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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,900 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

Jan 022008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 25 mph, the vehicle slid on a patch of ice and struck a hard surface. The vehicle flipped over. The rear center seat belt buckle became undone and the child was thrown around and injured inside the passenger compartment. A police report was filed. The failure and current mileages were 45,000. Updated 02-14-08 the consumer stated the rear middle seat belt broke open when the Explorer flipped upside down. Updated 02/14/08

- Thurman, OH, USA

problem #1

Mar 282005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,800 miles
Investigated after passenger seated in the right rear seat, mentioned unusual seat movement after a moderate to heavy braking occurrence. Rear washer head anchor bolt/nut was broken/sheered off flush at the floor pan, leaving the seat to tip slightly forward. Has not been repaired and unknown as to the extent of repair needed.

- Lansing, MI, USA

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