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:
103,788 miles
Total Complaints:
52 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (33 reports)
  2. wd-40 spray door lock mechanism@door jam,open & close door`s (7 reports)
  3. replace all door sensors (4 reports)
  4. bypass the switch and save you some money! (3 reports)
  5. beat it with a sledge hammer (2 reports)
  6. replace the gem module (2 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Oct 252010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles


Electrical gremlins started on My explorer 3 or 4 years ago. At first it was only the radio that was possessed. It turned on & off on its on. It changed radio stations, spit out cds changed fade and balance front & back,and Left to right, and about a year ago my cd player quit working altogether, but then it started telling me what station & song I'm listening to. I have had the SUV since 2005 and had never seen it do that. Then this past fall the door ajar started flashing. At first I blamed it on that a deer hit my driver side door & shop replaced with another used door. I had door adjusted and sprayed it worked short term. Then about a month a go it has become more frequent and I thought it happened more on extreme weather changed but it happens anytime all the time now. I check each door. when I leave the driveway used to be the worst. Now it seems in the middle of my 1 hour commute. It is annoying. To add insult to injury about two weeks ago. My car alarm started going of between 12:30 am & 5:30 am. My neighbors. love this. Now this week it goes off several times a day while I teach at school where I can visually see the car from classroom window. It even went off during Easter church service. I had battery replaced and door sprayed and 2 latches replace. problem still exists. The current mileage is 150,000. I have had many cars in my driving life time. I have had the best luck with fords. Dodges always were cold and noisy, Kia was the worse lemon. I bought it new only had it a year and was at the shop bimonthly and could have killed me in roll over during rainstorm and it refused to go up hill in 2 in. of snow. I lost $6000 and traded for this explorer. I had a 2004 taurus i bought and had very few minor problems I finally laid it to rest with 250,000 miles on it. Truth be told I could have put a new transmission in it and still be driving it.

- , Nokomis, IL, USA

problem #31

Jul 202009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

The door ajar alert started a little over a year ago. I first I thought it was because the door was not closed correctly, but then I noticed it happened more often when I had the driver and passenger window open. I would close them and it would stop. Then it started to get worse as months go by. Californina streets and roads have many potholes, speed bumps, stop and go traffic and so forth. It goes off all the time within the last couple of months. Now its when I make a left , right turn, come to a stop, etc. By the way the interior lights come on as well then go off, like it if there is a poltergeist messing with the electrical system. Ive heard to spray WD-40 on the hatches and I dont want to pay $$$$ for labor when a sensor costs under $20. Please help!!!!!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #30

May 222010

Explorer EddieBauer v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Continue to have door ajar alarm signals and flickering interior lights. We're having the same problem on a second vehicle of the same model year. Apparently the security module is defective on this model year, but the complaints continue to fall on deaf ears.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #29

Mar 082010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,596 miles


The "door ajar" light stays on. That means the interior lights stay on until I reach about 15 mph. This is very annoying if its dark outside and you're trying to reverse. I have to use the dimmer switch and turn the lights off so I can see to back up. Plus, the radio shuts off when the engine shuts off rather than staying on until you open the door. I took the explorer to the dealership to get this fixed. It stayed off for about a week then came back on. Sometimes the light goes off. You can never tell when it's going to happen.

- , Gautier, MS, USA

problem #28

Dec 022008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,847 miles

when i would drive on the highway going to my parents house (4 hour drive) the door ajar light would come and go and the chime would always ring no matter how loud u put the radio u hear it, so i now pop the glass in the rear door and drive out with the door ajar light left on and it only rings once and thats as soon as u pop the window, assuming i need new sensor as spraying it dont work

- , St Johns, nl, Canada

problem #27

Aug 132010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This problmes seems to be a normal thing amoung ford. So why doesnt ford stand behind their product and do something about it.

- , Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #26

May 062009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


My door ajar light keeps coming on, also the overhead and puddle lights stay on. Overhead light does not go off until I drive about 30' alarm keeps going off any time it feels like it. Esp. at about 3am....pisses me and my neighbors off. It seems to happen more in the rainy months and I live in rains alot here in the summer. This is very annoying and Ford wants too much to fix it..over $400.00. Who the heck has $400.00 in this economy?

- , N. Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #25

Jun 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Most annoying thing ever! I'm driving down the road with a constant beeping at me like there is a door open. The door ajar light blinks and beeps at me constantly now. Ugh

- , Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #24

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

This is driving me crazy! My daughter had a mechanic disable it on her XLS.....will do the same.....Outrageous

- , Mobile, AL, USA

problem #23

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles


- , Plantation, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 012010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles


Everytime I get in the truck the interior lights will not shut off because the damn truck still thinks the door is open. They stay on until I've driven "forward" enough distance. This is a real pain at night when I'm backing out of my curved driveway and I cannot see very well. Sometimes while I'm driving all of a sudden it comes back on. Where is the dirty contact that must be cleaned? I'm NOT PAYING FORD to fix it.

- , Greenville, NC, USA

problem #21

Sep 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I went to Ford twice for this problem and twice i paied $375.00. Because Ford deailer said that it was two different problems with the same simptoms. Now a year later again but this time i would like Ford to fix it for free since its only been a year. What would ya'll do if it were you?

