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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,500 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

May 262010


  • 90,000 miles


Oh where do I begin. I have 90,000 miles on my SUV. My radio goes off and on randomly. Door ajar is on randomly. When shifting from park to drive, it sticks and I have to tap it to go into drive. Rear wheel bearing had to be replaced. O/D light came on and flashing. One time I thought it was in park and when getting out of my car, it began to roll after taking my foot of the brake. I see these seem to be problems for several Ford Explorer owners. Please please please get this across to Ford that these need to be recalled, if not I will not be a Ford owner ever again and tell everyone I know not to buy a Ford! what is going to take, a death or injury?? take responsibility Ford! hope this never happens to you but then again, you probably don't even drive a Ford.

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #1

Jul 012005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles
The contact stated the instrument panel cluster was no longer working. The service dealer did not state why the panel was no longer working. The electrical components failed, such as the radio, blowers, windows, airbags, and all of the safety equipment. The dealer stated it was a common problem within this type of vehicle. The part to repair was no longer available. The consumer contacted the manufacturer; they referred him to the dealer to find an aftermarket product to repair the problem.

- Norfolk, MA, USA

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