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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,250 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 242007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2002 Ford Explorer XLT rear window lift panel cracked (dealer replaced once due to small stress fractures was the explanation given me) replacement panel cracked within 6 months, same place as first crack, but extending all the way through panel. Dealer and Ford Motor Company contacted and refused to replace. This posses a danger if the panel flies off during vehicle operation. I have seen many other Ford with the same defect and Ford should offer a recall. Please advise.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #5

Mar 032007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles
Rear liftgate on 2000 Ford Explorer has cracked in two places below the window. Have noticed this on many same vehicles. Have had many comments on if Ford has issued a recall.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #4

May 102005

(reported on)

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Consumer experiencing problems getting the dealership to perform recall liftgate repairs on vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer but they refused to do the recall work because the vehicle was not purchased there.

- Stafford Springs, CT, USA

problem #3

Nov 272004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles


After receiving the recall for the tailgate lift consumer was unable to get the vehicle serviced because there were no parts. Consumer contacted the manufacturer. Recall campaign NHTSA campaign id number : 04V442000. The consumer was told that the repair could not be preformed until the weather warmed.

- Greenwood, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 012004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,500 miles
Consumer received recall 04V442000 rear concerning tailgate glass. However, consumer was told that the parts would be in late November. Consumer contacted Ford manufacturer, and was told they didn't know when the parts would be in. Consumer has been waiting for four months. Consumer scheduled an appointment for December 15, 2004 to have the part replaced with a different component.

- Bellaire, OH, USA

problem #1

Nov 102003

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The rear tailgate has a window and there is a part of the door that goes up with the window. Consumer noticed a crack from the glass down, and another crack starting to form. Consumer is afraid the whole window may fall out while on the highway.

- Fruita, CO, USA

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