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:
No data
Average Mileage:
95,353 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. replace door lock button (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Feb 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


the locks lock, unlock, lock, unlock, 50 times in 30 mins. Nervous to drive suv now, awful noises and locks and beeps and lights.

- , Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #6

Sep 012011

Explorer LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Open Door light stays on, dome light has to time out after starting to drive. Dome light does not come on when opening drivers door, only comes on when ignition gets turned on.

- , Williamsport, PA, US

problem #5

Feb 202010

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The drivers side door lock buttons do not work, have to use the key fob.

- , Granby, CO, USA

problem #4

Feb 172011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,469 miles


the passenger back door lock will not work with the others. we have to hand lock it and unlock it every time we need to get in that side with kids and they are in car seat so it makes it harder we have to put them on the ground to reach in over the seat to unlock it every single time.

- , Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

problem #3

Sep 012009

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Driver side power door lock quit working. Took 3 (that's right, 3!) return trips for them to install a new button the correct way. Finally got it right.

- , Syracuse, UT, USA

problem #2

Jan 152011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

Driver side power door lock is dead again. This is the second time my 2002 Explorer has had this problem. Had the dealer replace the button last time. The new button only lasted a couple years. I think I'll replace it myself this time.

- , Syracuse, UT, USA

problem #1

Aug 112007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

Besides the whine in the rear end AFTER a rebuild, the drivers side power door lock has stopped working. The courtesy light under the rear view mirror does not light up and the interior lights stay on forever after the door is closed. If I lock the car with the remote but try to unlock it with the keypad on the door, the alarm goes off. If I lock the car with the manual lock under the door handle, it doesn't. This thing is a piece of s*it! I'm reluctant to take it to a dealer to pay them for a lousy build job in the first place. Anyone got any solutions besides driving it off a cliff?

- , Clawson, MI, USA

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