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:
101,377 miles
Total Complaints:
34 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (31 reports)
  2. disable alarm (2 reports)
  3. replace security module (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Jan 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


How do I fix this error? Also my door locks go on and off, the lights inside flicker and the car alarm goes off randomly.

- , Kalispell, MT, USA

problem #13

Jul 012008

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

All of a sudden, my car alarm would go off, horn honking, lights flashing..and the car would lock me out. Not even the KEY would open the doors. I was moving the morning it started. I could not drive my own car and I was moving!!!!! It would go off late at night and wake up the neighbors. I had to drive it away until it would stop (about 3 minutes each time) It would do it on the freeway and that is dangerous. People thought I was crazy. Ford had to order the module, and said there was no way to disconnect anything to stop it....seriously? So I lived that way for 3 days. I work at a hospital and my car would go crazy and bother the patients. THANKS FORD!

- , Summerville, SC, US

problem #12

Jan 042010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Answer: Ok, if the OEM alarm is malfunctioning now, (car horn blarring and head lights flashing) odds are, it will again. Get out some basic install tools or get a friend or a good technician in there to do this. Normally, you would insert the key in the drivers door, turn left, then right to disarm and reset it. If yours is malfunctioning, you can disable it for good by doing the following:

The FACTORY ALARM DISARM WIRE IS dk. green/purple |- | in the drivers door harness. |- negative polarity|. Once Located, splice into this wire with a simular gauge wire, and put it to a solid chassis ground. This terminates the OEM alarm functions entirely. However, at this point, this car would be exceedingly easy to steel, so I suggest you get an aftermarket alarm system to protect it from here on in.

If you have already have an after market alarm however:

(SIREN & FLASHING PARKING LIGHTS= AFTER MARKET or is it: CAR HORN & FLASHING HEADLIGHTS= OEM-FACTORY) Then look for the over ride/valet button under the dash area, probably to the left leg region, drilled into the plastic kick panel. Then it's: KEY ON, PRESS AND HOLD IN BUTTON FIRMLY UNTIL THE SIREN CHIRPS ONCE, AND THE PARKING LIGHTS FLASH. THEN KEY OFF. This is over ride, and the car should start. The only thing that would work would be keyless entry if it is installed. The alarm functions have been suspended.

Let me know which applied to your issue. Good luck.


- , Feasterville, PA, USA

problem #11

Dec 102009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


Well this is my last and final straw with this 2002 Explorer and also my last Ford I will ever purchase. Why? Well I could go on with the list (including the crack in the hatch) but that would not be proper. Like most everyone else, it first started with the horn blowing at night and waking up me and the neighborhood. I ran out to think that someone was breaking into the car, but not, that was not happening. I ignored it and then it happened more and more frequently. Now it goes off about twice an hour and I have to unplug the battery to get some sleep. While driving, the lights will come on, and if at night, I am being put (and others) at risk as I can't see while driving.

I mean this is a serious problem folks! One that might require legal action one day. I can't drive my SUV anymore at night. I tried the WD 40 suggestion, but it made it worse, so it does appear to be in the driver door. I am just tired of this and the other weird things this car is doing.. I am moving to an SRX this week. I rather pay more for quality!

- , Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 082005

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

One night the alarm kept going off. I watched to make sure no one was around it trying to break in, and it just kept going off by itself

- , Poland, OH, USA

problem #9

Oct 172009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Vin E

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

Forth time in about six months my alarm has sounded for no mechanical reason. Each time it's been parked in my drive, always between 12PM and 6AM, is quietened with fob and with no signs from outside influences. Random indications that there is a problem have been 'door ajar' light on when all are definitely closed, dome light lights after alarm sounds, an occasional 'clicking' sound like door locks are locking or unlocking, and an occasional beep/tone from an undetectable source shortly after moving the vehicle. Have sprayed and repeatedly worked all door and hatch latches and lock assemblies with WD40 (twice) and manually disabled the automatic door lock feature using the keyless pad method several weeks ago. Just replaced the front two hub bearing assemblies and upper ball joints several days ago but the only electrical connectors involved were the two new speed sensors reconnected. thinking back, sometime prior to the first alarm incident I replaced the rear hatch window struts and had to remove the rear panel and electrical connectors to get to them. Am wondering if the alarm is somehow connected to interruptions in the electrical circuit.