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #20

Jan 132010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,647 miles

door ajar light came on and this car is a pain it is one thing after another so many things wrong i cant keep up with it

- , South Fork, PA, USA

problem #19

Aug 112009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Ding, Ding, Ding! I hear it in my sleep! Just about 6 or 7 months ago a new problem, one of many, started to happen on my 2002 Ford Explorer. We were actually out of town on a trip and all of a sudden while driving down the road, the dinging started like a door was open. We stopped, opened and shut all the doors, got back in and went on our way and the dinging started back up. It got worse with the inside light going CRAzy along with the digging. Once we got home, we took it into Ford for a recall and they checked the doors and sprayed something in the doors. It fixed it! Or so we thought. Now two weeks later again the door ajar dinging started again. I read up on complaints and heard of the WD40 fix. It worked! Well until just 2 days ago. Now we will do the WD40 again. Headache from heck is what this Explorer has caused us! On any given day, I would like to take this vehicle back to FORD with a huge sign saying "RIP OFF DON'T BUY".

- , Piedmont, SC, USA

problem #18

Sep 082009

Explorer XLS 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This door ajar sound is driving me nuts. When I start driving it angers me to be in the car. The noise has to be the most annoying thing I have ever experienced. What can I do besides spending hundreds of dollars to fix it?

- , Hypoluxo, FL, USA

problem #17

Mar 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Third time in four days my alarm has sounded for no mechanical reason. Each time it's been parked in my driveway, always between 12PM and 430AM. We can turn it off with the remote. 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. I have taken it into a (wonderful) independent auto shop that hasn't charged me a dime as they can't find the problem. They have hooked my Explorer up to a computer and low and behold it says everything is fine. They know it is a malfunctioning door lock but the computer won't pick it up, as it is not broken. Ford wants $140 just to look at it and they suggested over the phone to replace the door latches at $250 per latch. Not rich - not gonna happen. My independent dealer said to bring it in and they will disable the horn - I'm on my way! I will never buy a Ford again. My Explorer has 91,000 miles and has already had a door latch replaced (just under warranty), air conditioner replaced (just past warranty), ball joints replaced and a new transmission (at 83,000 miles). What a piece of crap.

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 202008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Problem started in cold rainy weather. I had a hard time getting the door open one freezing morning. The door didn't want to latch back correctly until the door thawed and from then on the door ajar has drove me nuts. The dome light stays on and the alarm system will just randomly go off, and I have to reset it. My father-n-law tore into the drivers door panel to see if he could try to fix it several times and finally he replaced to door sensor. That did not fix the problem. Where he had opened the panel soo many times the window track broke then I had to replace that. I have also had to replace the transmission. The piece under the back window on the hatch also cracked. I see alot of other Explorers with the same piece broken.

- , Buffalo Valley, TN, USA

problem #15

Feb 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

If you had problems with your explorer's door ajar alarm going off, dome lights coming on and alarm going off I encourage you to file a complaint with the NTSB. I am working on putting a class action law suit together. I had another GEM module in my transfer case fail that nearly caused me an accident. If you are interested in filing a class action lawsuit please let me know.

Update from Sep 10, 2010: I found that this is a limited issue and would not qualify for class action status. File an official complaint with NTSB. Also with your local Ford dealer, and Ford itself. If you are involved in an accident due to the defect you may have recourse.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #14

Dec 102009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

So as I have an electrical background, I decided to take the FREE FIX approach to this issue that was driving me crazy. First, you must know that two things will occur that you must decide if this is an acceptable approach for you. 1. The door will no longer turn on the dome light for you when you open the driver door (or whatever door as the switch problem), 2. The stereo will not turn off when you open that door. (It will however shut down after 10 minutes or if you open and close another door such as the rear door, or just manually turn off the radio) So if are ok with that, here is what to do.

Use this guide if you need help figuring on how.

After you have removed the panel, look for the wiring harness that is near the locking mechanism.. You will see a bundle containing Red, Black, Green Violet/Green Yellow and one or two more. I am doing this by memory, sorry. But the key thing to do is to join yellow and black together.. I did this by simply stripping back just a little bit of the wire insulation of both and soldered a wire between them. No need to worry about tape as this is really all about shunting yellow to chassis ground. Once you complete this, your horn honking, light flashing at night and locks going up and down will stop.

- , Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #13

Jan 012005

Explorer XLT 4.6L V/8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have had this problem with the door ajar & dome light staying on after it should go out for over a year now, or longer. Like others said, mine started in rainy weather, and gradually getting worse. Getting out and closing all the doors again seemed to work for a while, ( mainly the rear liftgate), but the last several months, just living with it staying on, and all that came with it. Today I changed the door ajar switch in the tailgate thinking this was going to take care of it, as it seemed it originated there. WRONG. I came to the computer, found this site, and read the 22 other complaints under door ajar & dome light staying on. I could relate to each one as mine did most of the same things. Some of these complaints mentioned about spending hundreds of dollars at the dealerships. There were a lot of various reasons given for this problem. After reading #18 by Michelle A. I thought I would try the WD-40 on door locks. I sprayed into the moving mechanism parts of door locks on each door (@ door jam) & tailgate & liftglass locks, opened and closed them several times to work into possibly stuck mechanism, and just as Michelle said "presto" it worked. I could tell the minute the dome light went out when it was suppose to. Radio again plays as it used to when you shut the key off. (shuts off after the specified time as it used to). I wish I would have read Michelles post, before tearing the liftgate panel off my Explorer. Thank You Again Michelle.......

- , Harbor Beach, MI, USA

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