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:
93,354 miles
Total Complaints:
34 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (25 reports)
  2. pony up the cash to have it fixed (3 reports)
  3. spray the locks with wd40 and then slam doors (3 reports)
  4. cover light up with electrical tape as well as ABS light too (2 reports)
  5. replaced all door sensors (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Feb 132008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,010 miles


ONLY WHEN ITS door ajar light goes on. its the most annoying thing ever! Last night it was pouring and when i went out the door ajar light was on. The interior light would not shut off either! I had to shut the lights manually, but that wasn't good because it shut off my speedometer and clock lights. It made the door ajar light seem brighter. I had a diagnostics test done last week and it said all my sensors are working. Im so annoyed by this. I cant drive in the rain or before its rained unless i want to be bothered by the lights on. I know my sensors work because the test said so, and it works fine when its not raining. STUPID RAIN!

- , Medford, MA, US

problem #13

Mar 012008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

problem has happened several times in last month. Spraying door latch with WD40 and slamming the doors seems to fix it so far. I am waiting for the time that this fix will not work.

- , Pleasant Valley, NY, USA

problem #12

Aug 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

Door ajar light stays on and alarm system goes off. Problem comes and goes and is somehow connected to the liftgate, not the window.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #11

Nov 012007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


This is a hit or miss discrepancy. Sometimes it is just the door ajar light, other times it is the light, the chime and the interior (dome) lights come on. The car doesn't have to be on. I have sat outside and watched the interior lights cycle on and off all by themselves. :-(

Sounds like gremlins to me.

- , Yigo, Guam, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #10

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Door ajar light comes on randomly, if driving, the interior lights come on (dangerous if driving at night) and the doors lock and unlock (never sure which they are). If not driving, the alarm goes off. I was told it was a bad door sensor, but the dealership has no way to know which one - $130 to replace each one, so I am still dealing with it - locking the car without the alarm (It was a waste to buy a vehicle with an alarm system). Crack in the panel under the back window could be contributing if water is getting into the lock - but Ford hasn't figured that out yet.

- , Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #9

Aug 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have two 2002 Explorers both with the same problem now. It seems like a door contact/sensor is shorted/loose, etc. The alarm goes off for no reason when the doors are locked. Seems to happen mainly after wet weather. This sucks since I have two small children and it always seems to happen after they are asleep. I have now decided to take everything of value out of the car and leave the doors unlocked at night. Also in the middle of driving the door open chime goes off. Sometimes the dome light comes on, sometimes it doesn't. On one of the trucks, the accessory delay doesn't work anymore, the driver side door lock only works when the door is fully open after removing the key. When the key is in, no problem. Also the dome light stays on so every time you exit the vehicle you must turn off the interior lights but you have to remember to turn them back on for night driving or you will have no interior dash lights. Pain in the ass is a good description!

- , Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #8

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles


This f*ckin piece of sh*t was crap

1 The door sensors would go off even though the doors were closed

2 The tire pressure would go off even though the tiers were fine.

3 the brake light would go off even though both back lights were fine.

4 the lights would stay on even though the doors were closed.

(just to name a few) .. That guy who said ford is F*cked Over Road Disaster was right

- , Trooper, P. A. 1, USA

problem #7

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Electrical is going crazy ie. locking itself while driving, not locking, Door Ajar light on, dome lights always on, no tail lights, no dash lights, keyless entry not working, locks die closed, unresponsive to key fob. So far have spent $390 for new computer gem module, plus $90 to reprogram it to my car, new battery in key fob, ... it's been 4 weeks playing with this, now it's been sitting 4 days in dealership.... don't think they know what's wrong. Ordering a NEW gem module, AGAIN. I'm ready to trade.

- , Redding, CA, US

problem #6

Mar 312007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,233 miles

All doors are closed secure but the dash info light says "door ajar" and the dome light stays on.

- , Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

problem #5

Jul 192006

(reported on)


  • 83,000 miles

ford is very unreliable

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 272006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • 54,000 miles


Like Gary, the door ajar light and alarm started coming on, but only when my car is warm (doesn't happen first thing in the morning). But, the biggest pain was the fact that the locks either won't work or start locking and unlocking on their own. Also, the alarm constantly sounding while driving... in So. Calif. traffic... in the heat... you get the idea. Also, this problem caused my alarm system to get all messed up, not "knowing" what to do and, finally causing it to set off the alarm! Great... gone to my niece's wedding all afternoon/evening, come back to a dead battery! Yippee.

The dealer in my area said that it was the alarm... okay, fine. Fix it. No, can't - came from another dealer, using another alarm system they don't handle. Take it back there and they'll fix it...

Take it over to that dealer - no, have to go down the street (well, at least it was close) and get it fixed...

Drive over to the alarm place and tell the guy the problem. He has it for awhile and comes in to say that it's now disconnected so it won't continue to go off, but it's an electrical problem because the overhead lights and door ajar light/alarm are still going off...

I have an appointment Saturday, so let's see what happens...

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

happens usually in wet weather door ajar light comes on on dash. prevents dome light from shutting off also prevents doors from locking, which is unsafe in night time driving. i have gotten different opinions on what is causing it. some say it is a module, others say rear hatch contacts are getting dirty and blocked. most of the time they can not diagnose problem because it does not happen when they look at it. to replace module and contacts is expensive and that might not be the problem. my sister has a 2003 Explorer XLT with the same issue.

- , Rocky Hill, CT, USA

problem #2

Aug 222006

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • 99,000 miles

This suv has so many lights lit up it looks like a christmas tree. The mechanic says the ABS light, the check engine, and door ajar lights are malfunctioning. My automatic door locks and mirror ajustment quit working too. I hate the fact I bought this vehicle and will gladly by a toyota next time. Don't buy Ford...... PERIOD!!!!

- , Mount Gilead, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 192006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • 68,000 miles

It started small -- the door ajar light would flash, the door open bell would ring and eventually, the doors would lock. Eventually, it went from bad to worse, with it happening all the time, to eventually, the car would not lock even after the engine was shut off -- the car thought a door was still open! The dealer ran diagnostics and said that the computer sensor was bad, as well as a stuck door sensor. The dealer fixed it for us, and charged us a bit over $400 for it ... SIGH

- , Las Vegas, NV, US

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