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:
119,450 miles
Total Complaints:
11 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. replace gears behind the dash (3 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #11

Sep 262015

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles


When turn on the heat, all it does is blow cold air. Even if it rains or just being cold, the heat does not warm up the truck at all. Do not know how to check this issues!

- Belinda H., Waterbury, CT, US

problem #10

Dec 142012

Explorer Eddie Buar 5.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Paid 7,000 bucks for this junk . It was a used pile of sh*t but still paying on it warrenty was for 3mo or 4000 miles right as it exspired all kinds of trouble started, now stuck with a peice of junk for the next 34 months

- Steve W., Coalport, PA, US

problem #9

Sep 012008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Going skiing in the mountains has been difficult since the heater failed. The defrost doesn't work either now.

- bretticus9, San Diego, CA, US

problem #8

Apr 112011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


After having an issue with my window going down and not going back up four times I now have no heat!!! It will blow cold air, but when you turn it to the heat it blows cold air and makes a clicking noise!! I bought this vehicle in September of 2010 for $6,000 and since have put over $2,000 into it!!! I WILL NEVER PURCHASE A FORD AGAIN! I SHOULD HAE KEPT MY JEEP! And the worse part is that I wanted to purchase a FORD TAURUS X

- Julie T., Altoona, PA, US

problem #7

Sep 012008

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

I can't believe after what happened with Toyota that Ford STILL hasn't recalled this whole damn vehicle yet!!! The rear window STILL won't stay up and we have no heat or a/c. We have 2 kids and another baby on the way. Granted this may not be a major safety issue like the breaks failing out of nowhere, or how the bearings give no notice before you lose all your studs driving down the road, or when the plastic panel underneath the rear window just flew off going down the highway..., but it certainly is one of the most inconvenient of the MANY issues we've had with this thing in the 4 years we've had it!!! To think Ive always been the Ford person in our family, wow are they having fun with that now!!! Stupid POS!!

- onwingsofdragons, Severna Park, MD, US

problem #6

Nov 162009

Explorer XLT 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,460 miles

It was in the middle of winter and I had no heat, it was blowing cold air from the air conditioning. I had frost build up on the inside of the window and had to bundle up with blankets and gloves and hats just to keep warm. The motor fan was stuck and would not click over had to replace it for 400.00 from a friend the dealer wanted 800.00. Thanks for nothing!!!!!

- tpasierb, Blue Island, IL, US

problem #5

Nov 092009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles


This was absolutely horrible. It was cold the night it happened. I reached up, turned on the heater, and it was freezing ass cold air.. Well once again my hubby saved me but I contacted the Ford dealership and they informed me I have to remove my ENTIRE DASH Steering column and maybe even the windshield, yes I said the windshield.. Wow my hubby was mad so he started tearing into it and 3 weeks and a $75.00 plastic box with some plastic gears in it later I got my truck back.. Very Very BIG PAIN in the Butt..

- Brandi M., Mendon, Ohio / USA, US

problem #4

Jan 052010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles

Since we paid off our 2002 Ford Explorer weve had nothing but problems....The door ajar/ABS/ and engine lights have been on the last yr with nothing found wrong,the passenger window and back window motors broke, the heater quit blowing heat and now this MAJOR PROBLEM with our (PLASTIC TIMING CHAIN/TENSIONERS). THANK-YOU FORD FOR THIS EXCEPTIONAL PLASTIC PARTED ENGINE U BUILT.....IT is the dead of winter and as expected we kept up to the end of our bargan by paying off our explorer to only find out in these terrible economic times that Ford built us a top of the line engine for our Explorer....There has to be something us consumers can do about this LEMON of a explorer they conned us into purchasing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- kimmer9698, Parma, MI, US

problem #3

Jun 012009

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My Explorer sucks. My wife and I only have one vehicle and lucky us, it the ford explorer. My car will not switch from a/c to heat because some dumb ass flap is stuck. Worse yet this dumb ass flap will cost me over $800.00 just so my family can have heat. Thinks ford for making the worst vehicle on here. My advice is stay away from the Explorer - have had two now & the newer ones are no better than the older ones. After 100,000 miles plan on spending over $2,000 a year for repairs. Next repair will be my Transmission yea me. The worst part is I cant even get a new car because nobody will take this car as trade. PLEASE DON'T BUY this car and if you have one sell it.

- Tim S., Bay City, MI, US

problem #2

Jun 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

i have had nothing but problems with this veh. i bought it new and it's been the biggest peice of sh*t that i've ever owned. i'll try ford one more time the next time i buy and if it's crap too i'll try another company!

- drewoh, Lagrange, OH, US

problem #1

Jan 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My 2002 ford explorer blows only cold air when selecting hot. The temp gage reads normal, the heater hoses are both hot. It appears the blending door in't opening;

- Todd H., Dover, DE, US

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