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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 #3

Apr 252002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


I purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT with the sport bucket seats. These seats have no head rests and offer no protection to the back of my head. A week after I purchased vehicle Ford offered a 2002 and 1/2 that has head rests in the bucket seats. Ford would not switch seats to insure my safety against whiplash.I feel the sport bucket seats I have are not safe and should be replaced.

- St.Charles, MO, USA

problem #2

Mar 302002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
If a person taller than 5'7 enters into this sport utility vehicle, the head restraint comes to the base of the neck right at shoulder level. Upon possible impact the drivers/passengers head will snap back and break. Also because of the seat height even at its lowest position, the driver and passenger's head touches ceiling of interior of the car. We do not feel safe driving this vehicle. The seat needs to be changed thank you.

- Valencia, PA, USA

problem #1

Dec 052001

(reported on)


  • miles
Front seat has no head rest support. If consumer was hit with airbag neck would break.

- New York, NY, USA

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