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:
118,250 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace steering column and gear shift (3 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Apr 142012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,254 miles


on sat i was leaving work my last case of the day and i hopped in my FORD and then i couldn't get out of park and when it finally came out of park i heard a snap. i was like wtf i had it towed to my mechanic shop and he told me to call ford to fine out how much will it b. hell they told me it would be 1700.00 for the WHOLE COLUMN. I SAID OH HELL NAW this is ya'll f... up. so my mechanic got one pulled and its driving again but this is a damn shame. i have two small kids and i cant go through this. it says FORD TOUGH HELL I CANNOT TELL

- sugarsnap, Augusta, GA, US

problem #4

Oct 282011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I am very upset with Ford. We have replaced the steering column twice in our 2002 Explorer Eddie Bauer. The car has 96,000 miles on it. We take very good care of this vehicle. It has never been abused. My mother only drove it to work and the beauty shop. It has been garaged and pampered. The suv steering column has been a nightmare. The second replacement steering column is not like the original. IT is missing the controls for climate, cruise, radio, etc. and it is another COLOR. So when someone asks about it, I am glad to tell them it is the second steering column and never buy a Ford or it will happen to you. The cost to repair the steering column was well into the $1,000 AND IT IS NOT LIKE THE ORIGINAL! IT looks a mess and I cant wait to trade this SUV.

- Tony D., Atlanta, GA, US

problem #3

Mar 252010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles

Just very hard to pull from park to any other gear and to put back in park but to switch from like, reverse to drive and vice cersa-no problems

- Alyssa S., Newark, OH, US

problem #2

May 152010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,750 miles

I am just cant belive it that I have to buy a huge thing to replace a tiny thing this is unfair.

- nasolu2010, Ketchum, ID, US

problem #1

May 042009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

The problem of shifting out of Park was supposed to have been fixed 7 months ago when we paid $1190 for a new steering column. Since October, the problem has just been just as worse. When we took the Explorer to our service dept recently to tell them we were having the same problem getting it out of Park, they looked at it and said that they couldn't fix anything and that we would just have to put on the truck's emergency brake before putting it into Park and then it wouldn't be such a problem getting it out of Park. This is one of many problems we have had with this 2002 Explorer since we bought it. At 278 miles - 4x4 electric shift module replaced $0 warranty; at 24565 miles - pretensioner wiring inoperative $0 warranty; at 30,742 miles - air conditioner compressor burnt up $0 warranty; at 75,253 miles - transfer case assembly $1711 we paid; at 76,413 miles - spark plug coil $223 we paid; at 79,704 miles - rear passenger seatbelt replaced $50 we paid; at 84,459 miles - new steering column $1190 we paid.

- Tracie V., Tahlequah, OK, US

Not what you are looking for?