, CA, US

problem #14

Jun 102010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

AC on the vehicle shut down. The dealership couldn't explain why, and suggested that it could cost between $500 and $1500 to fix. A local mechanic said to expect $700-$1000, because the problem can't be identified. Expect to have to replace the unit.

- angryexpowner, Charlotte, NC, US

problem #13

Aug 082002

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I own 2, 2002 Ford Explorers. Mine has the front and back air vents. I have had the compressor and air hose replaced. It does not cool very well when it idles. Have to keep moving to keep it cool. The other one, only has front air vents, and works perfectly! What's wrong with that picture???

- dawnr, Columbia, SC, US

problem #12

May 312010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,100 miles

We got a brand new car- first hand (2002 Ford Explorer) in December 2001. About 2 years after we got it, the A/C heater wasn't working anymore and over the years we go to the dealership for repair but then couple days, weeks after the repair, it goes back to where we started. Until now, its getting annoying because my daughter needs to search for universities and road trips are hotter than ever.

- mjose, la Puente, CA, US

problem #11

Aug 222007

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Ford the summer was awful driving around in my car because my A/C has a leak in it. Im very unsatisfied with the Explorers A/C. You need to fix this. Awesome job Ford..NOT!

- Tyler L., Long Beach, CA, US

problem #10

Apr 302009

Explorer XLT 55,000

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

The blower blows hot air in the summertime and almost no hot air when in the heat mode on the driver's side in winter. So no heat in winter and no A/C in summer, Delightful combination. Not Ford's problem, please just pay and don't complain is their motto. Problem is this is a really nice riding, comfortable car, but with many, many expensive repair problems. Won't buy another FIX OR REPAIR DAILY...FORD.

- Lynn R., Aquebogue, NY, US

problem #9

May 212008

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,325 miles

the car is falling apart on me and i have two years to pay still

- mrlennymoore, Pottstown, PA, US

problem #8

May 222008

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,325 miles

It's a real pain in the ass when it's hot out and you have no air with leather seats so i'm f*cking pissed off at ford for all the problems i'm having right now

- mrlennymoore, Pottstown, PA, US

problem #7

Jun 012008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The A/C stopped working on the Explorer just before the start of our hot / humid summer here in Michigan. We had the A/C re-charged to no avail. Mechanic estimated up to $1000 to remove the dash as the vents no longer work properly either. Shortly after the A/C stopped working the transmission went out. $3000 to fix the transmission. This vehicle is, by far, the worst vehicle we have owned. Seriously considering a Honda Ridgeline for our next truck.

- C H., Grandville, MI, US

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