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:
120,910 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. requires whole new cluster (3 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. replaced dash assembly (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Jul 172007

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,460 miles


The odometer was not working. I don't remember exact problem. I am looking at an old invoice. It would have cost 420.00 had I not bought the extended warranty.

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #5

Jan 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I too have this problem... was dim mostly, went black/unreadable about 10% of the time, but much more so in summer or warmer months (here in San Diego) 50% of time. However, last 3 recent so drives it's been black 100% in 60-70 degree weather... maybe because it's getting parked outside during that time?

Sometimes banging on the dash makes it come back for a bit. Makes me wonder if there is a loose wire; but doubtful since it's all part of the same console/cluster. Maybe there's something loose internal to the cluster itself that is serviceable?

We too were quoted $500-$600 to replace at the dealer ( not sure if that was both parts and labor though). Is it possible to get a used cluster from a junkyard used parts dealer? At any rate, it sounds like you need a dealer to download and upload the data from the old unit to the new. Tough to sell the car without an odometer reading!

Update from Feb 16, 2011: OK, I kept searching online and there may be some almost free ways to repair this problem, as some threads (and a site selling an e book ) indicate this is a cracked solder joint on the back of the instrument panel...

This is the free guide :

and for the e book do a search on " intermittent ford odometer "

I will update after I try this.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #4

Nov 242010

Explorer EXT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,002 miles

just looking for a solution or estimated cost of repair.

odometer not working but "trip" meter is fine

- , Eureka, MO, USA

problem #3

Aug 052009

Explorer XLT 6 Cylinder

  • Automatic transmission
  • 236,000 miles


It is such a pain in the ass to not know when to take the car in for an oil change or when I have the emission test done and I tell the guy that I cant tell him the mileage on my Explorer. Took it to Ford once I said it would cost $600 to replace the whole cluster. Sometimes if I bang on the dash the odometer light will come on giving me enough time to get the mileage. I cant wait to buy a new car and get rid of this.

- , Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #2

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

The LED started to fade and then it eventually went completely out. Once in a while it will come on for about an hour or so and then shut off. It's very annoying.

- , Elgin, IL, USA

problem #1

Dec 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The LED odometer fades and then eventually goes out. For whatever reaseon they can not just fix that LED but have to replace the entire instrument cluster. There are some "home" fixes which revolve removing the cluster yourself and doing a little soldering

- , San Jose, CA, USA

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