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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,670 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Sep 172012


  • miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that he attempted to engage the heater however, the vehicle exhibited an abnormal noise and the heater would not engage. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact that the heater box needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #4

Oct 102010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 99,350 miles
Heater failed causing windows to "fog" over and decreased ability to see out windshield.

- Millerton, PA, USA

problem #3

Jan 032010


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the blend door which regulates the heat and the defrost systems has failed. The dealer replaced the actuator motor that controls the blend door. The contact was responsible for paying $650 to repair the vehicle. There were no recalls or warranties related to the failure. The failure mileage was $64,000.

- Dedham, MA, USA

problem #2

Aug 162002


  • miles
Defroster does not work and is causing front windshield to fog up during cold weather, and it will be hard for consumer to see. Dealer notified.

- Monroe, CT, USA

problem #1

Jun 272002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Drivers side saftey belt has broken too, air vent has broken too, sunroof design problem too, fuel pump failed at 14000 mi too

- Arvada, CO, USA

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