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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,480 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 #5

Sep 012012


  • miles


2002 Ford Explorer. Consumer writes in regards to a bolt under the front seat that can break causing the seat to move back and forth the consumer would like his vehicle repaired at no charge, even though it is 2002, and not included in recall# 03V281000, which he did reference.

- South River, NJ, USA

problem #4

Mar 172005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer received recall 03V281000 concerning high back seat. No parts were available.

- Bonne Terre, MO, USA

problem #3

May 262004


  • 19,400 miles
The reclining bolt for the driver side seat has broke. The dealer has replaced the part, however the problem still exist. Please provide additional information.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #2

Mar 132004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light. Driver and front passenger seats broke sending front seat passengers back. Rear seat passenger was hit by front seat passenger seat and broke her jaw in 3 places. Front seat passengers suffered splits in their heads, driver had a fractured back, and passenger suffered dizziness and neck injuries.

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 142003

(reported on)


  • 46,000 miles
The passenger side seat rocks back and forth while driving. Consumer believes some bolts are loose.

- Markham, IL, USA

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