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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Dec 132006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


I feel like i am on a battle field. that flippin door ajar alarm sounds like a machine gun sometimes. i have opened and closed the doors repeatedly and it STILL goes off.

- , Wayland, NY, USA

problem #11

May 062009

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,789 miles

I think ford needs to address the problem before they lose more customers

- , Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #10

Jan 012009

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

While driving, the damn door ajar light keeps going off and on. At the same time, the inside lights go off and on, ding ding ding and doors lock and unlock. I have already had to replace the transmission and the back panel is starting to come off. I have had it with ford. Never again will I own one. I looked up Toyota 4runner complaints and there was 3 for 4x4 and that was it. Toyota for me next time. Thats what happens when you build for profit and not reliability. GREED GREED GREED!!!

- , Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #9

Jan 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles


Every couple of weeks the "door ajar" light goes on and the locks freeze in whatever position they are in at the time. No consistent indicator of what causes the problem. The only fix is to unplug and replug in the fuse. Took it to my local repair shop and they won't even try to fix it--they recommend taking it to a dealer. I've taken this car and a previous Winstar to several Ford dealers and they are all the same. "Can't replicate the problem" so according to them, there is no problem. They cannot diagnose and repair problems on their own vehicles! Ford makes poor quality cars, and to claim their quality is any better now than 6 years ago is a joke. I will never purchase a Ford again.

- , Commerce, MI, USA

problem #8

Aug 282008

Explorer EXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,125 miles

Ok, While driving down the road the door ajar light comes on, and my interior lights are flashing on and off while my door locks are triggering. The alarm is constantly going off mainly in the middle if the night. I'm about to pull out the damn radio so the car doesn't know what time it is since it has a mind of its own and loves to wake up my neighbors and I. So I pull the security horn fuse and now my interior and mirror lights go on and off all night.

- , Tampa, Fl, USA

problem #7

Jun 022008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

No wonder their stock is at $4.50. I think I will buy a frick'en Toyota next time. They say the average cost to fix it is $800.00 ! I didn't pay that much for the last car I bought. And I have been driving it for 4 years.

- , Naples, FL, US

problem #6

Jan 012004

Explorer Vg

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


I have also had the "door ajar" issue for several years now. It started out as a sporadic issue but seems to be happening much more frequently now. It doesn't seem to occur the first time I start up the car for the day, but then if I drive it somewhere, such as a store, and then get back in later the door ajar light comes on. Also, then if I get out again and press the lock button twice on the key fob, the horn toots twice instead of once (to indicate the security is set). Normally, it should only toot once! I have had issues with the doors also randomly unlocking or locking while driving. Occasionally also, when I get out of the car, the security lights located under the side view mirrors will also stay lit for about 15 minutes instead of just a minute or two like normal. I'll try some of the suggestions I've seen posted such as spraying WD-40.

- , Maplewood, MN, USA

problem #5

Dec 012007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

My 2002 Explorer's door ajar chime will randomly go off, especially in cold weather, as I'm driving down the highway and the warning light on the dash will also flash. I haven't quite figured out what causes this, however, sometimes pressing on the brake will relieve the problem temporarily - I can hear the doors re-locking at this point. This is among other electrical problems I've had over the past year or so.....

- , Camden, NY, USA

problem #4

Sep 012006

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2002 Explorer's accessory delay feature decided to simply stop working about 1 1/2 years ago after I'd had it for less than a year. However, the mirror and interior lights WILL stay on for the length of time that the accessories would have! Made me nervous at first until I figured that out - at least it doesn't drain the battery! Also, the driver's door "died" a few months later so NONE of the buttons on that door will work once the key is out of the ignition and if the key is placed back in the ignition, the door ajar chime will go off until the key is removed - even when the door is closed! I will never buy a Ford again after this initial experience with one.....

- , Camden, NY, USA

problem #3

Jun 072008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

Same problem as most of you...cut-paste of Linda's description: 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.

Anyone find a cure? Cost?

- , Enumclaw, WA, USA

problem #2

Jun 132008

Explorer Sliver V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Ok I stumble across this site looking for a running board and man how i wish i would of saw this before buying my vehicle. I just purchased my truck on 6/10 and just now having this problem, Thank you Jesus for the extended warranty, because i be d*** i keep hearing DING DING DING....fluck that! my uncle said ford use to be good cars but now he is not so sure, i mean i can't really rant right now but that is annoying trying to figure out why the freaking thing is dinging and the indicator light keep coming on. i will be calling the service department ASAP tomorrow and little do they know i still can turn this puppy back in if it continues. WOW i pray i don't go thru a bunch of bull shyt with this car, my son father had one and never had a lot of problems. Good luck my ford family out there and keep me posted on what is what..... happy trucking in Naptown

- , Inianapolis, IN, USA

problem #1

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

The door ajar light randomly goes on and off. When it comes on, if driving, the interior lights come on (dangerous at night). If not driving it, the car alarm will go off randomly. I have been told by the dealer that one of the door sensors is bad, but they don't know which one. It is $130 per sensor to replace, but until it stays on all of the time, they don't know which one to replace, so they sprayed lubricant on them. This has been going on for over a year now, and it is beginning to occur more often. Maybe soon it will stay on!

- , Sykesville, MD, USA

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