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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
116,250 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replace both front door latches (1 reports)
  3. WD40 door latches (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Dec 142016

Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles


GD Ford! Not even a month ago the back hatch blew up in my face, now the drivers side door will not shut! This vehicle is a DEATH TRAP! Ford should pay to have every one of these God awful machines taken off of the road!

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #3

Jan 182010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This has happened to me several times over the past several winters. 08-09-10. I just recently learned of this forum. I couldn't believe others had this same problem. I have so many common problems with this vehicle though, I'm not surprised. Until I tried the WD40, it was very dangerous, driving with one arm holding the door shut, hoping the warming car would soon let the door close--it didn't. This is a very dangerous defect!! If 3 of us are reporting it, many more are likely experiencing it.

- , Westerville, OH, USA

problem #2

Dec 142008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

It was a cold night and I got out of work at 12am. I have a remote starter in my car so it was running by the time I got to my car. I got to my car and I tried to open the door and it would not open. I tried again and gave it a little pull, it opened but it seemed like it was frozen. I sit in my car and close the would not close. It would just "bounce" off the car. I thought that if I hold the door shut while I drive I should be fine. Im driving through the parking lot at 15 mph. I make a right turn and my door just sways open and I was holding it. So I parked and waited a half hour for my boyfriend to come look at it. He brought some rope and I had to tie my door shut to the roof of my car. That only helped a little but it was worth it. I still had to hold my door shut because the car was beeping like crazy. Thank god this happened between 1-2am because no one was around. I drove home going so slow and making my turns at like 3 mph. It was dreadful, my window had to be opened because of the rope and it was very cold. My car is now sitting my driveway with the door practically open and my window down. I wonder if its because it was so cold out and it froze the latch or its just the door. If it is the door and the weather isnt at fault then I am going to call Ford and make them pay to replace the door. What happened to me tonight was very dangerous and I could've injured myself and other people.

- , Medford, MA, US

problem #1

Mar 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Had to drive with a rope tight to my leg to hold the passenger side door close while driving with the right hand and holding the driver side door with my left hand. This is one little over a s$$t load of unusual problems i've had with my truck

- , Saint-remi, Quebec, Canada

Not what you are looking for?