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:
93,240 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace blend door actuator motor (5 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Jul 032010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


The vent flapper that controls either cold or hot air went bad. If you set the temp warm (between hot and cold), this flapping sound occurs and you do not get the air temp you want. The only way I could stop this flapping is either to set it on hot or cold then turn the fan on high. The fan seemed to force the flap in the right position. This problem occurs in both heat and air condition mode. My Ford dealer diagnosed the problem and said a new motor in the unit is needed. Cost to be around $329.53 No, I did not get it fixed and after $6000 of repairs to my Explorer (over the 6 years), I finally traded it in.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #4

Mar 302010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,200 miles

Common problem on ALL explorers, FORD should be ashamed...Not only did we ALL have to deal with rear end problems and engine knocks now THIS !!!!! They may not stop, but TOYOTA is the way to go for my next vehicle....THANKS FORD!!!

PS until now I was a true blue ford man

- , Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

I just paid 6,300 for a new engine at 86,000 miles and now we have no heat. After what I have read it is a blend door problem and the clicking sound is coming from the actuator motor having a gear stripped. To make it all even suck more the transmission is clunking when is changes gears. We are upside down on the loan and feel completely stuck. Ford sucks.

- , Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #2

Jan 012009

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

this idea was not one of fords better ideas. to put these junk actuator doors in the explorer.

- , New Waterford, OH, US

problem #1

Oct 152007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

A lovely clicking, thumping sound started to happen whenever I tried to turn the heater on. The problem besides the noise? No heat. Took to a different dealership than the one I bought it from and they quoted over $800 to fix the problem. The best part? The part that was broken-costs $68.00. Fast forward. Mid January. I have a small dashboard defroster that tried very hard to thaw my windshield. 45 minutes after starting the car and scraping the INSIDE of my windshield, I could attempt to drive. I wore a snow suit everywhere I went and covered myself in a blanket. The dealership had told me that they would have to remove my whole dashboard to fix the problem. After freezing my bodyparts off, I decided to fix it myself. I took everything I could off the dashboard because that's what the dealer said they had to do. But no. Just under the steering wheel, if you pull out part of the panel, you can reach the part just fine. So, 3 months of freezing, one blend door actuator motor, 8 wasted hours and $68.00 later- I had heat. Thanks Ford. You're great.

- , Clarence Center, NY, USA

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