ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
32,000 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

Aug 112017


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a loud abnormal noise and noticed that the sun roof was detached. The vehicle was taken to an unknown independent mechanic who stated that the manufacturer discontinued the part. The dealer was not contacted. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and confirmed that the sun roofs were discontinued. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- James Town, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 012005


  • miles
The consumer would like to know if Ford has issued a recall to their tsb article no. 620978 referencing the sun roof. The consumer stated there is a problem with the sun roof in how it retracts.

- Hicksville, NY, USA

problem #3

Jun 232004

(reported on)


  • miles
Problems with the material on the moon roof. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who indicated that the manufacturer would only cover the problem if the vehicle was within it's warranty 36000 miles/36 months, the vehicle had 45000 miles. The consumer came across a technical service bulletin which explained the type of problem the vehicle was having SB620978.

- Hicksville, NY, USA

problem #2

Dec 122001


  • miles
Sun roof would riddle while driving. Dealer contacted. Feel free to provide any further information.

- New York, NY, 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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