- , Hendersonville, TN, US

problem #8

Sep 302009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6. Today at school, I locked my car with the fob and the interior lights stayed on implying that a door was ajar. After spending minutes slamming every door over and over again, the light wouldn't turn off so I just started to walk away. I was about 30 yards from the SUV when the alarm started going off. I disabled it, spent some time unsuccessfully trying to figure out what the problem was, and eventually gave up and went to class late. I was really worried that the battery would die from the alarm being on all day, so I used my moms car. With the Explorer sitting in the drive way and no one in sight, the alarm went off several times within a matter of 3 hours. No one is attempting to break into it, and it will go off at the most random times. Has anyone experienced this or have a cure for the problem? I'm scared to take it to Ford because my warranty has expired and of course any dealer will tell me that there are multiple problems. Any help?

- , Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #7

Sep 282008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

This began last week. The door ajar light comes on randomly, and the alarm sounds off randomly. Disconnected the battery for the night, but I know this is not the fix.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #6

Jun 022008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Amazing, we get a FINAL NOTICE that our manufactures warranty is about to expire and the damn truck alarm has not shut off since. Every 10 minutes the gd thing is going off in the middle of the night. The neighbors just love my ass. Even when the alarm is not set, the damn thing keeps going off. The thing has so many electrical problems now, I am beginning to think it's a Dodge.

- , Naples, FL, US

problem #5

Jan 102008

Explorer Limited 4.0lV8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

We have a small gap in the rear tail gate panel, but I don't think that has anything to do with door ajar light and the alarm going off randomly. the door ajar came first then the alarm. Real pain in the ass. Help!!

- , Hemphill, TX, USA

problem #4

Feb 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


It is so annoying, If it is not one thing it's the other. It is especially embarrassing when so says on I know what the problem is. Only to point at the ford emblem.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 272008

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,876 miles

To say the least, this problem pisses me off on SO many levels... A REAL PAIN IN THE ASS!! I've seen 12 other complaints here, I suffer from all of them. (Except the alarm going off while driving... thats really horrible) But my alarm goes off ALL THE TIME, all by itself, at the worst times possible. It started off as just the door ajar light, which also covers the screen that shows mileage, but it never went away, so you could not see your mileage, compass, or any other info that little screen tells you.

But then the alarm crap began about 1000 miles ago, the door ajar has been there for over 7000 miles... I took it to ford, they said $70 to scan it. Next day, they charged $50 to "Oil the door sensors". Everything was fine for all of 3 days... A quiet 3 days I must say. But now again it beeps away, most of the time within 3-5 hours of turning it off. I've read here $160 to replace each sensor... ridiculous, I'll be searching for another solution, If i figure something out, I'll let ya'll know...

God luck with your Fords...

This will be my last

- , Angleton, TX, USA

problem #2

Nov 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,545 miles

the panic button goes on and off randomly by itself.

- , Panama, Panama, Panama

problem #1

Sep 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The panic alarm goes off randomly, but is mostly noticed during the middle of the night when it awakens me from a sound sleep. I first thought someone was trying to break in, but the next day I tried to force the alarm to go off, but couldn't! The only way to make the alarm go off is to push the panic alarm on the remote. So, I thought maybe the remotes needed new batteries, so I replaced both. It still goes off! So, then I removed both batteries. Still does it. I cringe at the thought of dealing with the dealer, since this vehicle has spent more time at the dealer than I would like to admit, mostly returned to me with unresolved problems. I think it's trade-in time with this one being the last straw.

- , Spring Hill, FL, USA

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