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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,792 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Feb 112013


  • 30 miles


My power steering stuck caused a wreck!!

- Hot Springs Village, AR, USA

problem #2

Dec 012009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer O/D light flashes, the gear slips and truck lunges hard forward. This occurs everytime you accelerate into 1st two gears. Did a search and learned it is common transmission problem for these vehicles, Ford is aware and does nothing to correct the issue.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #1

Mar 122009


  • 76,345 miles
2002 Explorer started out with alot of electrical problems and now depending on how much you push in the gas pedal the transmission starts slipping. Just like alot of other complaints. Had some similar trouble with it about 2 years ago dealer said had to wait till it got worse to find exact problem.

- South Fork, PA, USA

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